We’ve all heard the theory that some students are visual learners, while others are auditory learners. And still other kids learn best when lessons involve movement.
But should teachers target instruction based on perceptions of students’ strengths? Several psychologists say education could use some “evidence-based” teaching techniques, not unlike the way doctors try to use “evidence-based medicine.”
Psychologist Dan Willingham at the University of Virginia, who studies how our brains learn, says teachers should not tailor instruction to different kinds of learners. He says we’re on more equal footing than we may think when it comes to how our brains learn. And it’s a mistake to assume students will respond and remember information better depending on how it’s presented.
For example, if a teacher believes a student to be a visual learner, he or she might introduce the concept of addition using pictures or groups of objects, assuming that child will learn better with the pictures than by simply “listening” to a lesson about addition.
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