I wish I wasn’t writing this…really…I’ve had my fill of learning styles. It’s a bit like the recent measles outbreak in the US…we’re all vaccinating and everything’s going well, but some people decide they’re not really into the science and research of it all and go about doing their own thing…so the once well under control infection is making a small comeback. It really seems to me that learning styles is taking a similar path; at least on Twitter. For a while, it seemed like every other tweet was about the myth of learning styles, then that slowly died out. Now, especially in the past week on Twitter and in a few Facebook groups I’m in, they appear to be making a comeback. Gross.
I think the vaccination was working and learning styles was slowly being eradicated through massive doses of research, writing, podcasts, et cetera. Word was getting out…then the vaccinations lessened…and the myth was allowed to rear its ugly head once again. Gross. And who do I blame for this? I actually blame myself. Perhaps you’ve heard the adage “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In my failed estimation, the wheel was no longer squeaking and no news was good news. How could I be so wrong?
More for myself than anyone else, I did a little sleuthing today to see how prevalent learning styles still is in American education. I researched via the US News and World Reports Best Graduate Education Schools the top ten graduate schools of education in the US.
Here they are:
I accessed all of the school’s websites and found their search bar. Then, in all cases, typed ‘learning styles’ and waited a fraction of a second for the results. In all ten instances, I only viewed the first page of results.
8 of 10 had an article or faculty resume or something of that nature that mentioned learning styles in a somewhat neutral or positive manner. Only UCLA and Wisconsin-Madison did not have a result with learning styles mentioned on the first page.
Only the Teachers College of Columbia University produced an article which portrayed learning styles as a myth or in a negative manner.
So, what’s the big deal? If 80% of the top ten graduate schools in the US have information about learning styles on their website, I can only imagine how many others do as well. If college professors and teacher training programs are promoting teaching to specific learning styles as a valid method in the classroom, we need more of the vaccine…a lot more. Just yesterday, the American Psychological Association published this press release focused on the perhaps detrimental aspects of learning styles. Many others have also done the same. Check out the references mentioned in this post.
We have the ability to quash learning styles. We (again, I’m mainly talking to myself) just need to remain vigilant in the administration of the vaccine. Stay healthy out there…physically and mentally.
How do you think teachers should react when a colleague lauds teaching to preferred learning styles?
What other evidence do you have showing the fallibility of learning styles? Please leave a comment below.