Monday, May 21, 2007

"RIGOR" and "BRAIN BASED" jargon

"But for education professionals, the lingo serves a purpose: it's a shortcut. Michael Klonsky, a visiting professor at Nova Southeastern University and the director of the Small Schools Workshop based in Chicago, said any field has its own technical language, which experts use to understand more sophisticated concepts.

"It's like a code language," he said. "It helps them be more specific."

Yet there are times when the terms become "stultifying," Klonsky said, or overused and meaningless. (Stultifying, that's not jargon, by the way).

The word "rigor," for example, is often used positively in education circles to indicate making lessons more challenging for students. According to Webster's Third New International Dictionary unabridged, however, rigor means stiffness, hardness, inflexibility, severity or sternness.

"Now, did you hear anything there that you want to do to your kid?" Klonsky said. "Now there's an example of a word that becomes meaningless."

Another example of academic jargon is the term "brain-based learning." Apparently that comes from research about how the brain works and how individuals receive information, thus framing how teachers teach, Klonsky said.

But isn't all learning brain-based? Somebody, help us, please."


1 comment:

JM said...

Ok, that's the best reaction I have heard to the "brain based" jargon I've been hearing. I will have to share that with my fellow educators tomorrow. Don't get me wrong though, I'm all about altering our educational system to work more compatibly with our brains. I think that's the word I'm looking for. Sorry, the teachers that helped me develop my language didn't use brain based lessons!