John Etty

Director of Teaching & Learning, Head of Social Sciences, Head of History
Speaking at


Seven Myths, Two Fallacies, and Six Recommendations for Effective Classroom Teaching: Which Edu-Theories should we Listen to?

As the title of this session suggests, the presentation refers to recent work by educational researchers and writers, whose insights might clarify which dimensions of classroom teaching should be teachers’ main focuses. The presentation will begin with the ‘Seven Myths’ of modern western education, outlining the main arguments against certain trends in education discourse highlighted and debunked by Daisy Christodoulou (2013). Christodoulou’s arguments are not well-known in NZ, but they have a particular relevance to the educational debate in this country.

The ‘Two Fallacies’ referred to in the title are learning styles and learning pyramids. Belief in these ideas is still widespread, but this presentation will draw on recent research from cognitive science to demonstrate that they do not deserve our attention, despite the faith many have placed in them.

Finally, the session will draw on the conclusions of Carl Hendrick and Robin MacPherson, whose ‘What Does This Look Like in the Classroom?’ (2017) ends with six recommendations for effective classroom teaching that are drawn from educational research and cognitive science. Hendrick and MacPherson’s work is not widely known in NZ and this session will attempt to draw attention to their highly important research summaries.


I qualified as a History teacher and began my teaching career in the UK in 2002. I have worked at four schools in the UK and NZ, and been a teacher at Auckland Grammar School since 2012. I have keen interests in visual satire, the Soviet Union, education research, teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment.