The ‘Learning Styles’ Myth

“Despite the overwhelming lack of evidence that they [learning styles] have any effect on outcomes, apparently almost 90 per cent of teachers believe that different people have different learning styles, and that if we want them to learn a thing we have to present it in the way they learn best.” (Didau, 2015, p. 42)

The above comes from David Didau’s book What if everything you knew about education was wrong? (well worth a read, by the way). When push comes to shove, it is not the preferences of an individual learner or a group of learners that determines how content is taught, it is the content itself. The visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (VAK) individual learning styles approach is just not helpful at all. Continue reading

The Aistear Fallacy

The idea behind Aistear, in a nutshell, is that children will learn through play. I have no problem with learning through play. I have no problem with play as a spontaneous, child-led activity – where children set their own rules and decide on what they want to do. I have no problem with developing skills through play – as children have always done this. I have no problem with facilitating an infant class at the beginning of the school day (reception time) with a selection of toys and activities, where they can choose what they want to do with them and pretend on their own terms – or not pretend at all.

The issue I have with Aistear (the thematic and play-based learning approach in Ireland) is that it is, at its core, an imposed form of play. Continue reading

Writing your PME Dissertation

It is around this time of year that students in their second year of the various Professional Master of Education courses launch properly into the writing and supervision processes of their 10,000-word dissertations. With many competing workload demands, it may seem difficult to dedicate the proper amount of time to this responsibility. I have given some thought to this element of the PME course and have compiled some tips in order to assist students. Continue reading