Learning Styles: Are they a Myth?

What is my learning style

Learning style: Myth?

We may be required to unlearn what we once thought was true about learning styles.

Teachers must ditch ‘neuromyth’ of learning styles, say scientists

Sunday 12 March 2017 20.01 EDTLast modified on Sunday 7 May 2017 12.28 EDT
Teaching children according to their individual “learning style” does not achieve better results and should be ditched by schools in favour of evidence-based practice, according to leading scientists.Thirty eminent academics from the worlds of neuroscience, education and psychology have signed a letter to the Guardian voicing their concern about the popularity of the learning style approach among some teachers.No evidence to back idea of learning styles

Letter: Neuromyths create a false impression of individuals’ abilities, leading to expectations and excuses that are detrimental to learning in general

They say it is ineffective, a waste of resources and potentially even damaging as it can lead to a fixed approach that could impair pupils’ potential to apply or adapt themselves to different ways of learning.The group opposes the theory that learning is more effective if pupils are taught using an individual approach identified as their personal “learning style”. Some pupils, for example, are identified as having a “listening” style and could therefore be taught with storytelling and discussion rather than written exercises…”

Knowing a client’s learning style can help determine the best strategies to help them take charge of their learning process. However, this article states, that teaching student’s giving preference to their learning style does not result in better outcomes for the student. For example, if a student has difficulty with verbally conveying their ideas it is not better to allow them to write all their answers simply because they are a visual learner.  From Carol Dweck’s research, on growth mindset, we now know that our brains grow from working on challenging work. The teaching practice of deferring to learning style would prevent students with language challenges from working on overcoming their language weaknesses. However, Carol Dweck’s research also demonstrated that the challenge can not be approached the same time over and over. The challenge must be approached in multiple ways using a range of techniques and strategies.  Students must find many ways to adapt to the different requirements of learning to become effective learners.

Weale, S. (2017, March 12). Teachers must ditch ‘neuromyth’ of learning styles, say  scientists. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/13/teachers-neuromyth-learning-styles-scientists-neuroscience-education

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