Heads up to a comment on Cal Skinner's Blog that lead to this post on the TC Record The Voice of Scholarship in Education website.
Myths and Misconceptions About Teaching: What Really Happens in Classrooms
Recent trends in education have encouraged democratic and holistic approaches to learning through discovery-oriented teaching approaches. At the same time, research on teaching for students with learning difficulties and disabilities suggests that direct instruction, explicit teaching, and highly regulated learning environments are the best practice for teaching special education classes. These distinct theoretical approaches have been used to argue that regular classrooms are inappropriate learning environments for students with learning difficulty, disabilities, or behavior disorders (Kauffman, 1999; Kauffman & Sasso, 2006). Vicki Snider’s new book, Myths and Misconceptions About Teaching: What Really Happens in the Classroom, challenges whether regular classrooms with holistic, discovery-oriented and democratic philosophies are appropriate teaching environments for any students. Snider suggests that the most effective teaching methods are direct instruction, explicit teaching, and highly structured curricular environments. She bases this argument on empirical evidence of the effectiveness of these teaching methods.
Snider proposes that many teaching strategies have come from theories of learning that have not been empirically tested, such as multiple intelligence, and that student failures to a large extent can be explained by the fact that education systems do not empirically test teaching methods and curricula. She argues that the trend toward whole language, discovery-oriented, and experiential approaches to learning hinders learning at best, and at worst, actually causes some students to have learning difficulties. Snider instead advocates curriculum that is proven successful in rigorous testing. She uses extensive reading research as an example, pointing out that the scrutiny of reading instruction indicates that phonics and direct instruction are proven effective teaching strategies. Current general education practice, Snider suggests, has been undermined by six myths or misconceptions about teaching that arise from untested theories that have become widely accepted. These myths are as follows:
• that learning outcomes are not as important as learning process;
• that learning has to be fun and interesting rather than hard work and sometimes difficult;
• that good teaching is always eclectic rather than due to proven methods that work for most children;
• that teachers have intrinsic characteristics that make them good teachers;
• that individual students have unique learning styles;
• and that learning difficulties or disabilities are intrinsic characteristics of students rather than the result of poor teaching.
To view the full article go to the TC Record The Voice of Scholarship in Education website.