Myths and Misconceptions about teaching

For this weeks blog I thought I would look at Snyders (2006) 6 Myths about teaching. This is an interesting view because there are so many excuses that have allowed the standards of education to remain low.

1. The myth of process.

This is the focus on the jourmey through education rather than the actual learning that should tak eplace.

2. The myth of fun and interesting.

This is the focus that the process should not only teach the child but that the process should be entertaining too.

3. The myth of eclectic instruction.

This is bringing various different materials and techniques together to teach the child.

4. The myth of the good teacher.

This is the focus on the personal qualities of the teacher rather than the focus on the quality of the actual teaching.

5. The myth of the learning style.

This is the foucs that the teacher should focus on each childs individual learning style and match the learning style to suit.

5. The myth of disabilty.

This is the focus on the disability and the low stadards that are then put on the chilkd when the label is applied.

Possible reasons for the failing education system:

  • Teachers have to design their own instuctional programmes
  • Research is often ignored
  • Research is often misunderstood
  • Teachers need to be made more accountable

What did Snyder conclude?

  • Children falling into a ”labelling trap” has serious consequences on their education, particularly when labelled as learning disabled.
  • The child is automatically thought of as failing when it is really the teacher that has failed, not the child.
  • Teaching should be based on science, using teaching methods that are scientifically proven to work.



6 thoughts on “Myths and Misconceptions about teaching

  1. One of the things that you list as a conclusion is that ‘children falling into a ‘labelling trap’ has serious consequences on their education, particularly when labelled as learning disabled’, but I think that there are different ways to look at this. Herrman (2001) found that when disorders are labelled, people are more likely to be able to find help, and that disorders are more likely to be seen as cureable. So, when applied to learning disabilities, surely it is better to give a child a label which allows them to seek, and be given appropriate help than leave them in the back of a class struggling, and believing they’re just slow. Just a thought 🙂

  2. The 6 myths you mention that have been outlined by Snyder (2006) which can have negative effects on learning are interesting. However I will focus on research that suggests why the myth of disability is damaging to education. By focusing on the negative aspects of individuals this can lead to self fulfilling prophecies forming, where children start to perform badly as they believe they can’t learn at high level (Brophy, 1983)

  3. Having not been a student in the evidence based educational methods module, I was unaware of Snider’s (2006) six myths about teaching. Having looked at your blog, it inspired me to look further at these myths and was surprised about the common misconceptions that I have about teaching.

    Due to the vast amount that could be written on this topic, I will focus on the myth of disability and add some additional information to what you have already written about this topic.

    The myth of disability is that often teachers concentrate on the disability of a student and therefore assume that they are of a low standard compared to other students. This means that they receive low standard teaching as a result of this label that has been applied (Snider, 2006). This can be harmful to the students learning, with damaging labels resulting in teachers not providing the same attention and resources as students who do not have a disability (Campbell, Gilmore, & Cuskelly, 2003 and displaying a negative attitude towards these students (Center & Ward, 1987).

    An additional problem is the fact that when teachers apply these labels to students, it can cause a significant amount of damage to the child’s self confidence and result in a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, in the case of a student in a wheelchair, they may be extremely intelligent, but misconceptions by the teacher may result in them being taught as if they have a learning disability. This can result in the student becoming demotivated and result in a reluctance to engage in lessons.

    Clearly these myths are an issue and changing the current attitudes in education is of paramount importance if we wish for a brighter future for the education system in the UK.


    Campbell, J., Gilmore, L., & Cuskelly, M. (2003). Changing student teachers’ attitudes towards disability teaching and inclusion. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 28(4), 369-379. doi:10.1080/13668250310001616407

    Center, Y., & Ward, J. (1987). Teachers’ attitudes towards the integration of disabled children into regular schools. The Exceptional Child, 34(1), 41-56.
    doi: 10.1080/0156655870340105

    Snider, V. (2006). Myths and misconceptions about teaching: What really happens in the classroom. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group

  4. My focus here is going to be on the myth of learning styles as it is one I do believe in. I agree with the learning styles that children can develop. We are all individuals and unique in the way in which we learn, as Snider (2006) says “children are like snowflakes, each one is unique”. But are these beliefs and misconceptions hindering our children’s education? I argue for learning styles being intrinsic to learning.

    For my time at school, my memories are that specific learning styles were never dictated to me and I wasn’t taught a direct instruction way of how to learn nor told that there was just one way I could learn. We were told; you know how you learn best it is already in you. I found that I was motivated to develop my own way of learning, one that suited my own needs and educational formats. However, I feel that there are further factors that are involved in learning and developing a learning style. Further research has found to support my argument that motivational factors do indeed play a vital role in order to determine how learning styles are practiced by students (Sengodan and Iksan, 2012).

    I disagree with the statement that Snider (2006) concludes with; teaching should not be based just on science nor should teaching be based on scientifically proven methods. Teaching is like Psychology, not all research needs empirical evidence, not all methods have science-based testing; it promotes the age old question…..Is Psychology a Science – Is Teaching a Science?

    • Snider, V. (2006). Myths and misconceptions about teachings: What really happens in the classroom. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.
    • Sengodan, V., & Zanaton, I. H. (2012). Students’ Learning Styles and Intrinsic Motivation in Learning Mathematics. Asian Social Science, 17-23.

  5. The myth of disability can lead to assumptions that a child has a learning disability, when in fact, they just aren’t learning due to the effects of the previous myths (Snider, 2006). I think that assuming a child has a learning disability when they actually might not can lead to the child lowering their expectations of themselves (self fulfilling prophecy) and research (Chapman, 1988) has also shown that children with learning disabilities have lower academic self concept (they don’t believe in their academic abilities). For this reason, I think that Snider is right is saying that teachers blame academic failure on the student rather than their teaching methods (and the fact they have allowed the other teaching myths to come into play), and a student shouldn’t be given the label of “learning disabled” lightly, as research has demonstrated that the label alone can have a negative effect on the student.

  6. Hi Michaela,

    Interesting blog, I took Mike Beverleys Evidence Based Educational Methods module last semester and learnt a lot about the importance of the implementation of scientific methods in schools. These Myths individually can have massive consequences on students learning… I’m just going to focus in on a few of the conclusions made my Snider here and simply expand on them.

    1) Within your blog you mention that Snider concluded “Teaching should be based on science, using teaching methods that are scientifically proven to work.” Moran & Mallot, (2004) agree with this statement. They note that children “require and deserve the kind of accelerated instruction that only science of teaching can provide”.In fact, this particular book goes as far as to say that in tackling the lack of science/evidence based teaching methods in school educators are actually shaping a future for generations of children; improving both their education and their home life…They suggest they can solve the problems of “crime, health, disability and economy”. Therefore, this just confirms how important it is to use teaching methods that are scientifically proven to work – they shape the child as a whole.

    2) Sniders Myths also discuss that teachers fail students. An interesting quote from Greer (2002) sums this up nicely: “Teachers are key. When teaching is an art, a good teacher is an accident. When teaching is a science, good teaching can be replicated by many professionals in a reliable fashion.”

    Sources & References:
    Greer, R. D. (2002). Designing teaching strategies: An Applied Behavior Analysis Systems Approach
    Moran, D. J., & Malott, R. W. (2004). Evidence-based educational methods. Boston, MA: Elsevier Academic Press

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