Monday, March 22, 2010

Learning Styles

Throughout the last few years, I have had my fair share of teachers and professors that have told students that they each possess different learning styles. For example, some people are supposed to learn classroom material better by listening, some may learn better by studying notes, and other learn better by using their hands. Just two weeks ago, I spent an hour in my health class listening to the same lecture about learning styles that I have heard on many other occasions. Until the recent lecture in “Pseudoscience and the Paranormal”, I was convinced that I was purely a “hands-on” learner according to some test. This would suggest that I learn better in laboratory settings as opposed to a classroom setting. The thing is that looking back throughout the years, I have learned no more in a laboratory setting than I have in classroom lectures.

While the theory behind learning styles seems convincing, there is no legitimate data supporting the myth that kids learn better implementing one specific learning style over another. According to a journal of “The Association for Psychological Science” titled “Psychological Science in the Public Interest”, very few studies have tested the validity of learning styles in education. The few that did completely contradicted the assumption that we all possess different learning styles. Future studies may very well however show some evidence that teaching students in accordance to their specific learning styles is effective. Until then, teachers should only rely on current data, which supports that learning styles are nonsense.


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