I think the making of models and looking up words varies from teacher to teacher, school to school, and state to state. I got lucky, went to public school in Iowa. Most people say "Iowa?", but that state still has one of the best public school systems in the country. When I went to school, it was #1 in the country, and better than most private schools, We were tested every year to monitor progress(good old ITEDs).
My science, geography, and math teachers used models, gave examples, did experiments, had us work with real world problems, brought in scientists to talk about their work. History teachers showed us documentaries, made us do research, field trips, showed artifacts. When we would discuss an event in history, they would most times bring in a speaker to talk about it. When we talked about WW1 in grade school, they got a WW1 vet to come to class. English teachers made us do both, dictionary and context. The dictionary is cool, but unless you carry a pocket websters, ask the person speaking to repeat what they said and spell it, you need to learn to determine a words meaning by context too. Notice I used too, which means also, which you could have looked up or determined by putting it into context.
The barrier to learning is that the "mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited". Plutarch, actually I've seen the quote with kindled and with ignited, just like ignited better. I've never seen scientology as capable of "igniting the mind". On the flip side I feel the same way about my fellow Christians, well the die hard ones that don't want evolution taught in class.