“What do you mean, I shouldn’t accommodate people’s learning styles? You can’t tell me people don’t learn differently! I see it in the classroom all the time!” Maybe you’ve heard that from a classroom presenter (I have). Or maybe you’ve heard this from a client: “Be sure to include narration for the audio learners!
Debunking as a community service. Why has educational research been such a slough of despond over what appeared at first to be solid ground? Anyone who has ever taught can sing a litany of reform ideas that have ended up on the heap. What I am fascinated by is how long debunked ideas keep on living, zombies by other name. These walking dead include Dale’s Cone, right/left hemisphere, mindsets, and my personal fav–learning styles (although “grit” is charging hard along the rail as my new bete noire).
It’s not that any of these ideas are wholly wrong, it’s that teachers have come to accept them without reflection as wholly right. Are teachers just true believers who not only want but need to have certitude? As one famous jurisprudent said, “Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.” So what is going on?
This article is certainly worth a read not only for its specific critique of learning styles, but also for pointing us to sites like SkepticalScience with their free Debunking Handbook (http://www.skepticalscience.com/Debunking-Handbook-now-freely-available-download.html) and the DebunkerClub (http://www.debunker.club/learning-styles-are-not-an-effective-guide-for-learning-design.html). Besides that, the tone is very gentle and understanding. Debunking can be painful all around.
And that is the best part of the article–its moral sensitivity to those who want to set the record straight without making believers hate their guts. I classify this under the category of “course-in-a-blog-post”. Much to view, many hyperlinks of value, and much to return to. Brava.