Blatant Dissemblance

Responding to Matthew K. Tabor...

Willingham's video is titled, "Learning Styles Don't Exist". I repeat the phrase in one of my summaries, and a Willingham defender comes back, "but he never says learning styles don't exist!"

Willingham says, "Good teaching is good teaching, and teachers don’t need to adjust their teaching to individual students’ learning styles." You suggest that listeners are taking this statement out of context. But it's the last line in the video, summing up, and follows the sentence, "What I've said about that theory (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) goes for the others too."

You complain, "Mr. Downes charges me [and others] with having closed the case on learning styles." In your other post, immediately after citing Willingham, "...teachers don’t need to adjust their teaching to individual students’ learning styles," you conclude, "Sounds good to me."

It's very annoying to see people say one thing, and almost in the same breath see it being denied as ever having been said. It's blatant dissemblance, and treats the reader as though he or she is unable to read.


  1. I may not have been clear enough: There is no evidence that learning styles exist.

    a number of people have taken issue with the last line of the video, and if I had it to do over I'd change it because it makes it sound as though I think teachers should treat all students and classes interchangeably--I don't think that. Students have differences in in motivation, personality, interests, and the like. Teachers do and should true to use what they know about students in their teaching.

    BUT that is not the claim of learning styles theories, which claim that the mechanism of *learning* varies among students as described in the video. There is no evidence for that.

  2. uh. . try to use, not true to use

  3. I wrote "Sounds good to me" because Willingham's message was compelling - in no way does that suggest "case closed." A 6-minute video that makes a sound case is a starting point, and there's no reason to pretend otherwise.

    I disagree with Dan that he would need to change the last line of the clip - it's perfectly appropriate for a short, clear introductory/summary message.

  4. I think the video is a little confusing, unintentionally. I don't doubt the narrator's points, but I can see how it's easy to misunderstand exactly what he's debunking and how that differs from the differences in students that he does believe exist. (At least, I have a hard time keeping it straight. Maybe everyone else gets it)

    Hey, at least we're having this dialogue. : )


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