Children's Unique Learning Styles

First Class Learning is the ideal franchise for those who want to operate their own rewarding business that helps children excel in Maths and English.
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First Class Learning

  Opportunities:
In the UK
  Business Type:
Franchise
  Minimum Investment:
£10,000
  Training Provided:
Yes
  Home-based:
Yes
  Part time:
Yes
  BFA Membership:
Member - Associate

There is widespread interest among teachers in the use of neuroscientific research findings in educational practice. However, there are also misconceptions and myths regarding the different learning styles that are prevalent in our schools.

First Class Learning Franchise

We focus on an educational practice (supposedly based on neuroscience) that lacks sufficient evidence and so we believe that it should not be promoted or supported.

‘Learning Styles’ refers to the idea that individuals can benefit from receiving information in their preferred format, based on a self-report questionnaire. We believe that because individuals are better at some things than others that there may be a neurological reason for these differences. Learning styles tailor information to match the individual’s preferred mode of sensory information processing and therefore claim to optimise education for each individual.

There are, however, a number of problems with this approach. First, there is no coherent framework of preferred learning styles. Usually, individuals are categorised into one of three preferred styles of auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners. One study found that there were more than 70 different models of learning styles including among others, “left v right brain,” “holistic v serialists,” “verbalisers v visualisers” and so on. The second problem is that categorising individuals could risk each person adapting a fixed or rigid learning style, which has the potential to impair their motivation for applying themselves to different types of materials.

Finally, systematic studies of learning styles have consistently found either no evidence or very weak evidence to support the hypothesis that matching material to an individual’s learning style is more effective for educational achievement. Students will improve if they think about how they learn, not because material is matched to their supposed learning style. The Educational Endowment Foundation in the UK has concluded that learning styles is “based on limited evidence”.

These neuromyths may be ineffectual, but they are not low cost. We would submit that any activity that draws upon resources of time and money that could be better directed to evidence-based practices is costly and should be exposed and rejected. Such neuromyths create a false impression of individuals’ abilities, leading to expectations and excuses that are detrimental to learning in general, which has significant costs in the long run.

One way forward is to draw attention to practices that are not evidence-based and to encourage neuroscientists and educationalists to promote the need for critical thinking when evaluating the claims for educational benefits supposedly based on neuroscience.

As part of Brain Awareness Week that begins on the 13th of March, we support neuroscientists who going into schools to talk about their research and we also wish to raise awareness of neuromyths.

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