Identifying children’s “learning style” is a waste of time and money, says a British scientist, Baroness Greenfield. Teachers are being told to question students on whether they prefer to learn through “visual, auditory or kinaesthetic” (Vak) teaching, reports The Telegraph.
Once identified, the teacher will allow a visual child to learn through looking at cartoons, pictures and fast-moving computer programmes. A “kinaesthetic” learner will be allowed to spread their work on the floor, wander round while they are thinking or learn through dance and drama. In some schools, pupils’ desks are even labelled to indicate their learning styles.
According to Susan Greenfield, however, the practice is “nonsense” from a neuroscientific point of view: “Humans have evolved to build a picture of the world through our senses working in unison, exploiting the immense interconnectivity that exists in the brain. It is when the senses are activated together — the sound of a voice is synchronisation with the movement of a person’s lips — that brain cells fire more strongly than when stimuli are received apart.
“The rationale for employing Vak learning styles appears to be weak. After more than 30 years of educational research in to learning styles there is no independent evidence that Vak, or indeed any other learning style inventory, has any direct educational benefits.”
Of course, the idea of teaching to various learning styles originated in the U.S. It’s why your kids spend more time designing posters than writing essays.
Via Education Gadfly.