The Pied Piper

"VAK IS DEAD! VAK IS DEAD!" roars Twitter

But twitter isn't content with putting to bed one of the great educational myths of recent times. Instead there is now a trial of establishment and process taking place. Twitter is happy to pour misery and scorn on any teacher or school that supports the use of VAK. Don't believe me? I challenge you to post a tweet saying that you use or support VAK as a teaching choice.

This vilifying of VAK is dangerous. I will explain why later in this blog. But first I wonder if this thought has crossed your minds:

Have all the people who are adding fuel to the VAK fire doing so having reviewed the research literature? Or are they blindly following the popular "VAK is dead" movement?

If they are following without evaluating they're probably the same people who followed VAK blindly when it was introduced into schools in the 1990s. But now there is a chance for "closure" for those people who feel that they were duped by their superiors. Why else would these people get behind a campaign to "kill-off" VAK?

And what of the future? Will every initiative introduced into schools be inspected to see if there is a hint of VAK in it? If there is then how will the school proceed?

Surely the best way to ensure that we don't have another VAK-initiative is by making sure that all teachers evaluate the research literature before declaring that some method is or isn't effective. If the research hasn't been conducted yet then we need to have ways of showing the impact it has in our own classrooms. This is possible through the use of small-scale research projects. Every teacher has the right to know what impact they are having on their pupils. Every teacher has the right to know how effective their preferred method of teaching is. And every teacher must surely act on this knowledge to ensure that their practice is as effective as it could possibly be.

I don't disagree with the current "Emperor's New Clothes" approach to VAK. The thing is, saying there is no evidence for the impact of learning styles isn't new. This article from the Telegraph is from 2007. It's been said by John Hattie (watch this video from 4m30s to 5m30s or spoil yourself by watching the full 30 minutes!) Then ask yourself: Why are people repeating that VAK is dead many, many years after is was declared to be deceased? And why are we now allowing the persecution of professionals who feel that matching learning styles "work for them". Surely it is better to let these professionals evaluate their own impact and then decide what to do. It's called professional judgement and it requires professional conduct from all parties to allow this to happen.

But heed my warning:

First they came for the VAK-ers, and I did not speak out. Who will be next?