Learning styles, it’s an United Nations-thingy

This morning professor Wim Van den Broeck pointed me to a text from the United nations mentioning learning styles. I had heard this before, but Wim gave me the direct link.

To be concrete, in the General comment No. 4 (2016) on the right to inclusive education, you can read the following:

On page 4 as one of the core features of inclusive education:

A “whole person” approach: recognition is given to the capacity of every person to learn, and high expectations are established for all learners, including learners with disabilities. Inclusive education offers flexible curricula and teaching and learning methods adapted to different strengths, requirements and learning styles. This approach implies the provision of support, reasonable accommodation and early intervention so that all learners are able to fulfil their potential. The focus is on learners’ capacities and aspirations rather than on content when planning teaching activities. The “whole person” approach aims at ending segregation within educational settings by ensuring inclusive classroom teaching in accessible learning environments with appropriate supports. The education system must provide a personalized educational response, rather than expect students to fit the system;

And again on page 19, when discussing the implementation at the national level:

A process of educating all teachers at preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education levels must be initiated to provide them with the core competencies and values necessary to work in inclusive educational environments. Such a process requires adaptations to both pre- and in-service training to achieve the appropriate skill levels in the shortest time possible, to facilitate the transition to an inclusive education system. All teachers must be provided with dedicated units/modules to prepare them to work in inclusive settings, as well as practical experiential learning settings where they can build the skills and confidence to solve problems through diverse inclusion challenges. The core content of teacher education must address a basic understanding of human diversity, growth and development, the human rights model of disability and inclusive pedagogy that enables teachers to identify students’ functional abilities (strengths, abilities and learning styles) to ensure their participation in inclusive educational environments. Teacher education should include learning about the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication such as Braille, large print, accessible multimedia, easyread, plain language, sign language and deaf culture, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities. In addition, teachers need practical guidance and support in, among others: the provision of individualized instruction; teaching the same content using varied teaching methods to respond to the learning styles and unique abilities of each person; the development and use of individual educational plans to support specific learning requirements; and the introduction of a pedagogy centred on students’ educational objectives.

Can please someone inform the UN, please? And point out that learning styles are one of the most stubborn myths in education and we don’t need them to spread these kinds of myths or even worse: urge countries to implement these kinds of myths?

If you still think learning styles are real and you don’t want to read our book or any other stuff, just take this challenge and earn 5000 dollars. Or better: try to earn 5000 dollars.

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