By all means, this treatise of the highly demanding subject will not be complete, if not for anything else, but for the reason that will include personal only suggestions, opinions and critic.
We're what we produce, as individuals, but primarily as societies, and we produce only what we know how. Our wellbeing depends on what we have in our disposal to live a fulfilling life and it's marked irreversibly by what we don't, especially in health care. Any one who believes this as being the absolute truth, must believe in education, you can't produce in our era what makes life better without education. The personal interest of the people to educate themselves will not change, although it's obvious and will become more obvious, that from now on to participate in the economic life that leads to good life you need education above and beyond high school. It's science and technology that set the bar high and studying and acquiring skills on these will make you go over the bar to have a good living. Long gone the times when uneducated practitioners were adding their valuable experience in the production of useful products. It's necessary to say some times things called, easily assumed and that's why omitted, because they are forgotten.
If you want prosperous societies you need educated citizens. In today's 'sci-tech' era people either design and develop highly complicated products of all sort, material and non-material or use them directly or indirectly, wanting it or not, otherwise you're missing things, things that contribute to the quality of life. Very few decades ago radios and televisions, watches and telephones were as simple as pushing a button and turning a knob, compare them to today's, including useful accessories, you need a trained mind for it to not stall or get intimidated just by the descriptions of processes to follow: connected this way, programmed that way etc. It's not education per se, BUT ANY TRAINING OF THE MIND IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IS CALLED EDUCATION, if I'm not mistaken, from a two year college to eight years in universities for a Ph.D. A joke is, that, in a couple of decades to use the most sophisticated smart telephones you will need to attend a two year college, but the following is not a joke.
Once upon a time, there were very skillful workers without formal education, who did a very demanding job operating milling machines and lathes making tools to be used in plastic's molding machines and stubbing presses, to make parts for every concievable product, there's scarcely a product that doesn't include a part made this way. The diamond processes of the industrial sector and the diamonds among skilled workers, in my opinion.
And then, there came the computers and the computer driven, automated milling machines. So, an educated person, college graduate, works with highly sofisticated software to design and draw a 3D detailed drawing of the tool to be used in the molding machine. The newer equally sophisticated CNC milling machines connect to the computer, read the drawing and engrave the steel plates as required to make the tools, (maybe it needs surface refining), about 2-3 weeks time for something that required 10-12 weeks)
That's how uneducated people even with the highest skills are replaced by people with formal college education.
Thus the ever interesting subject of education becomes the very necessary topic of continous investigation for improvements and wider use, because not all the people are inclined to it naturally, but will be more and more required by most all. Will it continue as is, as everything is working as it sould or it needs adjustments, changes, additions.
The educational process was set very long ago, has not, it's not and doesn't show any signs of changing in the future. A teacher talks to many students about a subject and they are supposed to listen, in most all cases that's their only 'participation', to listen. But do they listen or hear or non because they are not there mentally, either they are taking a nap or day-dream. Not all people can stay concentrated for long time, when one speaks and they listen. Imagine when the listeners don't have interest in the subject, as is the case with some subjects, but the material must be conveyed to them irrespective of their intest for it, so the interest must be created, for example when teaching equations, refer to computer games, saying that a circle is drawn by an equation, x2+y 2=r2 and programmers are using them because analytic geometry is necessary. One wishes that every class on every subject and on every topic srarted with examples of the applications of this topic, to enhance interest and keep them awake. Creating interest will cause knowledge to be absorbed. The usual established process doesn't require any action on their part, children in the very first classes of grammar school participate more, when they learn the alphabet. (metaphorical jokes are allowed) They miss what's the most important aspect of schooling, to comprehend the material with the aid of a knowledgeable person, the teacher, in the class. So, then, they have to do this by themselves, many times unsuccessfully, leading to disappointment, which is disastrous for the spirit of the students, because they think they can't understand. When creating policies that define processes, one must take into account the human nature too, students will loose concentration because they aren't interested about everything they are asked to learn, so find ways to overcome the weaknesses. The students by default must have in their mind when going into the class that they will ACT, they will not go in there to listen only, and sometimes by some teachers, asked a question or two which, questions, will be answered by the very very few who are the best. A society doesn't go anywhere only with the best, the average must be high, so that many will understand and support the best in doing useful work to advance civilization. Using the word civilization is not too much, advancing the sciences and technology gave the human kind the myriads of products that made life a thousand times better and gifted him with better health, additionally the social sciences improved the ideas of social justice and independence. Civilization (a society) can not proliferate with very few competent people, like centuries ago. The small noble upper class only, had the means, by all meanings and aspects of the word, to support the sciences and the arts, that's why little was produced in these areas.
So the most important thing is how they will participate actively, led by the knowledgeable teacher: teachers will act and students will interact. The size of the class plays a big role, imagine if every class had ten students. Teaching positions could increase with teachers supplemented by graduate students as assistants to reduce the cost, sharing the teaching load of each class. Graduate students for this reason will be fine in high schools, colleges and universities. But also existing teachers would've to teach more classes. In universities professors teach one or two at the most classes, that's 3-6 hours per week, they devote most of their time to research, they can do more teaching and they can have graduate students teaching some selected topics and do explanatory work.
In small classes it's easier to find ways to have students participating, like asking one by one to read before they go to the class parts of what will be taught that day and say what it's all about, that's all they will be asked to do, the teacher will immediately intervene to complement the subject using his/her 'technics' and convey the full picture for complete comprehension. It would be very difficult for students to loose contact this way, some will wait for their turn while the ones who spoke will be 'kept in' because their piece will most probably be required again. That's the best you can do for comprehension because learning, 90% of the time is something more, requires more practicing to be established in the mind and become knowledge, and it's done away from the class. Students must always keep working by themselves to enforce the acquisition of skills. It's easier to define this by a practical example, but it's the same for theoretical teachings too.
Training is required to work milling machines and lathes. For the shake of this example only, we assume NOT CONNECTED TO COMPUTERS. After the prospective operator learns the basics of the machines, that's equivalent to acquisition of information and comprehension, needs extensive practice to acquire the skill of turning peaces of steel to wonderful useful products, that's the phase when comprehension, leads to learning and mastery of skills. The reason that this example was chosen is that it functions also and very importantly as the ultimate way of examining someone for comprehension and acquisition of knowledge, no matter what any one says to the operator for help, is not actually helping him, it's only how his mind directs his hands that counts, in succeeding to make the product to the right dimensions. So that's an 'open book exam/project' in which the examiners only have to watch if someone else will 'replace' the ones taking the exam. This is useful in analyzing methods of turning the current all exams educational system to an all projects examination educational system, which in my opinion gives the opportunity to people in the learning process to work more 'enjoy-fully' and mainly creatively.
If all classes were 10 student classes, with continuous participation/discussion in the class, and continuous project assignments and not continuous exams, (in which students are mostly asked to repeat what they were told/taught) and a one course at a time, teaching term, it would've been an entirely new educational systemic concept, in my humble opinion a lot better than today's. I'm sorry to say that not all, in all kinds of schools are learning a lot, it's not only because not all haven't interest. And note that with so small classes, continuous student participation and continuous projects work, the examinations will lose their scope of existence. The teachers will know what the students have learned, one by one, and who must rework the material because lacks learning. As a matter of fact there isn't a better way to judge.
Long ago, education's administrators thought, (?) but in any way decided that only examinations are good for judging if the person learned and students must be taught 5-6 courses at a time. Is an all exams educational system better for learning or it's just a screening process. Does the educational system want to prove who didn't learn or to load the workforce with knowledgeable workers of all kind. It's 100% proven that most students study just before the exams and for the exams. This doesn't show a drive to learn, they only study to make the passing grade, and one may safely guess and assume that this shallow acquisition of knowledge disappears very quickly. Ask high school graduates about historical events, not to mention the Pythagorean theorem and the perimeter of a circle or the area of a disk, and see what's left to them. Under pressure nobody really learns. I think that MEMORIZING IS NOT LEARNING because most of the time lacks comprehension. The very few that excel would've excelled no matter what, but they aren't enough, the educational system has to 'cheat' and educate and those who don't have a lot of interest, but most importantly by far, to attract those capable students who find schooling boring, because they see and feel that they can't act creatively, they feel trapped in book's pages and can't use the stuff in there to do things with them: PROJECTS. WORKING ON ACQUIRED INFORMATION USING HIGH LEVELS OF THE PROCESSES OF COMPARING AND COMBINING LEADS TO USEFULL LEARNING. That's true for geography, psychology and history too. Transferring information from the books to the brain is not good enough for the complex socio-economic reality of the 21st century. What's needed is the result of manipulated information as knowledge to put to work, leading to useful purely mental or physical creations. Also why there must be 15 week terms, for example, (semesters) during which students will be taught about 5 courses. DO STUDENTS LEARN BETTER THIS WAY, or are they judged better for their intellectual abilities or helps them become sharper. How about studying a single course for 3 weeks, 3 hours teaching per day, for a total of 5 courses in 15 weeks, off course. It is very possible that this 'concentration' in one subject may be proved advantageous for learning. Probably one course at a time, in small classes and continuous project assignments, will make learning more fulfilling and most importantly, more complete.
Another very important aspect of schooling, in the 'brodest' sense that the word schooling can be used, is the inclusion in its teaching jurisdiction of the essentials of life. With urbanization the human being has moved away from nature, doesn't even know how to plant a flower, in my opinion that's a big mistake. We oughtn't get so far away from the basics of life and schools ought to have students plant edible and not, to have this unique experience of seeing the plants and their fruits growing, THESE ARE LIFE MATTERS, it's not a joke. It's necessary to remind to the people the beautiful things of life, those that has forgotten running behind the promises of a possible reach life. If schools don't do this, who's going to do it, as well as continuously visiting museums and learn to know what art is. But even more important than this is to visit production facilities additionally to watching all the time video with the most modern machinery, that's also life, real life.
The optico-acoustical media must be number one tool in the class. Checking the few in the list below, one understands which is the way to convey material to the students, for the first and most important mission of teaching: TO UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY THE BASICS, then everything follows easily or a lot easier. The beholder of the basics only proceeds successfully to the next level, in everything. Also by seeing, one enhances the chances of wanting to do, in all forms and walks of life. The more the person has in its disposal to use, the more can create.
A very important matter that must be addressed in conjunction with schooling is the famous creativity*. It doesn't grow on trees and schools, ie creativity and schooling as we know it, don't go together. Don't know if it's nature's gift or can be 'created' by education to people, but what in my opinion is definite and can help towards the enhancement of creative thinking to everyone, is work that requires comparing, combining and assembling, I don't think that anything that requires these, is not creative. How much of these is asked in school's learning processes. The critical mind which is crucial in creativity in my opinion, also is not sharpened, because as mentioned above students are asked 90% of the time to repeat what they were told or read in the books, in the examinations. In my humble opinion, creativity needs free will, requires the mind to be trained to wonder around ideas and physical objects without constraints. If the person's mind is trapped in his/her socioeconomic life in roads of cultural inhibitions and constraints in moving, then creativity is trapped.
In subjects that initially seem difficult to train students in creative thinking, there're ways to trigger the mind, as for example in history or sociology, by assigning projects to describe socioeconomic conditions in one or two countries that may lead to war or social unrest. In a project like this, even if students use reasons that are known from actual historical events, the fact that reusing them in their one way makes their critical mind sharpened and their creativity enhanced by searching ways to put everything together in a meaningful way. If they can do this, they would've certainly succeed in answering the questions of an exam. In geography the combination of geographical elements to create environments for or against some human action, is creative enough. In physics it's easy as also is in courses that handle geometrical shapes and objects.
Last but not least, more and more becomes obvious that the different disciplines of studying are interrelated. So interdisciplinary learning becomes a necessity.
Let's refer to Mechanical Engineering as an example, how a mechanical engineer will sit at the same table with an electrical/electronics engineer to convey his/her needs for the incorporation of electronic components into purely mechanical system, if he can't, at least a little, spell in their language and know what can and what can't be done. Look how much of electronic components have been loaded to the car, they needed to work closely and extensively, a demanding work that led to important results. The school that I graduated from had two important courses on electronics, theoretical and of technical applicability that introduced the subject in its essence, as it pertains to computers too, in regards with the logic behind it, they call it two's logic, now it has none.
* What in my opinion distinguishes creative thought, and defines it uniquely, is the manipulation of elemental units of information with comparisons and the subsequent combining of these for the assemblage of an entity that didn't exist before. Can one find such mental process that must not be labeled creative.
P.S. Luckily, there're excellent textbooks, below though is an example of bad writting for schooling, such descriptions must not even be allowed in science classes, something that you need 5 times to read to understand, must be left for the communications of scientists among themselves:
"We now understand how very complex and even apparently intelligent phenomena, such as genetic coding, the immune system, and low-level visual processing, can be accomplished without a trace of consciousness.
But this seems to uncover an enormous puzzle of just what, if anything, consciousness is for. Can a conscious entity do anything for itself that an unconscious (but cleverly wired up) simulation of that entity couldn't do for itself?"
Example of teaching to accomplish in students's created interest and creativity.
Internet search : Innovative Approach to teaching STEM in Dallas School District
Optico-acoustical media reference to youtube
From DNA to protein - 3D
Science - Amazing Process Of Photosynthesis
Biology: Cell Structure
Spin - Visualizing the physics and mathematics
Physics Videos by Eugene Khutoryansky
Fourier Transform, Fourier Series, and frequency spectrum
Induction Motors - Why and how an induction motor works
3 phase induction motor theory Animation video
Brushless DC Motor, How it works
How does an Induction Motor work
Working of Synchronous Motor