(Note: this isn't going to be a post that naturally lends itself to images, so for fun I've just selected a few of my old photos to break up the reading a bit for you! They have no significance in relation to the post, except for whatever significance you might want to attach to them!
The one really worthwhile bit of 70's terminology I learned is "the stages of artistic development", courtesy of Lowenfeld's Creative and Mental Growth. I believe that everything I read about and learned in that book still applies today, which is nice, because though our world changes, and we've seen major technology advances, kids are still kids, going through those basic stages, aren't they? And knowing those stages, and what is developmentally appropriate at certain stages of development, I kind of wonder if some of this "21st Century Jargon" is really necessary. I know that for me, it causes me to shut down, because I can NEVER remember what any of it means. It only serves to confuse and befuddle.
Suppose you want to apply for a grant or need to write a report - well, it seems you've got to have some fancy jargon in order to impress! Did you know there's actually an Educational Jargon Generator on the internet? They suggest that you "Amaze your colleagues with finely crafted phrases of educational nonsense!", which describes exactly what I think about much of this jargon.
I recall the first time I saw the word "exemplar" used on a blog post, a few years ago. I thought "Huh??" When did my mock-up stop being my teacher "sample" or "example", and become a fancier word? And why? What the heck is wrong with an example being an example?? Why does it have to be an exemplar now? Sheesh! And when did the word "rubric" arrive in ed jargon? I remember the first professional development program that I attended where the word was used, and I wondered - when did a chart become a rubric?? Who invented a new word, and why? How did it sneak up behind me?
And in art ed, sometime in the 90's, DBAE (data based art ed, whatever that means) emerged on the scene, sneaking up on me to describe, perhaps, something that maybe I'd sort of been doing all along. And now of courses there's TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior), choice-based art ed, PLN's or PLC's, VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies; which I recently discovered I have been doing for many years without the label), and there's Design Thinking.
There's Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings. There are Model Cornerstone Assessments and Anchor Standards. And performance indicators and learning outcomes, and value-added, and best practices.
And what the heck is constructivism?
There's formative assessments and summative assessments, and performance based assessments, and data based assessments, and authentic assessments. And benchmarks. And metacognition. And curriculum maps, and vertically aligned curriculum. If you think for even a minute that I can remember what all of these terms mean, you would be wrong.
And the silly names for things that we teachers always did, but that never had names before: for example, there's think/pair/share, and exit tickets, and bell-ringer activities (when I hear this term, I must admit that I picture Quasimodo). And there are names for the obvious: differentiated instruction and high stakes testing, for example. Duh.
And here's a few acronyms you might have encountered in recent years: SLO (student learning objectives), SWK (no, not sealed with a kiss; it is "students will know"), KWL (know, want to know, learned; at least I think that's what it stands for). There's AYP (annual yearly progress), RTI (response to intervention), and ELL (English language learners; when did this label change from ESL - English as a second language? And why?)
I could keep going, and fill a few more paragraphs with terms, phrases, and acronyms from just the past few years, but I have a feeling that you probably all stopped reading several paragraphs ago because this is just so dreadful....
- Does anyone else feel as frustrated as I do with the proliferation of jargon?
- Does the jargon change the way you do things, or just give new names to what you already do?
- Can you remember what all these things even mean and easily incorporate the words in your conversation?
- Does the jargon-du-jour improve your teaching?
- Or are you like me and your brain starts to cloud and fog when the jargon deluge arrives? (Perhaps we can call it the jargon-pocalypse?)
- And finally, can you comment and tell me all the acronyms and terminology that I might have missed in this post?