I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Educational Mythology: Exploring, Explicating, and Exploding the Myths

by Oskar Cymerman       @focus2achieve

As a kid, I used to love mythology. I especially enjoyed reading about the adventures and fates of the Greek heroes such as Heracles or Theseus. Reading such fantastical stories taught me imagination and allowed me to open up to new possibilities. And while these fictional stories served a certain purpose, I took them for what they were: fibs and fables.

Life is no myth. Neither is education. Yet ours is an industry filled with myths many stakeholders believe in. For example, many teachers and parents believe that students should be assigned homework most nights of the week, while study after study proves its ineffectiveness in student learning. Many school counselors, psychologists, and teachers still use learning styles inventories attempting to place learners into 4 categories of learners, while research has proven that there are more than 70 learning styles, and neither style has a significant effect on student performance. The myths go on and on.

Even if a myth has been debunked for some time, the information somehow doesn’t get to the interested parties. For example, I thought that the famous VARK (visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic) learning styles inventory is a way to help students figure out how they learn and help them be successful, which has now been proven not the case. I think that the dynamics and the breadth of education, combined with the high stakes placed on it, leave many educators pulled in multiple directions, making it extremely difficult to stay current on all the changes that are happening.

So, over the course of the next five days, I will take a deeper look into this “educational mythology,” as I explore, explicate, and explode the myths that often prevail as “mainstream truths” about teaching and learning. The five topics I chose to tackle are of much relevance in today’s public school education in America and often have a profound effect on attitudes toward education. Here they are listed chronologically:

Myth #1: Each Student’s Learning Style Helps Him/Her Learn More Effectively

Myth #2: More Homework = More Learning

Myth #3: Private and Charter Schools Are Better Than Public Schools

Myth #4: Teacher Experience Doesn’t Matter If You Care

And a huge one today, I will undoubtedly gain some enemies for:

Myth #5: Web Based Learning Should Be Used More Because It’s Better At Educating The 21st Century Learners

Stay tuned – there are sure to be fireworks!


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