Education Best of the Blogs

Blogs of the Week

January 05, 2010 1 min read


Faux ‘Learning Styles’?

At one time or another, we’ve all heard “experts” assert that children have different learning styles. A teacher’s job, according to this line of thinking, is to find out what a student’s learning style is and tailor instruction accordingly.

A study published last month points up one big problem with learning-style theory: There’s no evidence for it.

Writing in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, four psychologists argue that, of the thousands of articles published on learning styles in recent decades, few really put the theory to an adequate test.

What many of these theories give a name to may actually be a learning preference, the authors argue. And it’s a long way from preferring to be taught one way to actually learning more when taught by a compatible instructional method. —Debra Viadero



A recent article in the THE Journal outlines five ed-tech trends expected to gain traction in 2010:

1. eBooks will continue to proliferate.

2. Netbook functionality will grow.

3. More teachers will use interactive whiteboards.

4. Personal devices will infiltrate the classroom.

5. Technology will enable tailored curricula.

What do you think? Are these reasonable predictions for the direction of ed tech in the new year? What would you add or take away from this list? —Katie Ash


Reading Challenges

I’ve almost finished reading Beth Fertig’s why cant u teach me 2 read?, a 2009 book about three young adults who spent several years in New York City high schools without being able to read. The students, children of Dominican immigrants, win payment for one-on-one tutoring by private education centers.

Fertig, a reporter for WNYC radio, includes more description of reading instruction than in any book I’ve ever read. She addresses a lot of big-picture issues, such as whether districts use “direct instruction” or “balanced literacy.” But where the book makes a wonderful contribution is in showing what happens between teachers and students who are at risk of not learning to read because of special challenges.

I can now see why some people say reading is rocket science. —Mary Ann Zehr

A version of this article appeared in the January 06, 2010 edition of Education Week as Blogs of the Week