Another dot in the blogosphere?

Educational astrology

Posted on: February 17, 2021

This is the best tweeted nugget so far about the myth that is learning styles.

I have ranted so much against this pseudoscience so much that I wonder if I look like a crazy doomsday crier on the street. Nevertheless, here is yet another resource that summarises some evidence against this still propagated myth.

There was nothing new in the article for me about the debunking of learning styles by researchers in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. But I did find out that learning styles are not peddled as test items in teacher preparation in the USA states of Arizona and Indiana. These are the same states where I got my Masters and Ph.D. respectively.

I used to wrongly teach learning styles to preservice teachers before I pursued my higher degrees. I have been practically at war with this pseudoscience as a professor after I got my Ph.D. and as a education consultant now. I see how I might have been influenced to switch to the right side.

But back to the article. The author declared:

Sound professional judgment requires that the best available knowledge gained through empirical research be integrated into practice. Teachers are professionals whose influence on human lives cannot be overstated. It’s critical that they make instructional decisions informed by evidence.

The author followed up with actionable steps:

  1. Follow the research. He likened progressive teacher preparation to medical schools that no longer teach and test bloodletting.
  1. Prepare research-savvy teachers. To the author, this was like doctors who would not “blindly accept what pharmaceutical representatives market to them to inform treatment decisions”.

Both are good points. But what is the harm in letting teachers try to address learning styles? The author argued that teachers would not only be wasting their time, they would also not focus on more productive and effective strategies.

Think of it this way. It is one thing to read your horoscope and then laugh it off as creative storytelling. It is entirely another to take astrological predictions seriously and plan your life around them.

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