3 learning myths I hate

Here are 3 learning myths that bug me:

  1. A neat book equals effective learning. A messy book equals ineffective learning. No book equals no learning.

This isn’t to say that students should have no work book at all. I still think that some activities are more effectively done by hand and the humble exercise book will still have its place in education for years to come. However, it is shortsighted to think that learning should be presented by work in exercise books only. Students should be regularly making learning artefacts such as videos, posters, models and whatever else is suitable and publish them to an authentic audience. Students should be making products that is authentic in real life. I have yet been able to find a job where your annual performance review is to show your boss your exercise book.

  1. Compliance equals learning.

A lot of teachers and students judge how effective students are learning by how well they are follow teacher instructions. While it is important for students to follow teacher instructions at all times due to safety and other reasons, learning doesn’t directly result from compliance. Just because students are quiet and looking at your as the teacher, it doesn’t mean they are learning. Just because they are writing notes, it doesn’t mean they are learning. Just because they look like they’re learning, it doesn’t mean they are learning. Just because they do what you tell them to do, it doesn’t mean they are learning.

  1. More time equals better learning

When students are asked about how they can improve on their achievements, many would say “study harder”. Many teachers often say something line “Student Y will improve if he revised more”. While some students will benefit from going over their class work more often, many students often do not understand a concept because they don’t understand an underlying principle. For example, many students don’t understand osmosis because they don’t understand concentration, concentration gradient and/or random movement of water particles. It won’t matter how many times these students read over osmosis, if they don’t work on understanding concentration gradient, all the studying in the world would do nothing. I’m not bagging out revision or studying, but unless they are targeted at a concept or a learning need, it will make minimal impact.

Do you have any learning myths you hate?

8 thoughts on “3 learning myths I hate

  1. 4. A quiet classroom means all students are learning.
    Ever been into a classroom where there is a lot of active discussion going on? There is no silence, but there is a lot of learning.

    5. Mobile phones are a distraction and should be banned from the classroom.
    For quick internet references, a mobile is the perfect companion in the class. When a student suddenly needs an image for an artwork, or a reference for a fact they can’t find in the textbook, access to the internet is quick and effective.

    6. Students are rude and are not working if they are listening to their iPods.
    Sometimes students focus more when they shut out the rest of the class noise. While they are lost in their own world, they are also often achieving their own personal learning goals.

    • Listening to music while working is a controversial one, especially through personal devices. I always compare these situations: (1) Students working on art/TAS project and teacher plays music on a CD player softly in backgroud; (2) Students listening to iPods while working on art/TAS project. Most will probably accept first situation as OK, but the second situation is a big NO NO.

  2. 7. We know our students and our students learn best by completing worksheets and doing NAPLAN preparation.
    Number one, NAPLAN is only one small way to assess students’ Literacy/Numeracy skills, so I really hate the over-emphasis on the one event, especially at the expense of so many other learning experiences. Number two, you only “know” your students through regular formative and formal assessments, as well as through surveys and utilising other forms of feedback to inform practice. Numerous studies have shown that preparation for tests out of context from real world or even subject-based learning is not effective.In addition, teaching complex tasks like reading for meaning and reading for inference through completing multiple choice worksheets is neither effective, nor productive and only further disengages students from a love of reading…

    • Agree Denise. Another myth I hate is assessment equals exam. We don’t know how students are really performing unless we file them into a large hall and sit them in rows and get them to complete an exam at the same time and same place. Like you said, regular formative assessments are so much more valuable to learning.

      • Quizzes & assignments on Edmodo. We also do project based learning where each project is divided into stages. Students receive feedback on each stage & has a chance to improve at the next stage. We also do the goals, medals & missions approach to formative assessment.

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