Clinical anecdote suggests that rates of eating disorders (ED) vary between schools. Given their high prevalence and mortality, understanding risk factors is important. We hypothesised that rates of ED would vary between schools, and that school proportion of female students and proportion of parents with post-high school education would be associated with ED, after accounting for individual characteristics.
The existence of ‘Learning Styles’ is a common ‘neuromyth’, and their use in all forms of education has been thoroughly and repeatedly discredited in the research literature. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that their use remains widespread. This perspective article is an attempt to understand if and why the myth of Learning Styles persists. I have done this by analyzing the current research literature to capture the picture that an educator would encounter were they to search for “Learning Styles” with the intent of determining whether the research evidence supported their use. The overwhelming majority (89%) of recent research papers, listed in the ERIC and PubMed research databases, implicitly or directly endorse the use of Learning Styles in Higher Education. These papers are dominated by the VAK and Kolb Learning Styles inventories. These presence of these papers in the pedagogical literature demonstrates that an educator, attempting to take an evidence-based approach to education, would be presented with a strong yet misleading message that the use of Learning Styles is endorsed by the current research literature. This has potentially negative consequences for students and for the field of education research.
As a component of the practice-based core competency of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, all residents must receive training to be able to evaluate and improve their patient care practices. To further enhance our overall resident quality improvement (QI) educational experience, and to ensure resident involvement in the many aspects of a quality assurance program, we have established a resident educational leadership role and have appointed a resident as resident QI director.
We have previously shown that individual differences in educational achievement are highly heritable in the early and middle school years in the UK. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether similarly high heritability is found at the end of compulsory education (age 16) for the UK-wide examination, called the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). In a national twin sample of 11,117 16-year-olds, heritability was substantial for overall GCSE performance for compulsory core subjects (58%) as well as for each of them individually: English (52%), mathematics (55%) and science (58%). In contrast, the overall effects of shared environment, which includes all family and school influences shared by members of twin pairs growing up in the same family and attending the same school, accounts for about 36% of the variance of mean GCSE scores. The significance of these findings is that individual differences in educational achievement at the end of compulsory education are not primarily an index of the quality of teachers or schools: much more of the variance of GCSE scores can be attributed to genetics than to school or family environment. We suggest a model of education that recognizes the important role of genetics. Rather than a passive model of schooling as instruction (instruere, ‘to build in’), we propose an active model of education (educare, ‘to bring out’) in which children create their own educational experiences in part on the basis of their genetic propensities, which supports the trend towards personalized learning.
What is the best way to teach evolution? As microevolution may be configured as a branch of genetics, it being a short conceptual leap from understanding the concepts of mutation and alleles (i.e., genetics) to allele frequency change (i.e., evolution), we hypothesised that learning genetics prior to evolution might improve student understanding of evolution. In the UK, genetics and evolution are typically taught to 14- to 16-y-old secondary school students as separate topics with few links, in no particular order and sometimes with a large time span between. Here, then, we report the results of a large trial into teaching order of evolution and genetics. We modified extant questionnaires to ascertain students' understanding of evolution and genetics along with acceptance of evolution. Students were assessed prior to teaching, immediately post teaching and again after several months. Teachers were not instructed what to teach, just to teach in a given order. Regardless of order, teaching increased understanding and acceptance, with robust signs of longer-term retention. Importantly, teaching genetics before teaching evolution has a significant (p < 0.001) impact on improving evolution understanding by 7% in questionnaire scores beyond the increase seen for those taught in the inverse order. For lower ability students, an improvement in evolution understanding was seen only if genetics was taught first. Teaching genetics first additionally had positive effects on genetics understanding, by increasing knowledge. These results suggest a simple, minimally disruptive, zero-cost intervention to improve evolution understanding: teach genetics first. This same alteration does not, however, result in a significantly increased acceptance of evolution, which reflects a weak correlation between knowledge and acceptance of evolution. Qualitative focus group data highlights the role of authority figures in determination of acceptance.
For several decades, myths about the brain - neuromyths - have persisted in schools and colleges, often being used to justify ineffective approaches to teaching. Many of these myths are biased distortions of scientific fact. Cultural conditions, such as differences in terminology and language, have contributed to a ‘gap’ between neuroscience and education that has shielded these distortions from scrutiny. In recent years, scientific communications across this gap have increased, although the messages are often distorted by the same conditions and biases as those responsible for neuromyths. In the future, the establishment of a new field of inquiry that is dedicated to bridging neuroscience and education may help to inform and to improve these communications.
Poor menstrual knowledge and access to sanitary products have been proposed as barriers to menstrual health and school attendance. In response, interventions targeting these needs have seen increasing implementation in public and private sectors. However, there has been limited assessment of their effectiveness.
BioEYES, a nonprofit outreach program using zebrafish to excite and educate K-12 students about science and how to think and act like scientists, has been integrated into hundreds of under-resourced schools since 2002. During the week-long experiments, students raise zebrafish embryos to learn principles of development and genetics. We have analyzed 19,463 participating students' pre- and post-tests within the program to examine their learning growth and attitude changes towards science. We found that at all grade levels, BioEYES effectively increased students' content knowledge and produced favorable shifts in students' attitudes about science. These outcomes were especially pronounced in younger students. Having served over 100,000 students, we find that our method for providing student-centered experiences and developing long-term partnerships with teachers is essential for the growth and sustainability of outreach and school collaborations.
Helminth (worm) infections cause morbidity among poor communities worldwide. An influential study conducted in Kenya in 1998-99 reported that a school-based drug-and-educational intervention had benefits regarding worm infections and school attendance. Effects were seen among children treated with deworming drugs, untreated children in intervention schools and children in nearby non-intervention schools. Combining these effects, the intervention was reported to increase school attendance by 7.5% in treated children. Effects on other outcomes (worm infections, anaemia, nutritional status and examination performance) were also investigated.
More men are studying and working in science fields than women. This could be an effect of the prevalence of gender stereotypes (e.g., science is for men, not for women). Aside from the media and people’s social lives, such stereotypes can also occur in education. Ways in which stereotypes are visible in education include the use of gender-biased visuals, language, teaching methods, and teachers' attitudes. The goal of this study was to determine whether science education resources for primary school contained gender-biased visuals. Specifically, the total number of men and women depicted, and the profession and activity of each person in the visuals were noted. The analysis showed that there were more men than women depicted with a science profession and that more women than men were depicted as teachers. This study shows that there is a stereotypical representation of men and women in online science education resources, highlighting the changes needed to create a balanced representation of men and women. Even if the stereotypical representation of men and women in science is a true reflection of the gender distribution in science, we should aim for a more balanced representation. Such a balance is an essential first step towards showing children that both men and women can do science, which will contribute to more gender-balanced science and technology fields.