Schools are full of myths; we create and perpetuate them all the time, which adds to the inertia that resists needed change. I have been fighting against the “small class sizes are always better” myth, and the “we can’t ged rid of our AP’s” myths for many years. Multiple studies have busted myths about the effectiveness of homework, yet many teachers and schools just keep on doing what they have always done, regardless of hard data provided by highly qualified educators.
Edutopia published a year-end report on 2019 education research highlights, and I urge that it be shared amongst your school teams. It has links to valuable research results that indicate or re-enforce:
- Doodling distracts, but real drawing helps cement learning.
- Great, engaging teachers do far more to boost attendance than do rewards for coming to class or school.
- Boys and girls are hardwired the same way for proficiency in math.
- The “summer slide” of learning is less dramatic than we might have thought.
- Arts programs improve writing, increase student compassion, and reduce discipline problems.
- Early intervention with learning disabilities is critical, and many teachers don’t know how to identify them.
- More sleep leads to better grades.
- Black students get fewer warning before being disciplined than do white kids.
- “Growth mindset” probably is an important performance factor for all learners, but is especially important for academically at-risk kids.
I certainly have not and will not wade through the research; my job is to highlight and share! But what if you split up these research findings amongst small teams at your school and asked them to report back with three minute summaries at a January or February faculty meeting? Part of the shift from a culture of teaching to a culture of learning is that we take ownership of our individual and collective on-going professional growth and challenge the myths that often inhibit valuable change.