Clearing out the rubbish

When Gadfly did graduate work in Britain, he was subjected to English teaching strategies ostensibly suited to his personality, lifestyle, and compound eyes. Diagnosed as a "kinesthetic" learner in the lexicon of multiple intelligence theory, he was required, while studying Ulysses, to constantly buzz about the library. But what was once sexy social science is now shown to be neuroscientific nonsense. According to Oxford pharmacologist Baroness Greenfield, the notion (developed in the U.S., popular in Britain) that children have specialized learning styles--and are thus genetically predisposed to learn either through "sight, sound or touch"--is claptrap. Professor Frank Coffield, who works at London University, agrees: "We do students a serious disservice by implying that they have only one learning style, rather than a flexible repertoire from which to choose." America has already done some debunking of its own, but we're pleased to see our British friends finally coming along. The special relationship is strengthened.

"Professor pans 'learning style' teaching method," Julie Henry, Sunday Telegraph, June 29, 2007

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