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Educational Neuromyths: Prevalence among Pre-Service Special Education Teachers.

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Title:Educational Neuromyths: Prevalence among Pre-Service Special Education Teachers.
Authors:Ruhaak, Amy E.
Contributors:Education (department)
Date Issued:Aug 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Educational neuromyths are commonly accepted, erroneous beliefs that contribute to pseudoscientific practice within education (e.g., learning styles, right brain vs. left brain learners, perceptual motor training). The implementation of instructional practices founded upon neuromyths and lacking in empirical evidence diminishes the quality of classroom instruction for k-12 students. Extant research studies indicate strong beliefs in educational neuromyths among teachers in other countries. The purpose of this study was to examine the perspectives of special education pre-service teachers in the United States related to educational neuromyths and corresponding instructional practices. This mixed-methods sequential explanatory study was guided by the following main research questions: (a) What are pre-service teachers’ perceptions of educational neuromyths and general knowledge of the brain, learning, and behavior?; (b) What is the relation between perceptions of neuromyths and likelihood to implement corresponding instructional practices?; and (c) What is the relation between demographic factors and beliefs in educational neuromyths and general knowledge of the brain, learning, and behavior? To address these research questions, I administered an adapted survey instrument and conducted online follow-up interviews. Participants’ (n=131) responses to the survey instrument indicate misperceptions of neuromyths and moderate gaps in general knowledge of the brain, learning, and behavior. Correlation analyses and Kruskal Wallis tests suggest that participants who are aware of neuromyths are slightly more likely to implement effective instructional practices. A moderate, positive correlation was demonstrated between number of education courses and correct neuromyth responses. Education
courses, not science courses, appear to better prepare students to identify neuromyths. Additionally, data demonstrate moderate positive correlation between perceived level of preparedness and incorrect responses to neuromyths statements. Qualitative findings suggest interview participants (n=6) are confused by the terminology surrounding educational neuromyths and other instructional approaches (e.g., UDL, differentiation). Recommendations for ameliorating deleterious effects of neuromyths in k-12 classrooms include augmenting current teacher education curricula, increasing pre-service teachers’ scientific literacy, and developing collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships with neuroscience researchers.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Education

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