Welcome all ten educat↻rRESET subscribers! I am honored that you have invited me into your inbox.

I hope you’re all still riding the wave of the Fresh Start Effect, where we find enhanced motivation at the start of a new time period or a significant event (new week, new year, birthday, etc.)

In this second edition, we’re dispelling some neuromyths that may be wasting your precious time.

Let’s dive in
– Sarah 🏊

Neuroeducation

Neuroeducation, also known as educational neuroscience or mind, brain, and education (MBE), is an interdisciplinary field that combines insights from neuroscience, psychology, and education to understand how the brain learns and how this knowledge can be applied to educational practices

The goal of neuroeducation is to bridge the gap between scientific research on the brain and the practical aspects of teaching and learning in educational settings.

It offers valuable insights into the cognitive processes of learning and can inform teaching, but we must be careful that we are not perpetuating myths in our classrooms.

Neuromyths

From an educational approach, a neuromyth is described as “a misconception generated by a misunderstanding, a misreading, or a misquoting of facts scientifically established (by brain research) to make a case for the use of brain research in education and other contexts” (OECD, 2002).

Although these so-called “neuromyths” are loosely based on scientific facts, they may have adverse effects on educational practice. Here are a few of the most common neuromyths and why they’re wrong.

Myths to Bust

1) Learning styles

This is the myth that individuals have specific learning styles (e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and that tailoring instruction to match these styles enhances learning. This is probably the biggest myth, and I see this one being used a lot in schools.

Yet, scientific evidence suggests that the concept of distinct learning styles is not supported, and effective teaching involves a variety of instructional methods.

The fact is, many might have a preferred way of learning but using another one has no impact on learning. Students are not visual learners, auditory learners, or kinesthetic learners. Rather, they are all these kinds of learners in one.

 

2) Left brain vs. Right brain

This is the belief that individuals are either left-brained (analytical and logical) or right-brained (creative and intuitive). In reality, both hemispheres of the brain work together, and cognitive functions involve complex interactions across regions.

In fact, imaging studies show that both parts of the brain are active when people are engaged in creative tasks.

3) You only use 10 percent of your brain

This is the misconception that humans only use 10% of their brains and that unlocking the unused portion can lead to increased intelligence or special abilities.

Contrary to the popular movies Limitless or Lucy, scientific research indicates that the brain is active and engaged in various functions throughout the day.

The myth probably comes from William James, widely considered the father of psychology, who wrote that it’s unlikely most people would ever reach 10% of their potential. Somehow, this became 10% of their brain.

4) There are separate types of intelligence

This myth suggests that intelligence can be neatly divided into distinct types, such as logical-mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, etc. This is another one I see taught often.

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner came up with this theory in the 80s based on no data.

In reality, the concept of multiple intelligences in this specific, distinct sense has been challenged. Intelligence is a complex trait with many interacting components, and individuals often exhibit a combination of strengths across different domains.

This is called “general intelligence” and it has a lot more tangible evidence to support it than the theory of multiple intelligences.

5) Listening to Mozart makes you smarter

This myth, often associated with the “Mozart Effect,” suggests that regularly listening to classical music, particularly Mozart, can boost one’s cognitive abilities and reasoning skills.

While exposure to music, including classical music, can have positive effects on mood and certain cognitive processes, the exaggerated claims of a specific and enduring “Mozart Effect” on intelligence have been largely debunked.

The impact of music on cognitive abilities is more nuanced and may vary among individuals.

If you assumed any of the above neuromyths were true, you are not alone. According to this study, the general public believes 68 percent of common neuromyths, educators endorse 56 percent, and even respondents with neuroscience training believe 46 percent.

While these are all myths and a waste of your precious time, there are many evidence-based teaching methods that improve learning. I have shared one below!

Closing Thoughts

The prevalence of the types of neuromyths above is likely doing more harm than good. They make some students reluctant
to engage with certain types of instruction, and give teachers unnecessary things to worry about.

Scrap them and use that energy for something worth it!

See you next week.

Sarah Mae
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Sarah Mae | The educatorRESET

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Sarah Mae | Educator & Education Advocate | educatorRESET

Hi–I’m Sarah Mae. I help educators maintain a healthy work-life balance throughout the school year and teach their students to do the same.

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Brain Ballet Lesson Plan

Brain Ballet Lesson Plan

By understanding the back-and-forth nature of learning between focused and diffuse modes, students can recognize that frustration is a natural part of the learning process and can be alleviated through strategic toggling between these modes.

Sarah Mae | The educatorRESET

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