Sunday, February 17, 2013


As defined in Wikipedia, a fad is:

"...any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period... fads may be driven by mass media programming, emotional excitement, peer pressure, or the desire of 'being hip'... a fad is generally considered a fleeting behavior whereas a trend is considered to be a behavior that evolves into a relatively permanent change.."
Let's have some fun reviewing a few fads we've faced related to parenting and education:

Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care (1946), challenged the then contemporary opinion that babies should be fed according to tight schedules, and that showing them too much affection make them weak and unprepared  for the world. Instead, he promoted a 'gentler' approach telling parents they knew more than they thought they did and so should trust their own instincts and common sense.

While there is something to be said for openly showing parental affection and relying on common sense, different cultures follow different avenues of 'common sense' and there are times when 'common sense' just doesn't hold. For example, Spock recommended putting babies to sleep on their stomachs (so as not to choke on any spit-up, etc.- which makes some sense).  This, however, was discredited in the late 1990's as stomach-sleeping was found to be linked to sudden infant death syndrome. Furthermore, while loving and showing affection is important, so many children have grown up feeling 'entitled' and seeking immediate gratification that many are now advocating the need to show affection WHILE teaching rules, promoting delayed gratification, and adding structure to home and school life.

Whole Language (vs. Phonics) - Whole language, popularized in the 1970's-late 1980's de-emphasized spelling, phonics and grammar, focusing primarily on reading and writing for meaning. In its height, educators promoting whole language did so at the expense of teaching phonics, letter blends, and rules of grammar and spelling. While criticized for ignoring the structured teaching of language rules, Whole Language classrooms encouraged frequent reading, 'guided reading' in small groups, student read-alouds, and independent reading in the classroom.  Reading and writing were done for 'real-life'/meaningful purposes, emphasizing the love of books and engaging reading materials.  All very positive, and successful with strong language learners.

Weak language learners and dyslexic children, however,  had tremendous difficulty learning under this approach. In direct contrast, the Orton-Gillinghan Approach - emphasizing a very structured approach to phonics has proven remarkably successful for dyslexic and weak language learners. 

Educators now call for "balanced literacy."

Inventive Spelling - encouraged kids to spell phonetically guessing sound-spelling relationships as a means of encouraging writing fluency with spelling instruction later focusing on analysis of spelling errors.

Then, of course, we are constantly faced with DIET FADS here are just a few:
  • South Beach
  • Atkins
  • Hollywood Diet
  • Liquid Diets
  • Detox Diets
  • Fat-Free diets
The problem with fad diets is that while these different diets empower people to shed pounds, they don't work to help you KEEP the weight off long-term.  What does work is consistent exercise while eating healthy (not overly processed) foods in variety and moderation.

What I find so interesting about these fads is that they seem to represent extremes and as a result the parenting and educational pendulums tend to swing between these extremes.  So often these fads show merit when integrated together - maybe because there are all kinds of learners in each and every class.  Maybe, we just need to look at what it is about the fads that so appeals to us and integrate them without losing our way.

Thank you for your time and visit.
What are some of the fads you loved/hated?  
Please share them in the comments.

BEFORE YOU GO... here are some fun links to fads of the past...

Aside from laughing at how many fashion/entertainment fads are coming back or how some were just so silly, these fads can be made into an excellent exercise in mass media promotional campaigns and the power of visual literacy.


  1. Finding balance is such an art♫ Recognizing the need for balance is a good start....enjoyed your post♫ Here's my Inspire Me effort:

  2. I used to laugh when some of the "younger" teachers would come back from a seminar all excited about a "new" method of teaching. It was how we taught in the "olden days!"

    abcw team

  3. When my daughter was in in Kindergarten, they did "sound spelling". When she discovered she was "wrong" in terms of standard spelling, she broke down in tears! She got over it, fortunately.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. I remember all the fads from my younger days. Big hair, tight rolled jeans, heavy makeup. So glad those days are behind me. Now it's all about the nerd glasses in my daughters school. I think I like her fad better than mine lol.

  5. We also got the Dr Spock book, but I did n't follow his advice. Teaching methods are interesting, but I did my own method and with good results, because it is a lot more fun if you don't use a grammarbook for instance in the first place.
    Interesting post, Meryl! Have a great week with a lot of sunshine!
    Wil, ABCW Team.

  6. Fun links, I'd forgotten about clackers, and the bruises!
    Joy - ABC Team

  7. Fine idea for a fun post. The top graphic has me humming to myself, "feeling groovy". Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  8. I am so tired of all the weird fads we have been having.

  9. Balance is the key. Extremes just don't work in the long run.
    I remember my kids struggling through some of the "new math" and reading fads. Maybe that's what gave me some of my gray hair...

  10. I have to say my favorite fad was 80's hair bands. And I'm still stuck in the time-warp ;)

    Happy WW :)

  11. Now the fad is to use lazy language; such as LOL and OMG.

    A few other odd fad things that are everywhere now are:


  12. Oh my, I remember these fads, and luckily they came along after my children had finished their elementary schooling, as I certainly didn't agree with them, - nd only partly with Dr. Spock...

  13. This was very interesting. I think learning the phonics of letters and words has been a great foundation to reading and writing. The English language is a difficult one to spell as it is not a phonetic language, as such. I first learned to read and write in German and later hit a block with English, my home language, because of this. Thanks for sharing and for linking on Amanda's Books and More!

  14. Thank for another great post with links Sadly some of those FADS are still in!!

  15. Very interesting. I hadn't thought about fads for a while. I guess I never thought of love and affection as a fad. I think that showing love and affection doesn't mean no rules. I think a balanced approach to parenting; love and affection with rules, delayed gratification, and structure are important for children.

    I always laugh about the hoola hoop fad. I just saw a purse in a magazine for fashion week and the handles were two hoola hoops. Too funny.
    I'm following from Picture Perfect Day Link Party and I would love to have you share this and any other posts at my link party. It runs Wednesdays through Sundays. Here is the link.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  16. Groovy post. When my hubby and I had our first child I was barely 21--far away from home.
    Felt I was doing everything wrong and bought the Dr. Spock book (1970). He was really rigid and after I relaxed after a month or two put the book away and just felt my way along and that was much better. I remember white go go boots and mini skirts. I think they have made their way back a few times.

  17. I'm getting to the point where I'll take any advice I can to see if it works, we're testing my 8 year old for dyslexia. Poo kids can't read or write hardly at all and it's so frustrating!

  18. Fads him I guess the different fashions that we've had from petal hats, flare pants, Hot Pants, go go boots, and ruffled haltered tops I believe there were four rolls of ruffles. hahaha Then there was the era of the flower child with psychodelic lights/colors, bare feet and mini glasses, and let us not forget Woodstock. Guess I could go on and on, but yes I think it would be fashion is what I would think about when you would mention fads.

  19. Ew, I only ever tried a diet fad when my college roommates were in charge of cooking. *shudder* Luckily, it didn't last long.

    And hey, I still hula hoop while watching tv. ;D

    ♥ aquariann
    Featured Photo: Pirate Kiss

  20. Fads are in everything, especially fashion! Great post. Blessing, Debbie

  21. The vivid fad I can remember was teasing the hair lol.

    Fitness... Fashion... Family

    Playing catch up again with F entries..
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  22. fads fade but hey they come back...before we know it, we're back to teasing the hair...