In most learning environments, students listen to a teacher or read an assignment, followed by an assessment. If the students answer the questions correctly, it is taken as proof that learning has happened. You could then infer that supposedly, all we need to do is to repeat the process over and over until all students have encyclopedic knowledge.
You probably went school, so you must know a lot. Yet if you've ever helped a 6th-grader with homework you realize just how much you've forgotten.
So let's come clean. Outside of reading, writing and basic math, we don't remember all that much from our school years. Why do we spend so much time and money pretending that students really know all the stuff they “learned”? The process of lecture-test-forget is futile.
In the end, a school diploma does not mean that you now have a particular depth of knowledge, but it represents that you were at one time able to give correct answers on assessments.
Is most of school a waste of time? It doesn't have to be!! Schools have proven to be helpful in assisting children to learn proficiency in reading, writing, math.
Beyond that, the lecture-test-forget method should give way to much more dynamic experiences. We can expose children to a wide variety of topics for them to take an interest in and explore. We can introduce a variety of skills to them so that they may discover and strengthen their talents. These activities have lasting value – all without lectures, textbooks, and tests!!