Are there not fads in teaching?

A senior teacher in a prestigious private school had this to say recently (‘Weekend Australian’ 12/13 Oct. 2013) about films replacing books in many classrooms. “Increasingly in contemporary Australian schooling, great store is placed on what is described as ‘visual literacy’ … Film …does not, and never can, help reading and writing skills. … Visual literacy should not be confused with substantial textual knowledge. That requires students to understand language, how it works, how we read it, comprehend it and write about it in clear grammatical English.”

In the event, I wonder what it is that Derrida-derived deconstruction of any writing or literature enables students to do in a work environment which would require them to communicate with others by writing to them, or to write reports or analyses. I must say that I have not met anyone who seemed disadvantaged by not having learnt about deconstructing language.

So, are ‘visual literacy’ and deconstruction of language just fads in education? If they are fads, who was responsible for introducing them, and how did they become popular here and there? If they are not fads, what are their claimed benefits? Is there any research evidence demonstrating their value? I wonder how non-teacher parents whose children are exposed to these approaches feel about them.