Why do we have the best-practice tag?

The tag has about 56 questions tagged as such, but I can't see what additional information or categorization this tag provides for any of them.

I'd say that any question about "best practices in the classroom" is just a question about "X in the classroom". How does this provide any information that wasn't already obvious from the question? Does this give a meaningful categorization?

This tag seems to be a meta-tag that offers nothing to the answer by which it is tagged. Why do we have this tag?

If this tag is useful, the name seems very confusing. Why isn't "classroom" included in the tag name if that's what the tag is about?

• IIRC, tag names were lengthened across SE at some point after that tag was created. – Ben I. Apr 9 '18 at 16:36
• @BenI. Why is that relevant? – Discrete lizard Apr 9 '18 at 16:40
• Why isn't "classroom" included in the tag name if that's what the tag is about? best-classroom-practice exceeded the number of letters allowed at the time. – Ben I. Apr 9 '18 at 16:43
• @BenI. Ah, ok. Still, I don't see why you'd remove classroom. 'best-practice' is, on its own, vague enough to be absolutely meaningless, IMO. I mean, there are posts on Meta Stack Exchange about why asking for 'best practice' is a bad idea, so why have it as a tag? (I don't think the education context changes anything, but feel free to explain if you think it does) – Discrete lizard Apr 9 '18 at 16:47

There is a Patterns Community subgroup that works on Pedagogical Patterns for teaching computing. Several hundred patterns have been written to capture "best practice" in teaching. As with other patterns, forces leading to a solution are part of the pattern. This is my view of best-practice. It need to be verified via practice (not necessarily research), but the reasons need to be available for anyone to examine and verify.

There is even a book: Pedagogical Patterns that contains "mature" patterns.

A web search for Pedagogical Pattern will turn up quite a lot.

In the patterns community, all accepted (mature) patterns go through a process of improvement and eventual acceptance. In this case by educators. They aren't just one person's ideas, but a consensus of practitioners. The same as any other modern (say Software) pattern. The PLoP conferences is where the process finds its fulfillment. Easier and cheaper, and whatever are just forces that push you toward or away from a particular solution. The pattern "balances" the forces.

Before a pattern even reaches a PLoP it is assigned a Shepherd who works with the author(s) to improve both the ideas and the presentation. Patterns can be rejected by "the community" at this level if the author is just writing personal preferences or propaganda. It is a supportive process, but quite demanding.

• Well, why doesn't the tag name, excerpt or wiki refer to these Pedagogical Patterns, then? I mean, patterns are clear things that can be asked for. 'best practice' has a bit of a bad history on SE and can refer to all sorts of 'bad subjective' questions with vague goals. – Discrete lizard Apr 9 '18 at 17:17
• "verified via practice" is different from "best practice" in the sense that the former avoids the problematic term 'best'. 'Best' is always vague. When used as an 'evaluation', it should be replaced by 'easier to learn' or 'easier to teach' or 'cheaper' or whatever is relevant and otherwise not be mentioned at all! (I doubt people will be giving the worst answer if I omit asking for the 'best'). – Discrete lizard Apr 9 '18 at 17:19
• What do you think of a tag renaming? If an upvoted meta answer asks that I do the tag rename, I'll do it. – thesecretmaster Apr 10 '18 at 0:33
• I also think that not all questions that are currently tagged best-practices would be about pedagogical patters as you've described them here. – thesecretmaster Apr 10 '18 at 0:34
• True enough. I was giving my personal view of the situation and how I apply the tag. – Buffy Apr 10 '18 at 0:36
• And of course, I don't control how others use the tag. I think it has been wrongly applied in some cases, in fact. i can spend some time addressing that if you like. – Buffy Apr 10 '18 at 0:54
• @thesecretmaster I have the feeling that we need to do more than simply renaming. At least, we need to decide on what the tag means, first. The meaning Buffy assigns to this tag cannot be found in the tag name, excerpt or wiki. So there may be competing meanings. – Discrete lizard Apr 10 '18 at 10:55
• I edited the tag wiki for best-practice. – Buffy Apr 10 '18 at 14:03