The American way of life--like in many other countries--is tied to success through career performance. Education is a part of not only making a nation productive but giving children the best chance of providing for themselves as adults. Like anything important in life, a lot of strange, quirky, intriguing, or downright pointless fads have come and gone as people searched for that added educational edge. To understand where education has been and where it could still go, here's an overview of a few education fads throughout the years.
It sounds great, doesn't it? Rapid means fast, and progress means getting things done. As generations of workers who entered a more project management, engineering, and planning career field, the idea of bringing productivity language to education makes sense.
The idea behind rapid progress was that a student's grasp of a subject can be measured within 20 minutes of observation. It's basically a way to figure out if a student "gets" a particular subject without too much stimulation, as both a measurement of the student's ability and the particular technique. Unfortunately, there wasn't much data to support the observation. Brilliant "a-ha!" moments can happen later in life, which can be missed within a year, let alone a few minutes.
This is one of the many test-survey attempts to figure out a student's skill areas. The reasons are many, and the intentions are good; if you can figure out what a student does well, you can both figure out how to cultivate those strengths while targeting and building upon the weaknesses.
The problem is that there are many skills to consider. One alleged problem with standardized testing is that it is too broad, generic, and may not keep up with the continuing demands of modern job market expectations while continuing to cover the more classical and necessary life skills.
How does one make a test for a specific student's mastery? Every student will need a documented list of skills and expectations that need to be tested, built upon, and tested. That's something for a private tutor or dedicated teacher of a single student. Unfortunately, homeschooling programs face the same problems; unless you, the parent or guardian are a trained educator, the homeschooling system is still generating a wide-reaching format that isn't time or learning efficient.
Follow That One Nation!
Chinese schools. Japanese schools. German schools. Every year, there's a new taste of the "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" problem, where parents look to other nations and their school performance with envy.
Citizens of a particular country have limited tools to gauge how well another country does in school. Some of it is looking at the discipline, while other observations are based on the types of workers produced from the country. Japan, for example, is often lauded for its engineering labor from a science and technology-savvy system. Some Japanese educators in turn envy India or America--whether that means the education, or some other part of the culture is hard to determine.
Education simply isn't an easy path to prove. The easiest method would be to observe exchange students or import a private school culture to see how the students later perform in America, but such long experiments can have different results by the time a student graduates.
The national trend is a group of trends itself, full of other trends local to those nations. To get a closer glimpse at education fads, speak with an ed fads critic.
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