My experience over the last few years in education has been that most all research into effective and powerful learning shows that the best ways to guide student learners are completely at odds with the standard school structure. Dan Heath writes about the "power of moments" , Alison Zmuda talks about student engagement and a host of studies show that student centered learning, or learning experiences that embrace the messy qualities of learning are the most long lasting. Not surprisingly these kinds of learning experiences rarely fit into the daily schedule of most schools. I conducted research focused on reading instruction several years ago and the basic finding was that to have a high quality experience, to really push students in their thinking skills, we needed to throw out the current literacy program (Rigby) and make the reading time open ended, it might take 45 minutes, it might take an hour and a half. Everyone reading the report loved the insights the students showed in terms of the books they were reading, everyone loved the depth of the conversations and the connections made, everyone agreed that we'd never be able to do this in our schools.
I wonder. Do other professions have this interesting disconnect? Does the research that demonstrates how best to move forward, how best to achieve the stated goals of the profession receive glowing praise and then is ignored?
Data is the Holy Grail of contemporary education. "Drilling down in the data" is a favorite activity as long as the conclusions or discoveries can be used within the constraints of the school system.
What would happen if we really investigated and then acted on the discoveries? What would happen if we didn't already have an answer in mind, but were open to possibilities?