Learning Styles, Technology Bans and more in this week’s News Roundup

male student examining calculations on glass dry erase board with magnifying glass on each eye

How many people believe learning styles theories are right? And why?
(Daniel Willingham–Science & Education Blog)
But with the exception of one recent study showing that academics often invoke learning styles theories in in professional journal articles (Newton, 2015) there haven’t been empirical data on how widespread this belief is in the US.  Now there are.

Technology Bans and Student Experience in the College Classroom
(E-xcellence in Teaching Blog  – APA Div 2, Society for the Teaching of Psychology )

Personal technologies, including laptops and cell phones, have infiltrated the college classroom.  Instructors must now decide whether to implement a ban on the unsupervised use of personal technologies in their courses.  Anecdotal evidence (“students always seem to be looking at their computer screens and not me during class”), and results from recent studies linking the unsupervised use of technology with reductions in academic performance, have led to declarations that the time to ban technology use in the classroom is now (Rosenblum, 2017).

Houston Students Are Heading Back — What They Find Could Change Schools Nationwide
Trauma-informed education and wraparound services are growing in response to the storm as Houston-area schools look to the future. The changes could serve as a model for schools nationwide.

Episode 1 – Welcome to the Learning Scientists Podcast!
(Learning Scientists)

Welcome to the Learning Scientists Podcast – a podcast for teachers, students, and parents about evidence-based practice and learning.

Episode 2 – Retrieval Practice
(Learning Scientists)

Over the past few decades, cognitive psychologists have found evidence for the following 6 strategies for effective learning: Spaced Practice, Retrieval Practice, Elaboration, Interleaving, Concrete Examples and Dual Coding. Today we’re introducing retrieval practice – in other words, bringing information to mind.

The Myths That Persist About How We Learn

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? When you see something, do you commit it to memory? Or do you perhaps learn faster by hearing new information? The idea of “learning styles” has been around since the 1950s, and the theory is still widely believed by educators and the public, according to a recent study in Frontiers in Psychology. But there’s not much evidence that indicates the theory is true.

Most teachers believe that kids have different ‘learning styles.’ Here’s why they are wrong.
(Washington Post)

Surely you’ve heard that kids have different “learning styles.” Some supposedly learn better visually, others through listening. Some kids are cooperative while others are competitive. Well, there is no consensus on what “learning styles” actually are, and some experts say they don’t, in fact, exist.

Resilience: It’s Not About Grit, It’s About Relationships
(Salud America!)

Resilience is the key to overcoming adverse childhood experiences. Often, public programs and policies demand an element of individual motivation and grit in order to overcome adverse experiences, which sends the message that disadvantaged kids are to blame if they don’t.  As a motivational anecdote, the concept of grit can be encouraging; however, early childhood development research suggests that overcoming adverse experiences requires relationships, not grit.

Social-Emotional Skills Should Be an Integral Part of Every Lesson We Teach
(Education Week)

As social and emotional learning has come to the forefront in education, what teachers worry about is another initiative piled on our already crowded desks. Rarely is anything taken off, so teachers tend to view any new initiative with caution.

How reading and writing with your child boost more than just literacy
(Science Daily)
Children who read and write at home — whether for assignments or just for fun — are building long-term study and executive function skills, according to a new article

High achievers in competitive courses more likely to cheat on college exams
(Science Daily)
A new study finds that students who are known as “high achievers” and take highly competitive courses are the most likely to cheat on their exams.

How Ending Behavior Rewards Helped One School Focus on Student Motivation and Character
(KQED MindShift)
Not only did the children shrug when the rewards disappeared, Valleroy said, they also welcomed the character-infused approach to learning.


About the Author

Hunter Clary
Hunter is a communications professional who came of age in the digital revolution, and has witnessed big changes in how we communicate. In his eclectic 20 year career he’s seen vast changes across multiple industries from advertising, B2C, professional services, publishing, and now non-profit. During his time at APA Hunter has watched the growth of in the organization’s web presence; a shift from print to digital media; and the pickup of social channels like the PsychLearningCurve. A tech geek at heart, Hunter is naturally drawn to all things shiny and new especially when it comes to communicating – particularly social media and apps. Hunter seeks to understand the world around him -- add in a penchant for creative design and a reporter’s curiosity and you’ve got Hunter. Through this blog he hopes to help translate quality psychological science into practical uses for educators, students, and parents.
Amanda Macchi, MPH
Amanda comes to the APA as a recent graduate of the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. During her time at GW, Amanda studied global health, focusing on the challenges facing mental health in low-and middle-income countries. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing from Emerson College in Boston, Mass. In her free time Amanda loves pyrography, furniture making and spending time with her dog, Becky.