The Simpsons episode, Last Tap Dance in Springfield, from season 11 has a wicked take on the instructional status quo.
In the episode Lisa decides she wants to learn how to tap dance despite not being very good at these kinds of athletic endeavors. Lisa signs up for classes at a dance studio run by Little Vicki, a former child star along the lines of Shirley Temple. Little Vicki personally teaches the children's tap dancing class.
Vicki: Now, the key to great dancing is one word: tappa-tappa-tappa.
[the children exchange looks]
Vicki [demonstrating]: Tappa-tappa-tappa.
[the children try]
Many tappa-tappa-tappas later, the class progresses nicely. Then Vicki notices someone off the beat. Vicki has Lisa dance by herself. She loses her balance and falls over backwards into a potted plant. The class laughs at her.
Vicki: Children, stop it! For all you know, she has a medical condition.
Vicki: I see....
Lisa continues to have trouble staying upright. Lisa blames it on the floor and moves to one end of the room, where she falls down again. Little Vicki dismisses the class for five minutes to talk to Lisa.
Lisa: What am I doing wrong, Little Vicki?
Vicki: Well, you're falling a lot. Maybe you should work on that.
Lisa: Yeah, well, no offense, but maybe I need a little more instruction than just "tappa-tappa-tappa".
Vicki: Why, back when I was your age, I had 43 movies under my belt, and I had to do it without tappa-tappa-tappa. I would've killed for tappa-tappa-tappa.
Lisa: Sorry, I'm just frustrated.
Vicki: Well, you'll never save Grandpa's farm with that attitude! You've just got to turn that frown upside-down!
Vicki: That's a smile, not an upside-down frown! Work on that, too!
Much of what goes on in elementary education is just a bunch of tappa tappa tappa. "Try reading this non-decodable children's good. Can't do it, then try looking at the pictures or the first letter of each word for cues. Still can't do it, then its time to call in the reading specialist."
Here's how the segment ends.
After class Lisa goes home and dejectedly walks through the kitchen, still wearing tap shoes:
Marge: There's our Broadway baby!
Marge: Hey, dig that crazy rhythm!
Lisa: I'm just walking. Listen, I know I said I wanted to be a dancer, but--
Marge: And you WILL be a dancer!
Homer: Look at you, all sugar and spice instead of equations and test tubes. [puts Lisa on his lap] You're Daddy's precious dancing queen.
Marge: And you look adorable!
Homer: Now, honey, what were you trying to say before we kept interrupting with our loving proudness?
Marge: Yes, our tiny tapper, what was it you were going to say after "I wanted to be a dancer, but"?
Lisa: But, I just... [looks at her proud parents] ...need more practice! See ya! [exits the kitchen, with her shoes tapping]
Homer: Oh, what's that awful sound?
Marge: The furnace?
Lisa: It's me!
Homer & Marge: Aww....