NeuroMyths In The Classroom: When What You Think You Know About Learning Is Wrong

All of us hold some beliefs about something that are wrong, or partly true. It's the nature of being human, and also living in a complex world where we can't be experts in everything, so we pick up bits and pieces of "knowledge", sometimes from common wisdom that is wrong, and believe that something is true, when it's not.

What Are Neuromyths?

Neuromyths are beliefs, often held by teachers and educators about how the brain works, and how to make learning happen. In an article published by the OECD, Ulrike Rimmele explains where they come from:

A neuromyth usually starts out with a misunderstanding, a misreading and, in some cases, a deliberate warping of the scientifically established facts to make a relevant case for education or for other purposes. Due to the expectations of the applicability of brain research to educational practice, myths have rapidly developed around, for instance, the benefit of enriched environments, right- and left-brained dominance, critical periods of learning – to name the most popular ones. When these concepts are debated in journals and the popular press, educators and policy-makers alike are lost as how to discern fact from fiction. This ignorance results in certain dangers.

Potential Harm Of Neuromyths

Obviously some neuromyths may not affect instruction, but it's also possible that teachers, curriculum developers, policy makers and other decision makers may interpret myths about learning and translate them into effective wasteful techniques used in schools. At best, the effects will be neutral, but if the base for practice is false, then the practices will also be less than optimal.

Teachers, Educators, Trainers: Be Prepared For A Shock

We've gathered together a number of articles and references debunking many of these neuromyths, in the specific, but be warned, because these myths about how brains work are so commonly accepted among lay people -- or even professionals, that you'll be shocked at the common acceptance and belief in things that are just plain wrong.


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How much of what you think you know about how the brain works is incorrect? Or partly correct? A lot, say researchers, and that means you may be doing the wrong things in the classroom. Come along with us as we explore the many myths about learning and teaching.

Neutomyths: Research, Evidence About False Things You Believe About The Brain, Learning, and Teaching

Neuromyths - When What You Believe About The Brain Is Wrong

Neuromyths in Education: Prevalence and Predictors of Misconceptions among Teachers - by Sanne Dekker et al
If you can get through this in depth and lengthy academic article on neuromyths in education, you may come away with a better idea of how education gets pulled and pushed by fads. This is a valuable article to print for your own use and share with your colleagues. (Views So Far 431 )

Science or Pseudo Science? Prevalence of Neuromyths in Education - by Leah Tomlin
When tested/surveyed and given a list of "facts" about brains/learning, teachers believed a full half of the false myths presented to them. A great article, and one that also talks about Brain Gym of real life costs of believing it works. (Views So Far 380 )

Sense About Brain Gym - Used, but Ineffective? - by Sense About Science
(Get The Full PDF Report) Sense About Science has been receiving calls from parents and teachers who are concerned about the use of 'Brain Gym' - a programme of teacher-led physical exercises claimed to improve cognitive abilities - in primary schools. These exercises are being taught with pseudoscientific explanations that undermine science teaching and mislead children about how their bodies work. Working with neuroscientists and physiologists we have produced a series of responses to the claims made in the Brain Gym Teachers' Edition. The director of Sense About Science, in association with The Physiological Society and the British Neuroscience Association, has written to local authorities to ask them to make this material available to schools in their area. (Views So Far 354 )

Separating neuromyths from science in education - opinion - - by Tom Bennett
Opinion piece. This one takes on a number of neuromyths including EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. This article probably won't make your brain hurt, as some of the others in this section might. (Views So Far 387 )

The left brain/ right brain myth (False Beliefs) - by OECD
Almost everyone believes this myth, which is more of a metaphor than reality. Here's an indepth but understandable explanation of the myth, and why it's wrong. (Views So Far 357 )

There is a visual, auditive and a haptic type of learning - False - by OECD
This believe that there are different types of learning underlies the notion of learning styles, and has impacted educational practice and rhetoric via the idea of matching teaching approaches to different sensory learning styles. (Views So Far 388 )

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