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10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey


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People Have Different Learning Styles
Students may have different subject preferences, but they don't necessarily have inherent learning styles. Katy McDonnell/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Students may have different subject preferences, but they don't necessarily have inherent learning styles. Katy McDonnell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

In the worthy quest to help students be more successful, the education community is always looking for ways has to improve teaching methods. One of the more recent theories states that people have different, sense-based "learning styles" that dictate how well they absorb and comprehend new information.

The theory has struck a chord with educators and students alike. They see it every day. Some learn best when information is presented visually; others when the presentation is auditory or kinesthetic [source: Riener]. And so lessons are geared toward satisfying each style of learning. The problem is, there's no actual evidence that these "learning styles" exist [source: Neighmond].

Research has never been able to back up that which seems so obvious in the classroom. Studies reveal that under controlled conditions, there is actually no difference in the way people respond to visual, auditory or kinesthetic modes of teaching [source: Neighmond].

According to science, our brains all learn in pretty much the same way. What does differ between students is background knowledge, areas of greater or lesser ability and areas of more or less interest. All of these factors affect how well people learn [source: Riener].

Incorporating variety in lessons, then, and even sensory variety, is an excellent approach to increasing understanding across the board -- but not because students have inherent, sense-based learning styles. Variety helps because students come with different knowledge bases, talents and interests -- and because it can help keep them awake during math class [source: Riener].

Next, malarkey that can cost lives.


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