“Neuromyths” in Education

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Paul A. Howard Jones in ”Neuroscience and Education: Myths and Messages”  describes the neuromyths that have leaked into teacher education schools and the teaching corps.. (Neuromyth: “a misconception generated by a misunderstanding, a misreading or a misquoting of facts scientifically established [by brain research] to make a case for use of brain research in education and other contexts.”) Dr. Howard further describes neuromyths as stemming from “uninformed interpretations of genuine scientific facts [that] are promoted by victims of their own wishful thinking.”

The paper gets pretty technical, but relevant here is the prevalence of neuromyths among teachers. The paper includes a chart of the percentage of teachers from the U.K., the Netherlands, Turkey, Greece, and China who believe in these misconceptions of the way students learn. It’s a pretty fair guess that these that many U.S. teachers, as well as much of the public, fall for these myths too.

Here’s a few education neuromyths:

  • We mostly only use 10% of our brain.
  • Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (for example, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic).
  • Short bouts of co-ordination exercises can improve integration of left and right hemispheric brain function.
  • Differences in hemispheric dominance (left brain or right) can explain individual differences among learners.
  • Children are less attentive after sugary drinks and snacks.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest


  • kallikak, October 20, 2014 @ 5:40 pm Reply

    You left out a big one:

    The typical 'plastic' brain, whose synaptic networks are constantly adapting to accommodate anticipated workload, can SIMULTANEOUSLY become more effective at both critical thinking (i.e., slow, content-rich reading followed by contemplative and complex thought) and hyper-digital activity (i.e., bombardment with many relatively shallow messages of uncertain quality delivered over multiple media).

    Oh, by the way, this neuromyth—our students can have it all, simultaneously—underpins the CCSS.

  • NJ Left Behind, October 21, 2014 @ 11:30 am Reply

    Well, the researchers left out a big one. I was just listing their findings. But well-played, sir.

  • kallikak, October 22, 2014 @ 2:46 pm Reply

    Recommended reading: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *