Reflecting on ‘Best Practice’

Annmarie Hugo, a Cert Ed student at Kirklees College, reflects with colleagues on one of the most used phrases in the sector

I have chosen to reflect on the term “best practice”, after some recent conversations it has become apparent to me that the term is used very generally in our day to day working practice.

I have explored conversations with different departments within my workplace, especially those departments where I hear them refer to best practice on a regular basis. When asked, what constitutes for them to use that word, it really did make people stop and think about what they were saying and elements of why they were using that term as they were.

For example, I had a conversation with our lead quality improvement coach as within our quality meetings and standardisation meetings the term best practice is used within almost all of them. Our lead quality improvement coach did not have an immediate answer for my question and had to spend a little time thinking about what made that scenario they were describing in a standardisation meeting best practice, she did say that some of the times when this term is utilised it is because this is what information we have had given to us through our Awarding Bodies when they have filtered to us a new qualification and they will go through the different assessment methods they want us to utilise to ensure the evidence is robust to meet the standards required, so when we deliver this out we turn that instruction into the term best practice to ensure trainers are aware of the best way to deliver a qualification to maintain its quality and integrity.

We discussed other examples and actually found that we both at times use the term best practice because this is a way that we have both worked and this way has always been successful within our experiences, so we label this way as best practice, we can also say that there is evidence to back up us using this term in relation to qualifications as we can measure apprentices that have gained a pass, merit or distinction following the way of working that we are deeming best practice.

I also had conversations with one of our operation managers and discussed with them what they felt the term best practice actually meant, they said they thought it meant that this was the best way in which to do something, whether that be deliver a qualification, have a difficult conversation or introduce a new process, he said every aspect of what we do will have a best practice element to it, he did say that when he would hear this term during conversations he would ask the question of what evidence do you have to prove this is best practice, which is a question I find myself asking quite a lot since this subject came up, what evidence do any of us have to allow us the honour to use such a powerful term?

I did find a LinkedIN report that did question the integrity of this term, they said it was an overused term and kept people in a sense of safety when using the term, they also found that when this term was been used frequently kills innovation and risk taking with new ideas and projects. I do tend to agree with this as I do think it is a very “safe” term and I think it is a term that should be questioned more than it is, we should not rely on seeing people as experts in the field, we should question what evidence do they have to make that judgement, by doing this we are challenging each other’s way of thinking, values and potentially our own believes.

Annmarie Hugo

My name is Annmarie Hugo. I am a Cert Ed student and my current job role is Area Manager at the UK’s largest apprenticeship training provider!

I have 7 years experience in work based learning & 21 years experience in my passion which is Adult Care!