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The Myth of Learning Styles - Finding Common Ground - Education Week
"Last year, Howard Gardner wrote a guest blog for Valerie Strauss called Multiple Intelligences Are Not Learning Styles. In the blog, Dr. Gardner wrote,
"one unanticipated consequence has driven me to distraction--and that's the tendency of many people, including persons whom I cherish, to credit me with the notion of 'learning styles' or to collapse 'multiple intelligences' with 'learning styles.' It's high time to relieve my pain and to set the record straight."

So why the blog? After all, Howard Gardner posted this last year.

The reality is that learning styles is still a widely held belief in schools. Perhaps it makes teachers feel that everyone can learn...which we know they can... but it also creates an easy fix for students who struggle. There really aren't easy fixes. Students, whether they struggle or not, need a multi-modal approach.

The Science of How We Learn

Enter John Hattie and Gregory Yates. In their new book, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn (2014), Hattie and Yates go further to debunk the learning styles myth. Hattie and Yates wrote, "We are all visual learners, and we all are auditory learners, not just some of us. Laboratory studies reveal that we all learn when the inputs we experience are multi-modal or conveyed through different media."

Hattie and Yates go on to write,
"Claims such that 'some students learn from words, but others from images' are incorrect, as all students learn most effectively through linking images with words. These effects become especially strong when the words and images are made meaningful through accessing prior knowledge. Differences between students in learning are determined strongly by their prior knowledge, by the patterns they can recognise, and not by their learning style"

In the end

In his guest blog, Howard Gardner went on to offer some better suggestions as we all move forward away from the learning style approach. He wrote,
• Individualize your teaching as much as possible. Instead of "one size fits all," learn as much as you can about each student, and teach each person in ways that they find comfortable and learn effectively. Of course this is easier to accomplish with smaller classes. But 'apps' make it possible to individualize for everyone.
• Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). In this way you can reach students who learn in different ways. Also, by presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well. If you can only teach in one way, your own understanding is likely to be thin.
• Drop the term "styles" It will confuse others and it won't help either you or your students.

For many years, educators, including me, were under the false notion that there were learning styles. It's harmful if we box students into one way of learning, because that creates a one-size-fits-all mentality. However, offering different ways of learning is really helpful to students because they need to take in information in a variety of ways."
learningstyles  multipleintelligences  education  learning  howardgardner  johnhattie  gregoryyates  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco

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