A bit of a depressing study: “Pre-service teacher education may perpetuate myths about teaching and learning”

True, the sample is rather small, non-longitudinal and the researchers, Rogers and Cheung, call it rightfully preliminary findings, but still: the results are very depressing:

This study examined the beliefs of pre-service teachers with regard to the myths of learning styles and multiple intelligences. Survey data indicated that that the student teachers generally endorsed these myths as being true, and their opinions largely remained unchanged over the course of a teacher education programme. Qualitative analyses provided evidence that belief in these myths might be perpetuated and entrenched via expectations of stakeholders as well as the content, training, and mentoring as part of the pre-service teacher education programme.

Overall, these results are troubling. Despite lip-service paid to evidence-based teaching and learning, myths and misconceptions may continue to be promoted within some teacher education programmes, even amongst high-profile universities. It is clear that further research is needed closely to analyse curricula and that a more concerted, long-term effort may be required to help combat the perpetuation of these myths.

Maybe I should add an important detail. It’s done just in one institute, but about that institute:

This study was carried out with intact cohorts of first year (Y1; n = 37) and final year (Y5; n = 28) students enrolled in a 5-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) programme at a university in Asia, ranked among the top universities in the world in the field of education.

Abstract of the study:

This research report presents the preliminary findings of mixed-methods study examining the beliefs of trainee teachers regarding a number of ‘learning myths’, e.g., learning styles and multiple intelligences. Using a cross-sectional experimental design, survey data were collected from 65 pre-service teachers enrolled in a high-profile Bachelor of Education program as to their beliefs in a number of myths about teaching and learning. 18 participants then took part in semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that trainee teachers’ beliefs in education myths and misconceptions may not change over the course of a five-year ‘evidence based’ teacher preparation program. Further, the qualitative results suggest that beliefs in learning myths might become further entrenched over the course of study as a result of being actively promoted by faculty throughout the program.

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