Possessing greater general knowledge about the brain does not appear to protect teachers from believing in “neuromyths” – misconceptions about neuroscience research in education.
A study reported in Frontiers in Psychology found that teachers who are interested in the application of neuroscience findings in the classroom find it difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from scientific facts. They tested 242 primary and secondary school teachers in the UK and the Netherlands with an interest in the neuroscience of learning, using an online survey containing 32 statements about the brain and its influence on learning, of which 15 were neuromyths.
Results showed that
- On average, teachers believed 49 percent of the neuromyths, particularly myths related to commercialized education programs.
- One of the most commonly believed myths was “Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic),” which was believed by over 80 percent of teachers in the study.
Although loosely based on scientific fact, these neuromyths may have adverse effects on educational practice, and the study concludes that there is a need for enhanced interdisciplinary communication to reduce such misunderstandings in the future and establish a successful collaboration between neuroscience and education.
Source (Open Access): Dekker, S., Lee, N. C., Howard-Jones, P., & Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00429