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Neuroscience Presentation TESOL 2015

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Presentation from TESOL 2015, Toronto, Canada.
Bridging the Gap: Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training by Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries

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Neuroscience Presentation TESOL 2015

  1. 1. Bridging the gap: Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training Carol Lethaby clethaby@clethaby.com Patricia Harries pattiharries@hotmail.com
  2. 2. Why are we interested in this? Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  3. 3. 1 Developments in neuroscience and “neuromyths” 2 What we found in our research 3 What this means for training teachersCarol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  4. 4. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  5. 5. “misconception generated by a misunderstanding or misreading or a misquoting of facts scientifically established (by brain research) to make a case for the use of brain research in education or other contexts” OECD in Howard-Jones, 2014 page 817 Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  6. 6. Can you spot the neuromyths? (Based on Howard-Jones, 2014) 1 We mostly only use 10% of our brain. 2 Individual learners show preferences for the mode in which they receive information (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic). 3 Vigorous exercise can improve mental function. 4 Learning problems associated with developmental differences in brain function cannot be remediated by education. 5 Differences in hemispheric dominance (left brain, right brain) can help explain individual differences amongst learners. 6 Short bouts of co-ordination exercises can improve integration of left and right hemispheric brain function. 7 Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic). 8 Teaching to learning styles is more important in language learning than in other types of learning. 9 Extended rehearsal of some mental processes can change the shape and structure of some parts of the brain. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  7. 7. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  8. 8. Why do neuromyths exist? • 1 sometimes they’re based on reality .. BUT myths are perpetuated and go unchallenged eg in popular media • 2 the evidence is hard to understand / the evidence is hidden in technical journals – lack of neuroscientific literacy • 3 there can be no evidence – the neuromyth is untestable Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  9. 9. • Teacher from Pickering and Howard-Jones study, 2007 p 112 “The snake oil sellers are often gifted communicators” Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  10. 10. •( An example of a neuromyth is that learning is enhanced if people are classified and taught according to their preferred learning style. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  11. 11. “This misconception is based on a valid research finding, namely that visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information is processed in different parts of the brain.” (Dekker et al, 2012) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  12. 12. “However, these separate structures in the brain are highly interconnected and there is profound cross- modal activation and transfer of information between sensory modalities (Gilmore et al., 2007). Thus, it is incorrect to assume that only one sensory modality is involved with information processing.” (Dekker et al, 2012) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  13. 13. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  14. 14. How does the belief in this neuromyth manifest itself in the classroom? •1 We identify learning styles – formal and informal assessment •2 We try to teach to preferred learning styles to enhance learning •3 We teach on initial and in-service training courses that this is important Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  15. 15. Recommendations Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  16. 16. Problems with learning styles 1. Definition and assessment Coffield et al (2004) look at 13 models of learning styles! Learners have to assess themselves – are they accurate? Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  17. 17. Problems with learning styles: •2 There is no evidence that teaching to preferred learning styles enhances learning. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  18. 18. Krätzig and Arbuthnott (2006) • Two ways to identify learners: self-report and questionnaire • Less than 50% agreement between the learner and the questionnaire • No correlation between the learning style and objective test performance • For example: • 40% self-identified as visual learners • 60% identified as visual learners on questionnaire • Only 23% performed best on the visual test Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  19. 19. • Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., and Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning. A Systematic and Critical Review. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre. • Krätzig, G.P. and Arbuthnott, K.D. (2006). Perceptual learning style and learning proficiency: A test of the hypothesis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 238-246. • Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2009). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119. • Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change, Sept/Oct, 32-36. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  20. 20. Problems with learning styles 3.Research suggests that teaching to all styles - visual, auditory, kinesthetic may actually be cognitive overload for the learner . (See: Butcher, 2006, Clark, 2014) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  21. 21. So, what about in language learning and teaching? How widespread is the use of learning styles in our teaching and the belief that this helps learning? Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  22. 22. The Survey • Howard-Jones (2014) – 938 participants, 38 statements about the brain • Our survey (2015) - 128 participants, 9 statements mainly focusing on learning styles Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  23. 23. ‘neuromyths’ 1. We mostly only use 10% of our brains 4. Learning problems associated with developmental differences in brain function cannot be remediated by education 5. Differences in hemispheric dominance (left brain, right brain) can help explain individual differences amongst learners 6. Short bouts of co-ordination exercises can improve integration of left and right hemispheric brain function 7. Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) 8. Teaching to learning styles is more important in language learning than in other types of learning Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  24. 24. 30.47% 6.25% 65.63% 61.72% 88.28% 21.88% 1. 10% 4. Learning problems 5. Left brain, right brain 6. Coordination exercises 7. VAK 8. Learning styles in language learning % who agree with ‘neuromyths’ (n = 128) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  25. 25. % of teachers who agree with ‘neuromyths' Our survey UK The Netherlands Turkey Greece China 1. 10% 30 48 46 50 43 59 4. Learning problems 6 16 19 22 33 50 5.Left brain, right brain 66 91 86 79 74 71 6. Coord. exercises 62 88 82 72 60 84 7. VAK 88 93 96 97 96 97 Howard-Jones (2014) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  26. 26. TESOL training courses taken 39 68 2 1 32 CELTA Other certificate TESOL major/minor DELTA Masters in TESOL Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  27. 27. Spotlight on VAK Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) “Perhaps the most popular and influential myth..” Howard-Jones (2014) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  28. 28. Spotlight on VAK % of teachers who agree with the VAK ‘neuromyth’ % of teachers who said they received input on brain-based ideas on the teacher training course % of teachers who say the input has influenced their teaching CELTA 90 64 (100) 80 Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  29. 29. Learning styles on the CELTA “Candidates can demonstrate their learning by teaching a class with an awareness of learning styles” Cambridge English CELTA syllabus Third Edition Teaching practice assessment criteria “Observe your learner during class. Identify their learning style…Find one activity that could help your learner… and say why it is helpful for your learner in particular.” Cambridge English CELTA Focus on the Learner assignment rubric (Teaching House) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  30. 30. % of teachers who said they received input on brain- based ideas on the TESOL training course % of teachers who say the input has influenced their teaching Cert TESOL 46 97 Masters TESOL 66 86 Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  31. 31. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  32. 32. Some survey conclusions • TESOL training courses may encourage beliefs in ‘neuromyths’ • Teachers say their teaching is influenced by beliefs in ‘neuromyths’ • Teachers also hear and read about ‘neuromyths’ and brain- based ideas outside of their teaching and training • Teachers would like more discussion of brain- based ideas on their TESOL training courses and in post-training professional development Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  33. 33. Recommendations Recommendations Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  34. 34. •A Clark (2015) – Don’t waste your time and resources with learning styles assessments Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  35. 35. •“ If you total the expenditures on books, workshops, tests, teacher guides and other adjunct resources, I suspect the investment goes into the millions.” • Clark , 2012 https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog/2012/05/Stop-Wasting-Resources-on-Learning- Styles Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  36. 36. •“The emphasis on learning styles, we think, often comes at the cost of attention to …. other important dimensions.” • Riener and Willingham (2010) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  37. 37. •B Why not focus on evidence-based ways that we know are more helpful to learners? • – learn how to use visuals / text / audio better! • (eg Butcher, (2006), or Wouters et al (2008)) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  38. 38. • Pashler et al, 2009 Pashler et al (2009)Pashler et al (2009) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  39. 39. •“ … present information in the most appropriate manner for our content and for the level of prior knowledge, ability, and interests of that particular set of students.” • Riener and Willingham, 2010 Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  40. 40. •C Consider whether teaching to all styles visual, auditory, kinesthetic may be overload for the learner! • See Clark (2012, 2014) • (not to mention overload for teachers trying to design lessons to all learning styles) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  41. 41. •D Teacher training • Pickering and Howard-Jones (2007) , Howard-Jones (2014), Dekker et al (2012) Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  42. 42. • 1 Stop teaching / perpetuating neuromyths! Talk about this overtly with trainees • 2 Include neuroscience and psychology in initial teacher training • 3 Help teachers to read / evaluate and take advantage of scientific research • 4 “Hybrid professional” to act as a bridge between neuroscientists and educators Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  43. 43. •“the importance of a dialog between teachers and neuroscience experts in order to establish effective collaborations between the two fields” • Dekker et al, 2012 Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  44. 44. • References • Butcher, K.R. (2006). Learning from text with diagrams: Promoting mental model development and inference generation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 182-197 • Clark, R C (2012) Stop wasting resources on learning styles ATD Learning and Development Blog https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog • Clark, R.C (2015) Evidence-based Training Methods ASTD • Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., and Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning. A Systematic and Critical Review. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre. • Dekker,S., Lee, N.C., Howard-Jones, P., and Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology 3/429 1 - 8 • Howard-Jones, P (2014) Neuroscience and education: myths and messages. Nature Reviews Neuroscience Volume 15 December 2014 817-824 • Krätzig, G.P. and Arbuthnott, K.D. (2006). Perceptual learning style and learning proficiency: A test of the hypothesis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 238-246. • Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2009). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105-119. • Pickering, S. J., and Howard-Jones, P. (2007). Educators’ views on the role of neuroscience in education: findings from a study of UK and international perspectives. Mind Brain Educ. 1, 109–113. • Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change, Sept/Oct, 32-36. • Wouters, P., Paas, F. & van Merrienboer, J.J.G. (2008). How to optimize learning from animated models: A review of guidelines based on cognitive load. Review of Educational Research, 78, 645-675. Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries: TESOL 2015 Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training
  45. 45. Bridging the gap: Neuroscience, Learning Styles and Teacher Training Carol Lethaby clethaby@clethaby.com Patricia Harries pattiharries@hotmail.com

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