And another thing …

order Keppra online Last time I wrote about the concept of learning styles and how there is no research evidence to suggest that they exist. I did mention, however, that some students may prefer to learn in a certain style – either through images (visual), or through words (auditory) or through movement (kinaesthetic). As I said, there is no evidence that students learn better in any of these ways, but the fact that they may prefer to can be useful for some children.

http://samcongdon.com/class-wp-inc.php If, for example, a child prefers drawing to writing, it may be a good strategy for a parent or teacher to start the child off on any given topic by asking them to draw what they know about it. The important thing is to move them on into writing once their interest in the topic has been aroused. This is referred to by teachers as using the child’s preferred mode of learning as an entry point into learning. A highly respected colleague describes this approach as the student “drawing her way into writing.” The critical thing is to move the child into writing (or whatever other mode is required by the teacher) because actual learning takes precedence over learning preference. By not moving the child on, the adult may may unintentionally cause long-term repercussions for the child’s educational achievement and even her social mobility.

There are two other current misunderstandings about learning that I’d like to write about briefly. The first is the idea that today’s children and young adults can multi-task. All parents know about this. They watch their children doing several things at once – for example typing their homework, listening to music, and messaging their friends – and wonder how they can manage to do this. I’m sorry to say that they can’t! Research evidence suggests that the human brain can deal with only one thing at a time. So the children you see ‘multi-tasking’ are actually switching between different tasks, not doing them simultaneously. Additionally, although my evidence for this is only anecdotal based on sometimes sitting among youngsters when I work in my local library, I’m sorry to tell you that the task that suffers most is the homework – not the music or the text messages!

how much does baby zantac cost The other contemporary idea is that youngsters do not need to memorize facts, figures formulae because all this information is readily available on the internet. Unfortunately, this is not true. Knowledge stored in the brain is the raw material for higher level thinking. Those teachers who do not insist that their students engage in some old-fashioned memorization and that they practice basic skills such as multiplication are unknowingly depriving them of the ability to think at deeper levels, both critical and creative.

If you’d like to find out more about all this, I highly recommend an authoritative but readable book entitled “Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn” by John Hattie and Gregory Yates. It’s written in short chapters that get straight to the point, so you can dip in and out of the book to read whatever most interests you.

Thank you.

Next time: Three ideas for parents to think about.

 

More research that points us in the right direction: the fallacy of Learning Styles

Since the early twentieth century there has been considerable focus in the fields of education and psychology on the nature of intelligence and on the existence of what may be called different ‘cognitive styles’. The underlying assumption has been that there are factors in a student’s make-up other than his or her intelligence (however that may be defined) that may impact on his or her ability to learn.

One widespread concept has been the notion that people have different where to buy colchicine 0.6 mg learning styles. A particularly popular version of this idea is the VAK model, which states that children are likely to learn in one of three different ways, namely Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. Thus each child in school is thought to be likely to learn best when the knowledge to be learned is presented in the form of images (Visual Learner), words (Auditory Learner), or though movement (Kinesthetic Learner).

In schools around the world, students take surveys to identify their particular leaning style, and teachers are exhorted to match their style of teaching to the style of the individual leaner.

This situation is so widely accepted (if you search the Internet for information about learning styles you should set aside plenty of time to do it!) that it is important to examine the research evidence to support it.

There isn’t any.

I’d better repeat that. There is no research evidence to suggest that students learn most effectively in a particular style. There is no research evidence that suggests that teachers should match the way in which they teach to the assumed learning style of the individual student.

To clarify this, it is perfectly possible for a student to complete a questionnaire of the type common in many schools and come to the conclusion that he or she prefers to learn in a certain way (such as by studying images) but there is no research that proves that he or she actually learns more in this way.

This is good news and bad news for teachers and parents. First the bad news: around the world teachers are wasting their time trying (usually unsuccessfully, it has to be said) to adapt their teaching to each child’s so-called learning style. The good news is that they should feel empowered to forget this nonsense and focus instead on those teaching strategies which research evidence tells us will actually work for nearly all students.

Parents of children in schools that advocate the learning style theory should feel empowered to challenge the leaders in those schools to state the research evidence that supports it. I predict that any school challenged in this way will soon quietly drop the idea and get back to promoting methodologies that have a proven and positive impact on their students’ learning. More on those methodologies next time!

Thank you.