Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let the Debunking Continue: Learning Styles

Our founding president at ABCTE, Kathy Madigan, used to bristle (to put it mildly) at the mention of “learning styles” telling us the research just did not support trying to teach to different learning styles. Now one of my favorite cognitive scientists, Dr. Dan Willingham from UVA is in the Post to discuss the issue and tell us that the research doesn’t support the fact that kids learn in different ways.

Love the money quotes from this article:

“Some lessons click with one child and not with another, but not because of an enduring bias or predisposition in the way the child learns. The lesson clicks or doesn’t because of the knowledge the child brought to the lesson, his interests, or other factors.”

“When you think about it, the theory of learning styles doesn’t really celebrate the differences among children: On the contrary, the point is to categorize kids.”

“Learning styles has become unquestioned dogma among many educators, despite the utter lack of evidence to support it.”

Huh. That never happened in K12 education before has it?? This is perhaps the most difficult part of education reform – tradition and unquestioned dogma always win over actual evidence.

Also a great quote from one of the comments at the end of the article:

“If I present the material three different ways, people assume that the kid got it the third way, instead of getting it because they got the same information three times.”

As comedian Dane Cook says – it’s funny, cause it’s true.

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