There are a couple of different ideas presented in the book Making Connections by Caine and Caine. The book, subtitled Teaching and the Human Brain, was published in 1991. There are some outdated arguments presented in its pages, but the interesting parts are the ones that address issues that we still haven't solved almost three decades later. For example:
When rewards and punishments are controlled by others, most children are influenced to look to other for direction and answers. In fact, we now seem to have an entire generation working for the grade or rewards of an immediate and tangible nature. One consequence is that they are literally demotivated in many respects...In particular, their innate search for meaning is short-circuited. Another consequence is that they are actually deprived of some major rewards, namely the joy and excitement that are the consequences of real learning...
The second idea from this section of Making Connections is a more general statement about American education in general. The authors place here a paragraph from the 1979 Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Overly, 1979):
As practiced, schooling is a poor facilitator of learning. Its persistent view of learning as product interferes with significant learning connected to such complex processes as inquiry and appreciation. What often passes for education is noise that interrupts the natural flow of learning. Schooling too often fragments learning into subject areas, substitutes control for the natural desire to learn, co-opts naturally active children for hours in assembly line classroom structures, and ignores both individual and cultural differences....The formal education system often destroys opportunities for learning from elders, from each other, and from the new generation....Much is known about the learning process but little has been applied to education....The American education system is not making use of brain research findings.
More so, however, we have a need to awaken administrators and legislatures to the need for the change to an Age of Innovation. So many in our field still don't even realize where the problems lie, and we end up treading water. We try to move forward - we kick until we can't keep our chins above the surface - but the result is often that we maintain our position. That's unacceptable. If this were the teaching olympics, we would be well out of medal range. Hopefully, more teachers will seek the mentors they need, encourage students to strive for improvement, not for outward rewards, and create experiences instead of lessons.