Last weekend I gave a Dutch and English version of my ‘This is the new myth’ talk. This talk did not come about in some vain attempt to take over the mythical status of some other excellent ‘mythbusters’, like Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul Kirschner and Casper Hulshof in their excellent book, but more with frustration how some facts opposed to certain myths, became simplified beyond recognition, often distorting the original message. In other words, a danger that the debunking of myths became new myths on their own. In this talk I go into how myths might come about, and give some examples, including one on iron in spinach. I then give some examples where I think facts are misrepresented on and in the (social) media. I have mainly chosen themes that are often highlighted by those who endeavour for a more evidence-informed approach to teaching, in that process purport to combat myths, but then -in my view- give an overly simplistic representation of some research findings. In the talk I cover sources that for example purportedly show ‘peer disruption costs students money’, ‘we believe research quicker if there is a brain picture’, ‘ less load is best and so there is no place for problem-based learning and inquiry in education’ and ‘student-centred policies cause inequality’. Maybe there are other robust studies that show this (although I would need to be convinced) but the sources I have observed on the web, are almost always misrepresented, in my opinion. I realise that these descriptions *also* simplify these judgements, but the aim is not to focus on the errors per se, but that we need to be vigilant and aware of the mechanisms behind myth creation.
The slides for the talk are here:
A video of the talk is here:
I recently also saw an article (only in Dutch, I think) that nicely complements my talk and I might integrate some of the sources in a future version.