Seven Myths About Education Book Review

Author: Daisy Christodoulou
Book Link

As someone committed to professional growth and constantly on the lookout for material that will get me there, I was excited to pickup this book. From the onset, I made the assumption I would largely be agreeing with Christodoulou’s arguments and it was partially true.

The backbone of the entire book is Myth 1: Facts Prevent Understanding.

Twenty years ago (further if you count the outlier teachers who were early adopters), the push for education in Canada was to move from knowledge based to skills based education.

Knowledge based education was (and still is) looked upon with serious disdain.

Of course the common argument about moving away from knowledge based education is the average student will never need to memorize some random fact they’ll never use again. This is true.

However, what Christodoulou brilliantly points towards is knowing one random fact on its own isn’t useful, but knowing many is crucial to making connections.

Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on a Wittenberg Church door in 1517. The town had approximately 2000 people in it at the time.

Based on that bit of information, it’s difficult to answer why the Reformation even happened. However, when you add the following two facts:

Gutenberg invents the printing press in 1440.
Explosion in literacy because of easy and cheap access to printed materials.

Connections can be made. The people of the town reprinted those theses and distributed them far and wide across the continent. In essence, Martin Luther created a viral post that spurred the masses.

After the first myth, I was committed to reading the rest. Unfortunately, each subsequent myth pointed towards many common education reform ideals (teacher led instruction is bad, project based learning is best, etc.) but still fell back on the first myth. There wasn’t enough in each to follow the depth of argument I was already primed to hear.

This may have been a case of Christodoulou trying to get her thoughts packaged together, but it may have been more beneficial to focus on her primary point and use those other myths as extensions.

In her mission to get me thinking, however, she succeeded.