Classical teachers are wealthy with wisdom. This embarrassment of riches allows us to be a bit shrewd about fads.
While we hate to say “I told you so,” it is hard to avoid when fad after fad turns out to be empty when compared to the simple, plain, and hard truths of educational method: use language a lot, read a lot, think a lot, talk a lot, write a lot.
Bonus supplement to the above: Read the hardest and best books you can find, think as hard as you can, write as much as you can, and you will be in the top 1% of educated folks around. Nothing else can replace these simple, solid, painfully true truths.
Bonus bonus supplement: It’s parents job; teachers can only supplement learning in the home…
In contrast to these rules, the latest fad sells you an appealing but ultimately crazy quick fix – such as that iPads are going to somehow bring up test scores.
The latest instance of pointless panaceas is “learning styles.” I’m glad I’ve never tried to figure out my learning style other than anecdotally (“I learn well from audio books. You don’t? Huh. Fancy that.”)
Some recent research suggests that maybe learning styles are not really a thing.
Maybe panaceas made with 100% snake oil should be ignored as a category, rather than believed/debunked one by one. To quote John Mark Reynolds circa 2000:
Read a lot, write a lot, discuss a lot. Everything else is a waste of time.