Dodgy theories forced upon us

24th September 2004 at 01:00
In medicine before a new drug is introduced there are extensive tests and trials and research is subject to rigorous peer review.

This process was developed to counter the nineteenth-century "snake oil" salesmen, whose wonder drug usually turned out to be a placebo (TES, September 17).

Why is it different in education? Schools and local education authorities have paid out millions on "learning to learn". The idea is that children can be labelled as "visual", "auditory" or "kinaesthetic" learners.

Based on a superficial test one school has labels on every desk to identify children's learning styles.

However, in another school one enquiring teacher found a high proportion of his class were auditory learners, yet when he tested them at the end of the year a majority were visual.

Yes. children change their learning styles as they develop. Isn't there a danger that children will be pigeon-holed as one particular style?

Surely before initiatives are unleashed onto schools there should be research, trials and peer review.

That's what they did with the literacy hour - wasn't it?

Richard Knights 16 The Fairway Liverpool

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