“Are University Faculty to Blame for the Prevalence of Educational Myths?”

One of the handy things one has as a scientist is that there are tools that warn you if one of your works has been cited. This helps you to discover new studies that build further on what you are doing. This is how I discovered this new mixed-methods study by John Rogers and Anise Cheung about how myths can prevail even if a teacher training tries to be evidence-based:

This mixed-methods study examined the beliefs, and their origins, of trainee teachers regarding a number of myths and misconceptions about teaching and learning. Using a cross-sectional experimental design, survey data were collected from 65 pre-service teachers enrolled in a high- profile Bachelor of Education program. 18 participants then took part in semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that trainee teachers’ beliefs in educational 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.

And the conclusion is rather depressing, although the study has several limitations:

This study examined the beliefs of pre-service teachers regarding a number of commonly held myths and misconceptions about teaching and learning. Quantitative survey data indicated that both student teachers in their first and fifth year of study generally endorsed many myths as being true, and suggests that a) students enter the teaching training program with misconceptions about teaching and learning firmly in place, and b) that these misconceptions do not change over the course of a 5-year teacher training program. Qualitative analyses provided evidence that belief in these myths might be perpetuated and entrenched via the expectations of stakeholders, such as principals, parents, and students, as well as the content, training, and mentoring as part of the pre-service teacher training program.

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