Are You a Visual or an Auditory Learner? It Doesn’t Matter (Daniel Willingham)

On repeat…

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

“Daniel T. Willingham (@DTWillingham) is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and the author, most recently, of The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads.”

This appeared October 4, 2018 in the New York Times.

You must read this article to understand it, but many people feel reading is not how they learn best. They would rather listen to an explanation or view a diagram. Researchers have formalized those intuitions into theories of learning styles. These theories are influential enough that many states (including New York) require future teachers to know them and to know how they might be used in the classroom.

But there’s no good scientific evidence that learning styles actually exist.

Over the last several decades, researchers have proposed dozens of theories, each suggesting a scheme to categorize learners. The best known proposes that some…

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2 thoughts on “Are You a Visual or an Auditory Learner? It Doesn’t Matter (Daniel Willingham)

  1. I know many parents come in to us and speak about the child’s individual style. But it is not backed with evidence and we have limited ways to respond to the parent’s claims. We also have a local woman who runs a program in the City for Aspergers… and she says the same things and convinces parents — then her daughter writes on Facebook “the schools are lousy in my city” because they don’t seem to understand (teachers) that they have to accommodate something that is not evidence-based. My training in special education has given me some knowledge but often the parents and not well informed. serious mis-communications. I also have asked them to stop using Aspergers based on the work of a physician in Germany at the time children were being murdered in the NAZI hospitals.

  2. it concerns me that parents may be “lied to ” or not told the truth. I was the step-mother of a child at one time who was brain injured but the truth was hidden from the schools. I have read in books that Adam Lanza’s mother thought he was “gifted”. Facts about these conditions need to be available to teachers; the last IEP I attended I asked if the staff had seen the neurologist’s report (on a student with brain injury from birth) and they said “it is not necessary to read the doctor’s report because we don’t do medical things in this school.” Have we gone that far backwards from our science and knowledge that has accumulated over 50 years?

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