We should be creating awareness of the existence of perpetuated educational psychology misconceptions and the lack of published literature on the effects of the spread of unjustified belief systems in K-12 teaching practices.

Misconceptions Influence Learning

The consequences of the proliferation of false information, a prevalent phenomenon labeled as “post-truths” in this digital age, are severe and profound, perpetuated through ineffective teaching strategies and misinterpretation of the science of learning, influencing pedagogy, learning environments, and curriculum development (Woolfolk Hoy, David and Pape, 2006), and contributing to the societal inability to learn accurate information (Chinn and Malhotra, 2002).

Misconceptions don’t exist due to the lack of exposure to information, but due to the existing fallacious knowledge that needs to be unlearned (Sinatra 2014) brought about by subjective evaluation and erroneous application of empirical data to the field of education.

While some educators question the integrity of evidence-based information, many teachers selectively reject scientific evidence and embrace misconceptions to avoid stress and conflict.

Decreasing Acceptance of Misconceptions With More Advanced Critical Thinking 

Researchers Morgan McAfee and Bobby Hoffman reviewed four prominent educational psychology journals and looked into 135 peer-reviewed articles. Primary research sources examined diverse samples consisting of undergraduate psychology students and utilized a true-false response format to identify misconceptions, and a Likert-type scale to measure the intensity of the misconceptions. According to the college samples, differences in the frequency of misconceptions are unable to establish a pattern. However, similarities among those with advanced education revealed a heightened perception of psychology as a science and a decreased acceptance of misconceptions by groups with higher course grades and critical thinking skills.

Mitigating Myths

To eradicate myths and misguided notions, research data and empirical principles must be carefully interpreted and communicated to individuals who lack domain-specific knowledge. Even with the intention of improving and enhancing learning outcomes, concepts can be sensationalized by popular media and misapplied to educational endeavors. Recently, more attention has been given to specific myths related to learning, neuroscience or brain-based education, technology in education, and educational policy.

Appropriate instrumentation should be developed to mitigate pervasive myths and educational psychology misconceptions, and discussion should be encouraged among educators to express dissatisfaction with such errant beliefs and advocate conceptual change efforts (Gregoire, 2003; Muis et al 2018). This can be achieved through teacher training and professional development sessions where these flawed thinking processes can be mediated.

Notable Quotes: 

“Individuals discount objective knowledge and evidence because dissonance is perceived as a threat leading to stress and anxiety, feelings that abate when the misconception is embraced” (Gregoire, 2003).

“Educators, educational policymakers and educational researchers should reject educational approaches that lack sufficient scientific support and methodologically sound empirical evidence” (Kirschner and van Merriënboer, 2013).

“Individuals will persistently retain their existing conception while rejecting the new, accurate information to protect their entrenched belief, often satisfying a robust personal or social goal” (Chinn & Brewer, 1993).

Personal Takeaway

It is said that we cannot change people’s minds, but we, as educators, have the capacity to influence and uphold our search for ideals to some extent and enlighten ourselves whenever we possibly can, overcoming one misconception at a time. When we do, we act as educators. This study is about the core and purpose of education. It is about being brave enough to welcome shifts in mindsets, which may eventually effectuate societal changes. As a teacher who wants to see changes happen, it starts off with our beliefs and attitudes toward education. This impacts me personally because even within the walls of the institution where we work, the educators that need to keep young minds open, inquisitive and resilient may themselves be the ones that are resistant to change.


Adrian Pasos

Summarized Article:

McAfee, Morgan and Hoffman, Bobby (2021) “The Morass of Misconceptions: How Unjustified Beliefs Influence Pedagogy and Learning,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 15: No. 1, Article 4.

Key Takeaway:

The more frequently and longer students spend time online, the lower the ratings of self-regulation in digital contexts. Yet, parental control and explicit teaching of digital skills can positively impact self-regulation. Technology in the classroom can enhance motivation, collaboration with peers, and engagement; however, it is not clear if the tools hamper skills like attention and self-regulation. —Frankie Garbutt

It is argued that social-emotional skills such as empathy, perspective, self-control and self-regulation are essential skills in the 21st century. However, one must consider how teaching these skills might need to be adapted at home and in school when today’s children have constant access to social media and the internet, requiring a new approach to self-regulation and self-control. The author of this study set out to find “what benefits for, and risks to, students’ cognitive and social and emotional skills are created by ubiquitous access.”

Self-rating is a means to examine the development of social-emotional skills. It “measures extraversion (sociability, engages in class activities), agreeableness  (empathy, wants to help), conscientiousness (self-regulation, perseveres at activities), neuroticism (framed positively as emotional stability), and openness to experience (curiosity, appreciates new experiences).” Technology in the classroom can enhance motivation, collaboration with peers, and engagement, but it is not clear if the tools hamper skills like attention and self-regulation. At home, students’ use of digital tools is largely impacted by “time spent online, types of activities, and parental guidance.” 

Changes in Self-Regulation and Social Skills Due to Technology Use

Initially, the results related to social skills showed a downward trend in the skills of self-regulation in digital and non-digital context, whereas the other skills seemed to not be affected because “ratings of the dimensions most clearly related to social skills, extraversion, and agreeableness did not have a consistent trend.“ The results of the study showed five trends:

  • “Self-regulation in digital contexts was significantly lower (M = 3.05, UL = 3.19) than the equivalent measures in non-digital.“
  • “This pattern of lower self-regulation in digital contexts compared with non-digital contexts was consistent across the ages.”
  • “Ratings of social skills tended to be higher than those for self-regulation.”
  • “Last, ratings of self-regulation in digital contexts appeared to be unrelated to personality dimensions and social skills generally.” 

Implications for Schools

The authors discussed that schools can be beneficial when teaching children about self-regulation in a digital context because metacognitive skills and self-regulation are skills consistently taught, which can respectively support the students’ use of digital tools. 

Moreover, “like self-regulation, the community of practice involving parents, teachers, and students had a focus on positive online interactions. In contrast, engaging in social media activities at home was associated with higher ratings of social skills in digital (but not in non-digital) contexts.”

Overall, schools are an environment in which students can learn valuable skills, such as self-regulation and social skills, in the ever increasing digital world when complimented by parental involvement and guidance at home. The authors suggest that further research should investigate how parents and schools can respectively support the building of these skills. 

Summarized Article:

McNaughton, S., Zhu, T., Rosedale, N., Jesson, R., Oldehaver, J., & Williamson, R. (2022). In school and out of school digital use and the development of children’s self‐regulation and social skills. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1), 236-257.

Summary by: Frankie Garbutt – Frankie believes that the MARIO Framework encourages students to become reflective, independent learners who progress at their own rate.