An example of educational malpractice 

While some important things are very complex and difficult to explain, others are clear and straightforward.

Here’s an example of such simplicity from November 2013.

Why professional development without substantial follow-up is malpractice

If a primary goal of professional development is to affect what teachers and administrators believe, understand, and do on a daily basis, then . . . .

Offering “presentations” or “training” without intensive and sustained small-group dialogue, in-classroom coaching, and just-in-time problem solving is educational malpractice.

Put another way, “head learning” abstracted from practice without abundant opportunities for supportive on-the-job feedback and trouble shooting wastes the organization’s resources and squanders teachers’ good will.

Such malpractice is not only an ethical lapse, but is immoral when students’ learning and well being are negatively affected.

Of course, the presence or absence of many other things in classrooms and schools is also malpractice.

What would you put on your “educational malpractice” list? 

2 Responses to “An example of educational malpractice ”


  1. 1 rickrepicky May 1, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Educational malpractice is a rich topic. Using DuFour’s philosophy that the best professional learning (PL) occurs in the WORKPLACE, not the WORKSHOP, it’s clear that the one-time “head learning” is futile. Meaningful change requires 1) A well-thought out & thoroughly discussed initiative & 2) follow-up & coaching during school hours.

    The latter allows for workplace PL. Devoting school time to initiative follow-up & practice demonstrates a district’s commitment to staff—it says this initiative is important & the district will support staff.

    What has become malpractice in Michigan in recent years is a major reduction in allowing school hours for PL. Thus, there is only minimum time for mandatory collaborative practice. The days of weekly/bi-weekly late starts or early dismissal are gone. Reducing—nearly eliminating—workplace collaborative/practice time is educational malpractice.

  2. 2 Dennis Sparks May 4, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    I really appreciate you reminding us, Rick, that the possibility of educational malpractice can extend well beyond teachers and administrators to school boards and state and federal policy-makers.


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