Research Myth 12: We Don’t Need To Teach Facts

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Is it a myth that teachers do not need to teach knowledge anymore?

Knowledge is dead, long live Google.

Myth?

We can all rely on knowledge being ‘out there’ because all we have to do is ‘Google it’. We therefore don’t need to teach knowledge, instead teach children how to learn and other 21st century future-proof skills. But how true is this idea? Is teaching knowledge obsolete or is this a myth?

The idea that we don’t need to teach and acquire knowledge any more is complete nonsense because as Daisy Christodoulou (2014) says:

… if we fail to teach knowledge, we fail to learn” and “factual knowledge is closely integrated with creativity, problem-solving and analysis. It allows these skills to happen.

The idea that students can jump on the internet and ‘self-educate’ through their own research is dangerous and naïve. 

Generation Z might be great at copying and pasting, but this is proof that they are not the best managers of their own learning (Kirschner and van Merrienboer, 2015) as it takes knowledge to gain knowledge.

Prior knowledge largely determines how we search, find, select, and process (i.e., evaluate) information found on the web and the Googlification of education strips students of core knowledge.

Google It

Miller and Bartlett (2012) argue that learners are not intelligent Internet users because they skitter and bounce between which “militates against critical, deep, single-source reading”. They often trust the first thing they see, making them prone to “the pitfalls of ignorance, falsehoods, cons and scams”.

According to Parents and Teachers for Excellence 2016 research note, we need a knowledge based curriculum. See also their 2017 pamphlet The Question of Knowledge.

Verdict:

What myths are you prone to in your classroom? Read the full version, 12 Educational Research Myths.

John Dabell

I trained as a primary school teacher 20 years ago, starting my career in London and then I taught in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, I trained as an Ofsted inspector and I worked as a national in-service provider, project manager, writer and editor. www.johndabell.co.uk

2 thoughts on “Research Myth 12: We Don’t Need To Teach Facts

  • 1st April 2018 at 7:57 am
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    Please provide references for claims that ‘we therefore don’t need to teach knowledge but just teach children how to learn’.

    Reply
  • 1st April 2018 at 3:34 pm
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    Refreshing reading. I have heard many school leaders and governor’s who have been seduced by the skills curriculum.

    Reply

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