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Seven Myths about Education

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  472 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In this controversial new book, Daisy Christodoulou offers a thought-provoking critique of educational orthodoxy. Drawing on her recent experience of teaching in challenging schools, she shows through a wide range of examples and case studies just how much classroom practice contradicts basic scientific principles. She examines seven widely-held beliefs which are holding b ...more
Paperback, 133 pages
Published March 5th 2014 by Routledge (first published June 16th 2013)
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Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is an important book for anyone teaching in today's standard classrooms!

There is a widespread idea that one cannot criticise the "progressive" (old) school of thought (from Rousseau over Dewey to Freire etc.) without being labelled "reactionary" and being accused of wanting to "indoctrinate" children with random "facts" that will be obsolete before they leave school.

What if you believe that the most important task for our schools globally is to educate independent, democratic citizens who
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it
My initial reaction, upon seeing this book, is that I thought I would largely agree with it. The myths listed are certainly ones that I have come across many times in education and based on my own reading and experience, do not agree with. In the end, I was surprised to find myself disagreeing with parts of the book and I believe the problem is that Christodoulou oversimplifies some of the arguments and in some cases, does not seem to provide adequate evidence for all the myths.

The book got off
Scott Kennedy
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, education
In this short book, Daisy Christodoulou tackles 7 myths about education. Each chapter contains a myth. She begins by showing the theoretical evidence for the myth, including important educational figures who have espoused the myth. Next she moves on to how this is seen in educational practice in Britain. She largely uses OFSTED reports in this section. Finally she shows why it is a myth.

Now to those outside of education, some of these myths will be astounding. For instance myth 1: Facts prevent
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In just 167 pages, Ms. Christodoulou deconstructs seven of the myths of modern education, all of which were taught as gospel truth in my education classes. These myths are the following:

1 – Facts prevent understanding
2 – Teacher-led instruction is passive
3 – The 21st century fundamentally changes everything
4 – You can always just look it up
5 – We should teach transferable skills
6 – Projects and activities are the best way to learn
7 – Teaching knowledge is indoctrination

It would take me quite a w
Isabel Khine
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not really sure of how to review Seven Myths about Education because my frame of reference for books on pedagogy / education is fairly limited. I did find it to be an insightful and clearly written introduction into the traps that newly qualified teachers can get swept up in. Christodoulou makes a brilliant case for the necessity of teaching facts, and for direct instruction as being at the heart of what bridges gaps in achievement within the classroom. I'm sure I'll revisit specific points ...more
Vesa Linja-Aho
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great and well-backed criticism on ”modern ways of teaching”

This fluent and well-cited criticism challenges the ”modern ideas” to refurbish schooling. Student-centered projects are not always as effective ways of learning as the traditional teacher-led instruction is.
Aidan McDonagh
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent summary of seven common and pervasive myths that still exist in the education system today.

Food for thought as the new academic year gets underway.
Seán Mchugh
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The nature of my work as a Digital Literacy coach made me naturally curious to see what her issues were with Myths 3 & 4.

I read this book in many ways to try and keep an open mind; instinctively I’m very suspicious of her arguments, particularly because she’s only actually worked for three years in the classroom before leaving and becoming a consultant who feels she can effectively dismiss most of the educational progress of the past few decades in favour of a reductionist traditionalist relian
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
As someone committed to professional growth and constantly on the lookout for material that will get me there, I was excited to pickup this book. From the onset, I made the assumption I would largely be agreeing with Christodoulou’s arguments and it was partially true.

The backbone of the entire book is Myth 1: Facts Prevent Understanding.

Twenty years ago (further if you count the outlier teachers who were early adopters), the push for education in Canada was to move from knowledge based to skill
Fernando Pestana da Costa
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The field of education is a minefield of apparently reasonable or even great principles and ideas that turn out to perform rather poorly, if at all, in practice. Unfortunately, and in line with the kind of pseudoscience practiced by many (although by no means all) education "specialists", those failures do not preclude those principles and ideas (or myths...) to be redressed and presented again as new (like is happening at present, in this second decade of the 21st Century, with the so called "2 ...more
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
So.. where to begin? Essentially the book is right, there is no form without content and likewise, no thinking without thinking something. The pendulum is now simply too much to one side and is likely to swing back. On the other hand, the criticized concepts, policies etc. were selected very carefully to make it quite easy to attack and disprove them. Many people like Sir Ken Robinson never said we do not need knowing facts. I do not like when knowledge is presented as the ultimate goal, when it ...more
Ahmad A M
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
It is kind of assuring to find that my own observations at times do fall quite in line with the author's. However, by the end I feel that she comes across a bit as either exaggerating or overreacting. I was a bit disappointed that the 7 myths looked provocative but weren't really distinct and did overlap quite significantly with each other. I think she could have just grouped them into addressing 2 main issues: 1. the devaluing of learned (deep and expansive) knowledge, and 2. the pursuit of ski ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm hoping to start my teacher training this September (if not, then next) and this book was truly eye-opening! I've done no formal study on education, my degree majored in literature, so this was my first peep into some of the theory behind it. I never even realised the misconceptions I had about education until I read this book! It has certainly saved me from much of the disillusion I'm sure I would have faced at some point during my teaching journey and it also confirmed to me that a lot of t ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an excellent treatise on the values of a knowledge-rich curriculum. It is well-written, well-informed, concise and progressive. Recommended to all teachers, as well as anyone else interested in modern education. I think it's best read in tandem with Willingham's "Why Don't Students Like School?", whom Christodoulou cites frequently. As she concludes: "Unless we place the powerful and liberating force of knowledge at the heart of our education system, it will continue to fail o ...more
Marek Lisý
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short and clear writing. The main message is that while current leaning towards teaching competencies and skills tends to disregard facts and knowledge as less important. The fact is, the knowledge is the scaffolding of all skills and competencies, and also the concept of standalone skills or competencies is wrong. They are always deeply rooted in the domain knowledge. It maybe goes a little bit over the top and I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Maybe little bit closer to this side ...more
Matt Butler
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
I didn’t read all the myths as they seemed quite repetitive. Although parts were interesting and I agree with her points, I found Christodoulou misrepresented her opponents. Frequently she argued against positions that few people would hold. Do many people really believe that facts are useful in learning how to learn? It seemed repetitive as she was arguing for obvious points. I found myself thinking about teaching though, in particular how I would teach.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked it and felt like a good start to reading more about education, but at times I felt like the author's arguments did rely quite a lot on anecdotal evidence (despite her frequently saying it's not). I didn't come out of it fully convinced by all her arguments, but lots to think about and made me want to read more! ...more
Ryan Campbell
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting approach, based around looking at OFSTED reports and using these to unpick the evidence or lack of it behind the teaching techniques and styles put forward by OFSTED. While British in tone it is probably of use for everyone in education.
Corey James Soper
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
"Knowledge does not indoctrinate, it liberates."

Profound, precocious, ferocious - a rigorously researched and powerfully argued critique of much educational orthodoxy. A frustrating, challenging book that makes me want to throw all my schemes of work in the bin.

A must read for every teacher.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-in-2017
Really enjoyed this- thought provoking!
Alan Chadwick
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pedagogy
Excellent book describing how knowledge transmission has been neglected in schools.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A well rehearsed argument against progressive educational ideas mixed with scientific evidence about learning and teaching methods from which she draws dubious conclusions.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very useful for my teaching practice. Every teacher should read this and use it in their teaching!
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely blooming spot on and very well written. Essential reading. More, please.
Mar 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Carries its point, as far as I can tell! Largely a repetition of Hirsch, but this stuff needs to be repeated.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: life-philosophy
Coming from a background in physics instruction at the college level I was still able to take away a few salient points made about misconceptions on the nature of teaching and learning. The author is writing from the perspective of a grade-school teacher in the UK and often gets bogged down wrestling with the swamp-creature that is government mandated teaching standards, but she also tackles some features of modern teaching which I have unconsciously bought into and others that I can certainly r ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Whilst some institutional and structural reform may be valuable, what needs to change most of all is our reliance on defunct ideas. At stake is the education of all our pupils, and particularly the education of our least advantaged pupils. Unless we place the powerful and liberating force of knowledge at the heart of our education system, it will continue to fail our pupils and to deepen inequality.”

I want to preface this by saying I whole heartedly believed in many of these myths before I read
Chris Parkinson-Best
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Some good bits and some not-so-good over generalisations. I guess you can’t agree with everything someone says, right?
James Carter
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Seven Myths About Education doesn't add anything new and is mostly a rehash of E.D. Hirsch, Jr.'s ideas. That's why you are better off reading his books including The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them, The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, and The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.

I am a fan of his work, and what he says makes total sense. Hence, I am a
Taff Jones
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I felt that this really vindicated so much of what has frustrated me in th eclassroom this past 25 years. idea...we are the ones in the classroom everyday; we understand what benefits children best...but are disallowed from doing it. Solution: change the system AGAIN and spend the next twenty years slagging off teachers some more for getting it wrong for the PAST 20! HA!
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