Education Jargon Information
Dr. Bob Kizlik
Updated September 9,
In these difficult times, few disagree that there is seemingly an inexhaustible need to invent education terms, and the words and phrases we in education choose to describe what we
do are never at rest. It seems as though every day new ways of expressing old ideas
are formulated and added to the bewildering, bubbling stew known by such
as eduspeak, pedagogese, edutalk, and so on. There is seemingly no end to it, and
I think new and future teachers need to be clear about the technical
language of their profession. Whether dealing with parents, students, other
teachers, administrators, or the public, the need for specificity has never been
greater. In these difficult
times with the economic downturn and employment losses across the board from
manufacturing jobs to education
positions, the need for clarity has never been more important. Available funds
for education need to be spent prudently
In my years of education, especially my early years, I was exposed to many expressions that at
first I thought were very insightful. They seemed at the time to be perceptive and useful. However, upon reflection, I now
know I was naive. An example:
Many of you reading this have probably heard an expression that
goes something like this:
"This program allows the child to learn at his own pace." What in the
THAT mean? Think about it. At what other pace can a child learn but his own? Yet
that phrase has been used in countless promotions for educational
materials, as if it were some sort of endorsement or validation. A truly
expression. What we really want to accomplish is to help children increase the pace at
which they learn, thereby making learning more efficient.
Another is, "We take the child from where he is......"
Well, great. Where else is the child than where he is? I have heard this
phrase used in education during my entire career spanning nearly five decades.
And now, in the 21st century, is use has not abated in the slightest. Such language adds little
to efforts to improve communication or clarify meaning. Such language does
little to improve education in any practical way.
I scoured the Internet to find descriptions of words and
expressions that are commonly used in education. If you go to the links below,
you will find commentary and a sometimes bewildering array of phrases and their descriptions.
In some cases, they are humorous, in others, bewildering. As part of the
ongoing mission of ADPRIMA to bring clarity and the best information to new and
future teachers, I offer the following links:
Hiding Behind Education Jargon
Special Education Jargon
Education Slang, Jargon, and New Words from Double-Tongued Dictionary
COLLEGESPEAK - jargon in higher education
"Anything not understood in more than one way is
not understood at all."
Robert Kizlik & Associates
Boca Raton, Florida