Education is important for all of us as it leads us to live a more fruitful and happier life. But there are so many myths surrounding education and learning that they emerge as major obstacles to effective learning and making the most out of our education. Here, we throw light on a few leading myths about education and learning that are most relevant to a majority of teachers, parents, and administrators. We also try to debunk them and try to find the actual truth behind them.
Myth #1. Teachers Have the Maximum Influence on a Child’s Education
We all know the importance of teachers and the role they play in any child’s education. They play a pivotal role in the achievement of any student. But they are not the all-important factor. According to research, only thirty percent of a student’s academic success can be attributed to teachers. The maximum influencing factor is socioeconomic status. Other important impacting factors are the neighborhood, the home environment especially its psychological quality and lastly the physical health and fitness. It establishes the fact that the outside factors and not the teachers have more power to improve any student’s learning and achievement.
Myth #2. An Education equates to a guaranteed job
We all desire a well-paying job to lead a good life. Most of us get educated with the aim of procuring a good job. But education is not the guarantee of a job. It gives you the basic preparation, helps you pass several screen tests of the employer and might even land you your dream job. Education plays a crucial role in making you eligible for a job but it is not the exclusive factor. There are plenty of other factors like your personality, attitude, experience, your mentor, connections and even your online presence, etc. Hence, it is evident that education does not guarantee that you can do the job well and thus no education can guarantee you any job.
Myth #3. Teachers and instructors should have several qualifications below their belt
Most often, teachers are judged by their qualifications, degrees, certificates, etc. But being highly qualified is one thing and being a terrific teacher is another. Teaching is a skill set that does not come with a qualification. A highly qualifies person can be a poor instructor while a low qualified person can turn out to be an excellent teacher. That is why many schools do not give overdue stress on qualifications and test out the teaching ability of a person for hiring them as teachers.
Myth #4. Education will give you the required skills and knowledge to make you eligible to compete in the global economy and be productive for the society and humankind
The entire concept is misguided and like a muddy water. Education is never gained with the aim of becoming a productive member of society. It should always be approached with the idea of gaining appropriate knowledge and skills so that your inherent talent is enhanced and you can easily get a job that you enjoy and lead a lifestyle that you dream of.
Myth #5. Online education is neither participatory nor interactive
It is true that many online courses are individualistic in nature. Many courses involve mere reading of content and watching videos. In such courses, you are not given any opportunity to interact with other students or get avenues to interact in several challenging ways with the course material. But a virtual course is not defined by it. It is not mandatory for all virtual courses to toe this line.
There are plenty of online courses that are interactive and participatory in nature. You can not only interact with the instructor and fellow students but can also interact in innumerable creative ways with the course material.
Myth #6. Homework boosts achievement
It is a very popular belief but lacks any concrete evidence. On the contrary, students in Finland have demonstrated a higher degree of achievement with a shorter duration of school and little to no homework. In reality, the deciding factor for any student’s achievement is what they experience in the school hours. For example, project-based learning emphasizes more on what is done during the day. Students do have the option to do more after school hours but are completely their choice. Generally, assigning homework might fulfill several other aims but it should not be given with the belief that it will increase student achievement.
Myth #7. Compared to virtual classrooms, traditional brick and mortar classrooms facilitate better learning
No learning environment and delivery mechanism are perfect. Each has its own pros and cons. Thus, once cannot be deemed superior to the other. What proves better is decided by the students’ aptitude and preference. Some students learn better in a traditional classroom while others learn better through the virtual classroom and being alone in the comforts of his home. Thus, this entire debate is baseless. The focus should be on acknowledging the fact that the one-size-fits-all approach to education is becoming obsolete and modern students have the flexibility to choose the best route to getting educated.
Myth #8. You must always attend a college if you get the opportunity
It is again a false myth. In modern times, there are several alternatives to college. While there is nothing wrong with joining a college after school; there are also no issues of you forego a traditional college degree and join a job straight after school. A college degree only adds to your academic qualifications and helps you get more appropriate jobs. None can deny the benefits of attending a college but it need not be a good fit for all. Practical knowledge and experience too count and can pave the way to success.
Myth #9. Tests or quizzes are the best way to judge any student’s learning
Tests and quizzes constitute the grading system of many schools, colleges, and institutions. It is the chosen indicator to gauge any student’s learning. But it is not the concrete proof of any student mastering a subject. It is just standardized testing that does not give a clear-cut indication of any student intellectually nailing the subject. For instance, a student might gain exceptionally high marks in exams by rote learning but he/she might not have the required understanding or knowledge of the material. Thus, they are definitely not the best way to judge any student’s learning.
The nine myths we have discussed highlight the way of thinking that most of us are familiar with but do not realize the extent to which they kill the joy of learning, both for the teachers and the students. Understanding them and eliminating them from our mindset will lead to a richer educational experience and help all of us lead a more fulfilling and contented life.