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Misleading Educational Malpractice

Educational Trends and Fads

Misleading Educational Malpractice

A number of years ago I wrote a few articles detailing crazy educational fads and trends. Check out “Crazy Reading Fads” for a laugh and “Top Twelve Spelling Trends and Fads” for a shake-your-head-and-sigh read.

However, a number of crazy educational fads and trends have had significant staying power over the years. I’ve gathered a selection of articles I’ve written regarding these movements, programs, philosophies, mindsets, and educational practices that I find to lack some degree of educational merit. I find some of their claims to be misleading or outright wrong. I find many of their educational applications to be misdirected at best or malpractice at worst.

As an educational publisher I’ve written these articles to highlight problems regarding these fads and trends, criticize misapplication of educational research, and (of course) promote my own curricular products. The latter disclaimer hasn’t colored my viewpoints, but states the obvious: I’m writing these articles, in large part, to publicize my products. By now, educators have come to terms with the commercialization of the Internet. I trust educators to be significantly savvy about this strange bedfellows of facts, opinions, and marketing. Some of my article content does lend itself to a call to action (to consider purchasing my resources) , but most does not. My author/product promotions reside at the end of articles, per traditional usage. I usually offer some sort of educational freebie at the end of my articles to entice readers to the article and offer examples of my products.

My take is that you won’t agree with all my positions in these articles; however, reading a contrary viewpoint always makes me think more than reading something that is in lock-step with my own opinions. You might feel the same way. I invite your comments.

“Why Daily Oral Language (D.O.L.) Doesn’t Work”

D.O.L. is for teachers who want to cover grammar, not really teach it. The Common Core grammar, usage, and mechanics are rigorous and require an investment of class time to help students master these Standards.

“Dyslexia is Not Real”

As a reading specialist, I can assure teachers, parents, and students that anyone without significant cognitive impairment can learn to read. Dyslexia is not a neurological disorder. Read how the International Literacy Association supports my viewpoint.

“Don’t Teach Reading Comprehension”

There is no program to teach reading comprehension. Teach the content and skills of reading, provide plenty of practice, and comprehension will improve.

“Don’t Teach to Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences”

It’s time to give up the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles theory, as well as Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory. Although intuitively, these theories seem to have some merit, there is no research-base confirming these ideas and certainly no different instructional procedures are warranted.

“Should We Teach Reading Strategies?”

We test for main idea, inferences, etc., but should we teach and practice these reading comprehension strategies? The reading research is fascinating on this subject.

“Close Reading: Don’t Read Too Closely”

With the advent of the Common Core State Standards, the authors promotion of close reading has convinced teachers that it is newest and greatest reading strategy. Close reading is neither new, nor does it warrant excessive practice: Some? Yes; Everyday? No.

“The 18 Reasons Not to Use Accelerated Reader”

Accelerated Reader is used everywhere and has many die-hard advocates. However, before jumping on the bandwagon, check out this article and the dozens of comments. Plenty of FREE alternatives are available to create schoolwide and classroom independent reading programs with better results and less drama.


Mark Pennington, M.A. Reading Specialist, is the author of numerous assessment-based ELA and reading intervention programs. Check out Pennington Publishing for FREE ELA and reading assessments, articles, and classroom-tested teacher resources.

Grammar/Mechanics, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Writing

  1. June 15th, 2018 at 07:07 | #1

    Very interesting read. I could go on and on about each of these, but referring to the multiple intelligences one, I don’t think we need to “give up” per se, the different teaching styles. Teachers have always taught different ways (at least elementary) but this theory puts a name to it. The point is that individuals show their strengths (“intelligences”) in different ways but society defines “intelligence” in a more narrow way. I agree that no different instructional practices are needed. Teachers do them all already. The theory just categorized them and made it a “thing”. Having a Harvard professor come up with it added to the fuel of it to. By societal standards, Harvard is the epitome of “intelligence” so any studies or research coming from there must be accurate, right? (sarcasm) Some kids/adults will learn regardless. Motivation, self-confidence, and hard-work (with a bit of networking/connections thrown in) go a lot further now a days then having any real type of “intelligence”. Thanks for an interesting read. Going to share it on my twitter and facebook.

  2. June 19th, 2018 at 06:32 | #2

    “Some kids will learn regardless.” I find that to be so true. In spite of poor instruction, lack of parental support, negative peer influences. Kids are resilient creatures.

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