Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas. “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the researchers concluded.Having done a lot of work with teachers, including award-winning teacher, I can tell you that these theories are immensely popular among teachers and that they are taught at teacher's colleges all across the continent. And yet, it's just junk science.
It's important to underline the point here: the people who are supposed to be the best authorities on education really believe this crap. They push it on parents and children and launch initiatives to pressure governments to provide extra funds to create special programs to meet needs that don't exist. I've sat through literally hundreds of presentations by teachers over the last decade and a half where they have pushed the idea of different learning styles.
The same is true, by the way, of repressed memories, about which another study released this week found no credible evidence for. Ann Althouse, who gets the H/T for this link, reminds us that innocent people were sentenced to hundreds of years in jail based on repressed memories that, it turns out, do not exist.
Again, this is what the smart people believe. Now, why do we say they are smart again?