Urban Legends in Education

This June 2013 article takes a critical look at three pervasive myths that continue to pop up in education.

The first legend is one of learners as digital natives for whom ‘old’ media and methods used in teaching/learning no longer work. The second legend relates to the myth of specific learning styles and the idea that teaching/learning should be matched to the preferred style of the learner. The last one is that learners ought to be seen as self educators who should be given maximum control over what they are learning.

Paul A. Kirschner & Jeroen J.G. van Merriënboer (2013) Do Learners Really Know Best? Urban Legends in Education. Educational Psychologist. Volume 48, Issue 3, 2013

My view is that many teachers are now aware that learning styles are a myth – though many books and articles on education ‘best practice’ still refer to them. The first and last of these ‘urban legends’ represent the front line of an on-going debate – triggered, in part, by Ofsted no longer requiring particular styles of teaching.

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