Book Review: Seven Myths about Education

Christodoulou, D. (2014). Seven Myths about Education. Abingdon: Routledge

With its catchy title, “Seven Myths about Education”, this book lays waste to outdated ideas and argues against some of the conventional wisdom propounded in some schools, colleges and universities.

Through thoughtful argument and evidence-based research, author Daisy Christodoulou demonstrates how these myths have crept into the education world’s collective subconscious, poisoning practice and confusing correlation with causation.

These myths are:

  • Facts prevent understanding;
  • Teacher-led instruction is passive;
  • The twenty-first century fundamentally changes everything;
  • You can always look it up;
  • We should teach transferable skills;
  • Projects and activities are the best way to learn;
  • Teaching knowledge is indoctrination.

The power of this book lies in Daisy Christodoulou’s careful deconstruction of outdated ideas and evidence-light assertions. She uses concrete examples from the classroom and links these to theories which are rooted in modern cognitive science. What makes it a very worthwhile read for busy teachers is the clarity of argument and urgency of the message. As teachers, we are in grave danger of letting students down badly, if we persist in believing these myths.

This book should resonate with teacher educators as well as teachers. Ken Zeichner famously criticised a lack of knowledge about the literature in teacher education in 2005, calling it a ‘seat of the pants’ approach to running teacher education programmes. Zeichner recommended that new teacher educators involve themselves in self-study and critique of their practice, as well as engaging in greater depth with the conceptual and empirical literature in teacher education.

Although the book is relatively slim and highly readable, I agree with the comment by Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at UCL’s Institute of Education who said: “This may well be the most important book of the decade on teaching”.

Dr. Rebecca Eliahoo
Freelance / EAPRIL Board Member

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