Learning styles undead in Australian universities

Following my previous post on teacher education, Stewart Riddle of the University of Southern Queensland made the following observation:

riddle learning styles

So, I thought I’d help him out a little. I used Google to search the education faculty websites of a number of Australian universities, looking for something recent on learning styles [e.g. search for: “learning styles” site:https://www.griffith.edu.au/education/ ]. Here’s what I found.

The University of Sydney has a Professional Practices Unit of Study outline that looks like it’s intended for student teachers. It was last revised in 2014. Block 1 includes a reading list about student diversity with the intention that, “This session will focus on multicultural, Aboriginal, gender and learning style diversity. What are the different gender, religious, cultural, linguistic, social, physical and emotional factors that today’s teachers need to have an understanding and appreciation of when planning for learning in the classroom?”

Murdoch University in Western Australia has a handbook for intern teachers. Interestingly, this looks like a variation on the traditional model of initial teacher education – perhaps giving support to some of those who have commented that new models of teacher education are no better than the old ones. In the handbook, there is a guide to lesson planning. There is a section on “Multiple Intelligences/Learning Styles” which includes the question, “Which of the intelligences or learning styles does your lesson address?”

Monash University in Melbourne is offering two courses this year. Granted, neither are initial teacher training. The first is a course for classroom aids and the second looks like a PD course on special needs for practicing teachers. They discuss identifying and understanding student learning styles.

Griffith University in Queensland is offering a variety of initial teacher education programmes with a focus on special education. The course description states that, “As a teacher working in the special education stream your knowledge, skills and creative talents will focus on the capabilities, interests and learning styles of individual students.”

It was only a quick search and I gave up after this. I am sure that there will be those who suggest that I cannot know the true state of affairs without going to observe lectures in all of these institutions. Perhaps Learning Styles are presented critically? Perhaps. To the rest of us, this is all highly suggestive of a neuromyth that is very much undead.

Update 21st Feb: I couldn’t help it. I kept going and found the mother lode. Search this doc for “learning styles”.


6 thoughts on “Learning styles undead in Australian universities

  1. Ann in L.A. says:

    Here in Los Angeles, our 13-year-old had a student teacher sub in for a day, when most of the class was preparing for the school play. She spent the time asking them about their learning styles and how they liked to learn. It sounded to me like she was surveying them for some sort of research project as part of her degree. I just wonder if she ever bothered with a literature search.

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