Saturday, March 26, 2016


Many teachers throughout the years have believed that students have different learning styles, such as visual, verbal, and hands-on; therefore, teachers tend to focus on one of those learning styles, because their class "must be" one way or another. With this, teachers go overboard with only using one learning style for their students, which limits students to the types of lessons that are exposed to them, as well as limiting to their abilities. While it is true that every student is "unique and has a different personality, experience, and genes," the fact that teachers have to differentiate instruction to better suit students' learning needs has "morphed into the belief that if you match your style to their preference, it will lead to better grades," according to author Bradley Busch.
            While students may have preferences to their learning, authors Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham, state that learning is the same no matter if they are learning in their preferred way or not. Research on learning preferences has failed to go deep enough to be able to prove whether or not they 100% truly exist or not, which means that teachers should not limit students on their abilities based on research that is not completely valid or complete at all. This lack of evidence in research based on learning styles proves that teachers should not jump to conclusions about students and learning styles.

            According to "Learning and the Adolescent Mind" found here, there is not a definite answer as to whether or not intelligence can change, meaning it is malleable, or if it is fixed. What is known is the learner behavior that accompanies a mindset. If students believe their intelligence is fixed and it is hard to learn new things, their motivation drops. If they believe in flexibility and intellectual gain, they are more motivated!
            The American Psychology Association states that students who believed that their intelligence or ability to do school work could change got better grades. They actually did better in school! The students in this study were college age and were white as well as black (done deliberately because there is also an unfortunate belief that some races and genders are not as intelligent as others.) Once again the research shows that it is possible to change a mindset and that it is beneficial.
            Wired ( states that “…usually the most effective way for us to learn is based not on our individual preferences but on the nature of the material we’re being taught…” This article goes on to say that “there are so many different possible ways to describe people’s preferred learning styles.”  How can we just put people’s learning styles in a cookie cutter- one size fits all format? Can people really only be labeled a visual or kinesthetic learner?     
            Authors Philip Adey and Justin Dillon state in their book, Bad Education: Debunking Myths in Education,  "[p]utting children into boxes that have not been proved to exist may end up restricting the education they receive, leading teachers to overly rigid views of individual pupils' potentialities, and what is worse, a new type of stereotyping." This limitation for students is indeed a stereotype or label that teachers place on their students. Blaming the student for their "non-success" due to their learning style is unfair and not what teachers should be doing. Instead, teachers need to work as hard as they can to make students successful, whether it is evaluating their own teaching and making the necessary changes, or encouraging students that they have the ability to learn in any way. Learning styles are hurting children and teachers are limiting their abilities; therefore, teachers need to ditch this way of thinking, and remember that all children and students have the ability to learn in multiple ways.

This article also does a great job of summing this up! 
More on learning styles! 


Adey, P., & Dillon, J. (2012). Bad education: Debunking myths in education. New York City: McGraw-Hill.

Busch, B. (2016). Four neuromyths that are still prevalent in schools -- debunked; It's not true that you only use 10% of your brain, not can you categorise students by 'learning styles' -- let's cut this nonsense from classrooms. Guardian Newspapers. Retrieved from

Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 42(5), 32-35. Retrieved from 

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