Three parenting insights from Adam Grant's new book.
I'm troubled by several things here. First, "learning styles" is a vague term as it is being used here and in the article you referenced. As the parent of a twice exceptional child, one who has both a high IQ and a learning disability, I assure you that the details of how a child is taught can be critical. A dyslexic child needs a specific kind of teaching and they don't all need the same curriculum. When you do a good educational assessment you learn the fine points of each individuals auditory processing, visual processing, working memory, short term memory, phonetic capacity and a whole slew of other critical learning capacities. Then you can pick a curriculum for that specific dyslexic child that has evidence based success. The article's statement that there is no evidence measuring outcomes is simply false. You just need to delve into educational psychology to find those studies. And there are many of them. Further, the article suggests teachers present material in multiple ways so that kids can access them. That's teaching to learning styles. You present the information visually, auditory, and perhaps tactilely. What we need is for our teachers to have a deeper understanding of how different brains learn.
Yes, kids need to overcome challenges. That's easy. Be supportive and let them solve their own problems. Let them vent and get out of their way. Let them own their solutions. But we don't need to tie this to some kind of idea that a kid who has dyslexia or dysgraphia or dyscalculia should just tough it out and figure out how to learn anyway. Those kids and many others with lesser challenges lose the joy of learning and bail out. If you have a particular way of learning it is hard to live in the world. That is challenge enough.
Deliberate play is just more pressure on kids to accomplish. Learning is more fun when we play. Yes. The best play for kids does not involve adults. Just let them play and don't worry about whether they are accomplishing anything. They are growing as a child was meant to grow and that 's all they need to do.
Finland changed their whole school system over decades. First they started a nation wide campaign to increase teacher education. Regular course work was required of all teachers to bring up their skill levels and knowledge. Then they raised the standards for getting into and completing teacher education schools. Looping kids through a great teacher gives the adult time to "learn how each child learns." But it only works with good teachers. My 6th grade twins got into a small rural public school with 3 fantastic middle school teachers. From 6th-8th grade they would see the same team. And that team looked at middle school as 3 years to work with each kid. They'd worked together for years and really understood this age and developmental stage. At the end of 6th grade they all left. (Because they'd been harassed by conservative parents who staged mask protests etc.) The 3 new teachers that came in were terrible. My kids went from loving school to hating it. Looping thought 2 more years of that would not have been good. We had to stay for 7th but now in 8th they are in a new school and much happier. So looping teachers only works if you've raised the bar of teacher education.
Finland's educational policy states that learning should be "joyful." That standardize testing you're talking about is only done at the end of high school. They are not focused on "success" as we would measure it in American society. I don't believe we should be pushing or hoping for our children to "Achieve Greater Things." The pressure cooker is killing them. Better we just let them grow into themselves, let them contribute to the family and the world, find joy where they can, and grow up.