You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
There are times when I am sitting in meetings at school or reading articles about education that these lines from Princess Bride float around in my mind. The education sector is known for its “edubabble” as we make up words or reinvent definitions for words and phrases to fit our own parameters. It’s ironic that we want our students to use words correctly and make wise decisions with word choice, yet we feel the need to make it up as we go.
Here are a few of my current “favorites”:
- rigor: Seriously, every time I hear us use this word, I think of rigor mortis and corpses. I’m pretty sure that’s not the visual image the government, my district, or my administration is going for!
- setting norms: I took sociology, and norms are unconsciously set by the group. I like the sentiment; I just wish we would call them something else – like guidelines.
- protocol: This one isn’t technically used incorrectly, but I always think of science or engineering. We use it to describe a lesson strategy. I wish we just called them strategies.
I know there are more, but I’ve heard these three used so much later. I always feel the need to jump up and start a lesson on the original usage of the words. Ah well.
What are your favorite edubabble words? Please share yours and the reasons why they bother you. I can’t wait to add to the list!
I just thought of another good one. Although a word, it just sounds so wrong: certificated.