5 Common Myths in Education
I am going to do a series on common education myths. Now, these are going to be a bit controversial and may cause some hurt feelings for some. That said, I am going to consider anything that cannot be supported by research to be a myth. It is important that we use research to make all the instructional decisions as the future of children are at stake.
- Homework improves student learning.
You will not find any clear research to support that homework improves student learning. The most important thing to consider here is how the homework is used. If the homework is used as an extended learning opportunity, then it may increase the student’s knowledge towards a particular subject. The homework can also be used to prepare students for a lesson and give them some background knowledge. That said, the typical review worksheet homework assignment is most likely less effective in improving student learning. If the students are simply just writing things down to complete work, then the homework loses its ability to be effective. If homework is given, it should either prepare them for a future lesson or extend on their current knowledge.
Truth: Homework can be effective if it is used appropriately and carefully planned out by the educator.
2. All Administrators were expert teachers.
This is one of my favorite myths. First off, I do not want to say that there are not any administrators that were excellent teachers because there certainly are. The main point here is just because one is an administrator does not mean that they were an excellent teacher. In the United States, one can be a principal with less than 5 years of actual teaching. All that is needed is a masters degree in administration and in most states any teacher that has just a few years of experience can enter the program. That is right! Start teaching at age 22, teach for two years, then complete masters program, and you can be a principal at the age 26. How ridiculous is that?! The truth is that one cannot be an expert at a craft that they have not done for a considerable amount of time. No matter how much you read and listen to speakers, nothing counts more than actual experience. In the European system, one cannot be the head of a school until they have proven excellence in the classroom for at least two decades and is highly regarded by their peers.
Truth: It takes at least 15 years of actual teaching to become a master at the craft. (That’s going of Malcom Gladwells it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be excellent at something)
3. The main purpose of school is to prepare kids for a future career.
As a society, we are finally realizing that their is more to learning and education than preparing for a career. Sure, that can be part of it, but education is and should be about a lot more than that. Student should be given opportunities to discover their values, beliefs, and ideals. Students should be given opportunities to express themselves and their true identity. We should encourage students to explore their own creativity. Questions such as: what is our purpose on this earth and what is our role to each other? How do the planet, animals, and humans connect? If you ask me, I think it is sad that of the many things that college students could be learning, many of them are in a business class learning about money. Money is man made! It is not innate and most humans on the planet lived in the non cash economy.
Truth: Education is about students discovering their sense of purpose and belonging in the world.
4. Virtual learning is not as effective as in person instruction.
This is one that I heard people repeat again and again during the pandemic. Once again, show me the research! You will not find a study to support that virtual learning cannot be as effective as in person. The truth is that virtual is new to the vast majority of educators and they never had the training or experience to do it to its full potential. Without a doubt some students learn better in person, some learn better virtually, and some learn best with a combination of the two. Yes, I understand that students need connectivity and socialization and that parents want their young kids in school so they can go to work. But that is irrelevant to the argument at hand here which is what is best for student learning. At this moment in time, we don’t know enough to say one or the other. Remember, in the field of research, common sense means nothing!
Truth: Until more research is done, we will not know the impact that virtual and hybrid learning can have on student learning.
5. More time in class, means more student learning.
This one makes me laugh! Many people actually believe that making students sit in a class 2 minutes longer for an entire year, gives them 2 x 180 = 360 or 6 extra hours of learning. It is true from a minute to minute perspective, but learning is not measured by seat time. Learning is measured by experiences and understanding of knowledge. If student A sat and listen to someone talk for 50 minutes and student B listened to another talk for 55 minutes, that does not mean that student B learned more. In fact, believing that makes someone pretty foolish! It all depends on the quality of the lectures that they listened to and education works the same way. It is about the quality of the learning experience and not the total time.
Truth: The quality of the learning depends on the learning experience and not the total seat time.
Age of Awareness
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