Are you a teacher? A pedagogue? A psychologist? A therapist? A parent? Or maybe 5 in 1? Or perhaps you simply want to study more effectively? Great. Stop for a moment and check, what Tomasz Garstka, recognized psycho- and sociotherapist, reveals and overthrows in his book ‘Psychopedagogiczne mity. Jak zachować naukowy sceptycyzm w edukacji i wychowaniu?’ which was published in series ‘Educational inspirations’ not without reason. The scientific scepticism and critical thinking in education are Garstka’s card. We chose 10 quotes which are convincing conclusions helping to reform educational system in Poland. Ready? Go!

Prepare for real rollercoaster while reaching for this book. Tomasz Garstka takes no  psychopedagogical prisoners. His membership in Polish Sceptics Club speaks for itself – in his book he severely criticizes numerous myths functioning in the contemporary training-educational reality. Sensor integration, learning styles or a neuro-linguistic programming are only some of them. He frequently uses irony and even sarcasm what additionally strengthens his message. Is that right?


  1. ‘Critical thinking means: considering phenomena and experience from many points of thinking, formulating judgements and assessing knowledge with referring to clear, justified criteria; considering arguments for and against some statements and learning a lesson from  it; consistent aspiration to the truth subordinated to the logical inference with the care of the truth of premises; aspiration to discovery and corrections of judgmental flimsiness, reasoning own and other’s noticed procedures (the criticism serves the care of the reliability of research methodology and the accuracy of formulated theses)’.
  2. ‘In arts a know-how, a wisdom of argumentation, a persuasiveness and a cohesion of the disquisition is what really matters. In science – the reliability of evidence and the confirmed effectiveness of action. We just have the right to expect it e.g. from workshops concerning teaching methods (…) here evidences of efficacy are important!’.
  3. ‘Where is the cohesion of learning, where is the conceptual common system? Indeed, learning must aspire to specialization (clinical psychology, social psychology). But also to knowledge mutualisation, explaining real and avoiding apparent or linguistic conflicts inside the discipline’.
  4. ‘I want to warn you that from popularizers of this model (Dale’s cone) – as well as of many untested alternative models in research -– it’s possible to hear: ‘it is only a metaphor / image / approximation / map / guide’. Metaphors must be appropriate. And alone – they aren’t a learning. Images, approximations and maps should not falsify reality. Whereas guides cannot mislead you’.
  5. ‘During the workshops based on learning by experiencing it is often ignored that there are also effective methods of learning: training (repeated exercise) of some ability according to some given model or by its observation and applying the knowledge (processing information in different contexts) which wasn’t discovered by experiencing’.
  6. ‘Information about the influence of adaptation of teaching styles to learning styles on educational results is incredible. Tools offering supposedly well diagnosis of learning styles are unreliable. Sometimes learning strategies are being called learning styles but it’s not the same. The teacher affects forming of students’ learning strategy what can bring change for better in results of learning’.
  7. ‘It turns out that feedback is the most motivating – it contains content what should be improved. It encourages to develop competences. However some people think differently…’.
  8. ‘Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Education of students concerning equal rights in spite of all differences is a noble, important idea worth disseminating. In case of inter-gender and gender differences it isn’t worthwhile to contradict the dissimilarity, same as it isn’t necessary to appeal to non-existent differences, since it builds and strengthens stereotypes’.
  9. ‘Training our abilities, simulations and sometimes even emotions which have a purpose are also very useful. However I would rather trust educational trainers who refer to solid knowledge in the scope of learning, who create conditions for training of specific abilities and useful reflection for practice, than trainers with good intentions profiteering from humanistic psychology tradition’.
  10. ‘Children raised in difficult conditions in their early childhood don’t manifest emotional problems in their adult life, when they go to foster families before being 3 years old. So a Freudian concept of early childhood determinism doesn’t work. The psychoanalysis is a set of prematurely crystallised misconceptions at its best, and in its worst it’s just a pseudoscientific doctrine which indescribable damaged both psychology and psychiatry (…) It’s high time to treat it as historical interesting fact and to undertake the great task of building truly scientific psychology’.

We spilled some quotations which will hopefully convince you to read this book. Very important, needed and… rare book. Garstka’s considerations are unusually substantive, he present worldwide scientists’ statements and shares with research results.

Reading this book is comparable with gripping detective series. During the reading you can feel as the investigator who is close to solve the puzzle and always manages to prove the truth. Does it sound intriguing? Sure!

We come back to Garstka’s book regularly and it won’t change. We guarantee that in your case it will be the same.

Authors: Patrycja Sikora and Dariusz Chrapek