Looks like some teachers may need to refresh their neuroscience knowledge.
A recent study, “Neuroscience and Education: Myths and Messages,” from a researcher at the University of Bristol revealed that many teachers believe incorrect myths about how their students’ brains work. Dr. Paul Howard-Jones surveyed more than 900 teachers from Turkey, Greece, China, the United Kingdom and Holland about seven commonly held myths about the learning process and showed how these beliefs ‘hamper effective teaching.’
Among the findings:
- More than 90 percent of teachers in each country report that it is helpful to teach in a child’s preferred style– auditory, visual or kinesthetic– despite no evidence to support this popular theory. Read cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham’s FAQ on learning styles or check out a 2009 report from the Association of Psychological Science.
- More than 70 percent of teachers in each country believe that students are left-brained or right-brained. Researchers from the University of Utah used brain imaging scans to debunk this myth in a report published last year.
- Roughly half of more of teachers surveyed said that students’ brains are only 10 percent active. This widely held myth, which recently gained new followers with the science fiction thriller “Lucy” released this year, is not true. Read this explanation from Scientific American.
The report highlights the barriers to access for many educators trying to find relevant neuroscience research, including paywalls for popular journals and the highly complex format of the research.