Neuromyths in Education, Part I: Introduction

For nearly a year I’ve been trying to write a blog post about neuromyths in education. But the topic is too vast; it warrants at least a book. And there are books. But it’s hard to find time to read outside your discipline, so here are some key points for museumfolk:

What is a neuromyth?

Most generally, a neuromyth is a misconception about neuroscience. More specifically, the term neuromyth refers to mistaken beliefs that are used to justify particular “brain-based” educational interventions and teaching practices. [1] [2]

Who believes neuromyths?

Surveys have found substantial belief in neuromyths among teachers in several countries, including Spain; Turkey, Greece, and Chinathe UK and the Netherlands; in trainee teachers in England; and in the general public in Brazil.

Thus far, there have been no peer-reviewed studies of neuromyths among teachers in the U.S. or among museum professionals. But given the prevalence of neuromyths, we’re probably not immune, especially since one study found that

Teachers who read popular science magazines achieved higher scores on general knowledge questions. More general knowledge also predicted an increased belief in neuromyths.

In other words, possessing more general knowledge may make you more susceptible to neuromyths, not less.

Why are neuromyths a problem?

Neuromyths can be used to justify ineffective educational approaches or approaches whose effectiveness is not known. Time and money spent on these approaches might better be spent elsewhere.

Neuromyths in museums?

Unfortunately, yes. More in future posts….

Neuromyths in Education, Part II: Learning Styles

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