Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ten Education Terms That Should be Banned in 2012

I live in a world where education terminology is thrown around so quickly, that it is easy to get lost in the jargon.  Sometimes parents look at teachers like they are speaking a different language.  I find that I am often trying to explain terms in "plain language" so parents know what is being said.  Some Education Terms just need to be banned all together.  They have either lost their meaning, are overused, confuse people or I just don't like them.  I don't disagree with meaning behind these terms, I just think we could do better without them.

  1. Highly Qualified Teacher: According to NCLB, a teacher who has obtained full state teacher certification or has passed the state teacher licensing examination and holds a license to teach in the state.  News Flash:  They are all Highly Qualified.  If they did meet this criteria they would not be teaching.  
  2. Inclusion: The practice of placing students with disabilities in regular classrooms. As far as I can see all regular education rooms are or should be inclusion.  There are so many conditions and disabilities that every room should be an Inclusion classroom. 
  3. NCLB (No Child Left Behind): Signed into law by President Bush in 2002, No Child Left Behind sets performance guidelines for all schools and also stipulates what must be included in accountability reports to parents. Maybe it is me, do we need a law that says we will not leave children behind?  Isn't our goal not to leave children behind?   If this law went away tomorrow, would educators begin picking which children we would "Leave Behind" and which ones we "Would Not Leave Behind?"  
  4. Whole Language: A teaching method that focuses on reading for meaning in context. It also doesn't teach children how to read.  An interesting concept and strategies any teacher can use, but completely ineffective.
  5. Bullying : Repeated negative behavior that a person uses to take advantage of someone with less power. The problem is many parents call every negative behavior "bullying."  I have no issue addressing any inappropriate behavior but bullying is long term negative behavior that is repeated.  If a child makes a face on a bus once to another student that is probably not bullying.
  6. Scaffolding: An instructional technique in which the teacher breaks a complex task into smaller tasks and supports students as they learn, and then gradually shifts responsibility for learning to the students.  I have no problem with this technique, except no one ever seems to know what it means or how to use it correctly in a sentence.  Sometimes it is a noun and sometimes it is a verb.  You just never know.
  7. Syllabication:  The act of breaking big words up into smaller parts so they can be pronounced and spelled more easily.  A fancy way of sounding out words one part at a time. 
  8. Phonological Awareness: Refers to an individual's awareness of the phonological structure, or sound structure, of spoken words. Basically does the child know his/her letter sounds. 
  9. Pedagogy: The study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of  instruction. So really pedagogy is just teaching. 
  10. Instructional Leadership: Principal's role in setting clear goals, allocating resources to instruction, managing the curriculum, monitoring lesson plans, and evaluating teachers. The instructional leader makes instructional quality the top priority of the school and attempts to bring that vision to realization.  The reason why I added this last one is that every principal wants to be an instructional leader. The problem is that all the regulations limit an principal's opportunity to really lead in this way.  Finally, a principal can be the best instructional leader in the world but poor management or administrative practices will get an instructional leader fired every time.

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