The words we choose have the power to:
MAKE or BREAK | BUILD UP or TEAR DOWN
As educators- No, as people- we have a responsibility to select our words thoughtfully and with precision.
I was in a meeting yesterday where the presenter distributed these at the start of the session:
At the end of the meeting, the presenter read each item aloud and the group was asked to discuss ‘what not to do during a meeting’.
I left the meeting thoughtful about how a little shift in language might have sparked discussion around the topic in a more positive light:
Speaking of language choice…
How often do we discuss learning experiences without thoughtfully considering the implication of our word choices?
6 EDU phrases we might DEEP SIX in replace of more thoughtful language:
“Behavior Management” : A shift from a focus on ‘management’ to a focus on ‘culture’ would bring learners back into this equation. Think about what a positive shift in language it is to move from a reactive position of ‘managing student behavior’ to the positive, proactive language of ‘developing positive classroom culture’ ♥
“Instructional Time”: Rather than spend any more ‘time’ adding up instructional minutes or even worse: ‘seat time’, let’s shift our focus away from inputs and toward outputs. How are our students able to create, contribute, and inspire as a result of our precious time with them? Neither time spent ‘being taught at’ or time spent in a seat (no matter how great the environment) is a measure of students’ learning – not to mention their curiosity, creativity, resilience, persistence….
“Mainstream”: Are educators still using this term? If so, I think we should consider the subtle way it implies that the goal is for all learners to swim in the same direction. Perhaps a shift in mindset from conformity to equity is in order.
“Gifted & Talented”: Let’s be mindful of the exclusivity that this phrase implies. Instead, let’s commit to honoring the gifts and talents in each of our learners.
“Enrichment“: See above! Shouldn’t all learners have access to enriching learning experiences on a regular basis?
“21st Century Skills”: The premise of this phrase (the idea that learners should be prepared for the ever changing world we live in) is a good one. BUT, we have a responsibility to further clarify what we mean here. Let’s trade this ambiguous phrase for more thoughtful language that includes reference to innovation, creativity, flexibility, passion, and love – and let’s use it to describe the needs of all learners – ourselves included.