Tuesday, September 17, 2013

If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance ...

Most of us would like to find a tool to eliminate education jargon,  but if you feel a need to lay it on thick,  here's an amusing tool from ScienceGeek.net to "amaze your colleagues with finely crafted phrases of educational nonsense."

USA Today's Greg Toppo passed this gem along to the Education Writers Association listserve,  where it's getting chuckles.  My randomly generated sentence:  "We will synergize mastery-focused paradigms with synergistic effects."

The jargon generator's unsigned introduction suggests the tool will be useful for writing grant applications,  reports and other documents related to public schools.  It says the author was inspired by this sentence from the College Board's AP chemistry framework:  "The student can connect phenomena and models across spatial and temporal scales."

I got a kick out of seeing  "21st century learners"  among the options.  Not long ago,  a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools educator told me how tired she was of hearing that label.  She's right:  In the 1990s it had a futuristic feel,  and even for the first year or two of the 21st century it had some edge.   But 13 years in?  Lame.  Kind of like  "thinking outside the box"  --  the irony of a cliche used to describe original thinking.


Anonymous said...

How Children Learn:

Student schemata should be assimilated into accommodations designed to create a disequilibrium during stages of metacognition when the zone of proximal development is ideal for scaffolding.


Anonymous said...

Yikes, Alicia -- did you make that one up on your own? Please tell me it isn't a real quote ...

Anonymous said...

Made up sentence of Chapter 1 vocabulary words "every elementary teacher should know".

Next up, differentiated thematic cueing systems designed for scaffolding English language learners with integrated Common Core standards that utilize engaging spiral inquiry methods followed by authentic rubric assessments to measure proficiency of inventive sentence structures needed in the 22 century.

I'm considering having Bloom's Taxonomy engraved on my tombstone.


Anonymous said...

Ya' know?

I'm not sure how I ever learned a plie in first position without an Essential Common Core Standard, 9 clarifying objectives, 55 criteria based steps and a standardized scoring rubric.


Unknown said...

I think Alicia is a fan of Lev Vygotsky, a researcher in the field of cognitive development whose theories included the ideas of scaffolding and zone of proximal development.

Anonymous said...


And 3-5 diversity accommodations for every lesson plan? HELP!

How do the Amish manage to add and "take away"?


Shamash said...

Ah, yes, the old "think outside the box".

I had a professor who used that phrase to distraction years ago.

To the mathematically inclined, I suggest:

"think orthogonally to the tesseract"

as a substitute.

Shamash said...


"Student schemata should be assimilated into accommodations designed to create a disequilibrium during stages of metacognition when the zone of proximal development is ideal for scaffolding."

Or, as we commoners say:

"Keep them on their toes"

Shamash said...

Speaking of vocabulary words...

I was checking my 3rd grade son's spelling list.

On it were two words I have never seen in common use:


Seriously, has anyone else seen these words used before, or similar weirdness in elementary school spelling tests?

I doubt that the teacher could use these words in a sentence since one is a somewhat obscure nautical term and the other is just weird:

brail - a rope fastened to the leech of a sail and used for hauling the sail up or in

vail - To doff (one's hat) as a token of respect or submission.

Doff one's hat? Seriously.

Must be more of that "21st Century Learning" we've been hearing about.

Or maybe they're both from the Amish Naval Handbook.

Anonymous said...

Shamash, your son is doing spelling? Good for him. He must not attend a CMS school. They did away with spelling years ago, sadly.

Shamash said...

Yes, we are living in a backwards community just south of the border, so our children still have spelling tests.

However, the teacher apparently (according to my son) doesn't even bother to pronounce or define the words in class or ask the students to do this on their own.

They just get a list and study it on their own.

Which is OK, I guess, but a bit odd.

Or maybe it's just that teacher.

She did add those two weird words that other teachers didn't have on their lists.

(Not exactly sure what she's "teaching" sometimes...)

A recent classroom visit didn't reveal much.

It's time to "wire" the kid and see what's REALLY happening, I guess...

Anonymous said...

Yeah,what these folks said.

Anonymous said...

"Spelling" is not the same as "Vocabulary". The former is the study of how words are formed (the spelling pattern present in both brail and vail) and the latter is the study of word meanings.

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

Thanks for the "vocabulary" lesson.

I guess 21st Century Teachers are just too dumb to handle both at the same time?

I mean what could vocabulary possibly have to do with spelling?

Someone might accidentally learn a few things about etymology and how English is based on other languages if they taught THAT kind of stuff...

But I guess it's more pedagogically correct to separate the two and make spelling the simple regurgitation of patterns of letters without any connection to their sound, meaning, or history.

Or better yet, just don't teach it at all.

Anonymous said...

Shamash - Thanks for all your support of us teachers! It is so appreciated!
I could explain to you, in laymen terms, the difference and need to teach spelling patterns and vocabulary development at separate times, but that would require me to use my MAED in Reading and that does not mean anything in NC anymore. Oh! I have an idea - go ask a "Teach for America" teacher?