Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon

Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon

Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon

Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon

Excerpt

Every profession has its own language. Law, medicine, science, business, economics, psychology, sociology—each of these fields has evolved a specialized vocabulary that its members use to communicate with one another. Perhaps this language is necessary to discuss sophisticated ideas that are beyond the understanding of the average citizen; perhaps not. The result, if not the intent, is to mystify the public.

Education is no exception. Like those of other professions, the language of education is often incomprehensible to those outside the field. But more than other professions, education should strive to be intelligible to nonprofessionals. Educators must be able to speak clearly and intelligibly to all those who care about what happens in classrooms. It matters not only for the wellbeing of students but also for the well-being of public education. Parents and citizens who are likely to vote on bond issues or to serve on local school boards need to understand the language of education, just as newcomers to and even veterans in the profession do.

I first encountered the strange tongue of education many years ago, when I started my graduate studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Everyone, it seemed, understood the meaning of these unfamiliar words except me. I thought I would never be able to master this vocabulary because new terms were constantly popping up. Because I had been a journalist before I went to graduate school, I had a yearning to demystify what I

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