5 Learning Myths That May Be Stunting Your Intellectual Growth

When I was a Prek-12 student, I had a lot of amazing teachers who were passionate about the teaching and learning process. Many of the learning strategies that they taught me I still use today. However, once I became an educator, I learned that some were myths, and did more harm than good to my intellectual growth.

In the end, my teachers were ultimately not responsible for this, as many of these myths were peddled by education researchers who couldn’t see the fault in their stars. When you know better, you do better. To help you avoid wasting valuable time using erroneous learning strategies, in this piece, I will discuss 5 learning myths that may be stunting your intellectual growth.

  1. Your intelligence and aptitude are fixed at birth. We tend to think that intelligence and aptitude are things that you are born with, but it turns out that this is false. The truth is that your IQ and aptitude can increase over time. Also, a person’s beliefs about their ability to positively impact their IQ and aptitude can affect their performance.
  2. Go with your first answer. Some of my teachers would always say, “Its best to go with your first answer.” To put their remarks in context, they were referring to the belief that when you are taking a multiple choice test, changing your first answer choice may lower your score. Maybe this is because since many of these tests are timed, spending too much time on one question could potentially prevent you from completing the entire exam, thus lowering your score. However, as it turns out, people who change their answers score higher than those who don’t. My advice, pace yourself appropriately but don’t ever be afraid to reconsider your answer.
  3. We only use 10% of our brain.  This is completely false, as there are no research studies that back this up. It’s little more than an urban legend. What is true is that our brains can be used more efficiently, which will allow us to maximize our learning potential.
  4. You are left or right brained. I was taught that people are either right brained or left brained. Right-brained people are purportedly more artistic and creative and left brained people are more analytical. However, recent studies show that this conclusion is misleading. The truth is that many of the brains functions are processed by one hemisphere, and we call this lateralization. We use our entire brain equally, and the fact that both brain hemispheres are connected is the very reason we can think analytically and artistically.
  5. Highlighting and re-reading. When I used to prepare for exams in college, I would underline and re-read important information to commit it to memory. I later found out that passively re-reading the same text multiple times will not help you comprehend or recall it more efficiently unless it is spaced out over an appropriate amount of time.

Can you think of any learning myths that need to be dispelled?

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