Friday, December 9, 2011

EDvent Calendar: Day 9 (The myth of learning styles)

One of the best gifts we can give our students is the assurance that our classrooms will be devoid of any kind of quackery. Every 'good idea' or new strategy we come across should be scrutinised according to what we know about what works in teaching. In short, if it hasn't got a peer-reviewed evidence base, it should go into the quackery basket until more research is done. (If you only read one thing on what works in teaching, read this.) One of the things that should be in the quackery basket but is practised in almost every school in the west is learning styles; the notion that particular people learn best in one particular way in all contexts.
"There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist. While we will elaborate on this assertion, it is important to counteract the real harm that may be done by equivocating on the matter. In what follows, we will begin by defining “learning styles”; then we will address the claims made by those who believe that they exist, in the process acknowledging what we consider the valid claims of learning-styles theorists."

This video also puts the case nicely:
Give your students the gift of being research-based in your practice. It's the best gift you can give.

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