The term best practice is used to describe “what works.” A best practice is an approach that, through experience and research, is shown or expected to lead to positive results. Typically, the determination comes from authoritative and reliable sources such as research studies or professional organizations. However, the expression best practices is a buzzword that suffers from both overuse and misuse. In general, it refers to solid, reputable, state-of-the-art practice in a given field. Principles of best practice provide general guidelines rather than a specific blueprint for implementation. This entry refers to best practices as evidence-based principles for effective work with young people in out-of-school settings.

This entry outlines the development of the concept of best practices. It then describes best practices for out-of-school settings ...

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