I believe that part of what perpetuates the use of "brain-based learning" and other fads similar in nature is a two-fold problem. First, there is anecdotal "spread". In other words, it sounds good and maybe a teacher or two got lucky in using something like it so they tell their story to others who need something to help their students. The teacher seeking assistance says "well, it sounds good and it worked for Mrs. Smith and Mr. Jones, so it must be good to use." The second part of the problem is connected to the first part. Our teacher candidates see faculty as removed from the classroom and find it difficult to connect what we teach in class to what they see in the field. They see their cooperating teachers doing what was mentioned in the first part of the problem, they see "brain-based education" (such as it is) in action and they don't see teachers using what we are teaching in the college classroom. What are they going to do? They are going to mimic what their cooperating teacher is doing and now we're back to the first part of the problem once again. The key is to interrupt the cycle in some way and show both in-service and pre-service teachers a more evidence-driven way of teaching.

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Great points, Jane. Thanks for posting them

I'm reminded of another factor, too. I'll call it "spin," and it is about the interpretations that people make of events. In this case, the events are actions teachers take in their classrooms. An instructional action (i.e., part of a lesson, the way a teacher phrases something, or a sequence of activities) can be interpreted as an exemplar of many differernt educational approaches, theories, or schools of thought. If a teacher looks around the classroom and says, "Nice work with putting away your thiings. The next thing we're going to do is line up for recess. I'm looking at each table to see which group I'll ask to line up first. I'm looking to see which table has all its students sitting flat on their bottoms with hands folded calmly on the table top...I see Table 4 is almost ready...and Table 2 is doing a good job.... When I name your table, everyone at the table should stand up, push in your chair, and walk calmly to the line at the door. As you walk to the line, please count the number of steps that you take on your way; I'll be asking questions about your counts...Table 3, you may line up....Nice walking, 3s. Table 4, please line up...."

One educational expert may see that teacher action and say, "That's so against the principle of student empowerment. She's controlling them rigidly and they will never develop self-control."

Another educational expert, seeing the same teacher action, might say, "There's an example of pre-correction. She's using PBIS principles."

Yet another might say, "See, she's using Integrated Kinesthetic Learning! She told them to count their steps as they walked!"

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