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03 February 2016 @ 10:35 am
eSCHEW oBFUSCATION  
I am growing tired of the edubabble of late. It is one thing for educators to use shorthand acronyms among ourselves. It is something entirely different when we seem to be creating edubabble so as to rebrand an idea and repackage it. Here is an example from a recent NCLE newsletter: http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/framework-capacity-building.

Deprivatizing? Really? Enacting? Shared Inquiry? This infographic could just as readily be labeled COLLABORATION. Then, the various aspects of collaboration could also receive simpler labels: observe, talk (or discuss), share, repeat. But then I could not use an asset inventory unless I use the new labels, right? Now I need new worksheets and checklists, and (I bet) anchor charts, etc.


There are numerous examples of this sleight of hand via edubabble. I joke sometimes that I would love to repackage something for the sake of sales (profits). Maybe we can give new labels to the parts of speech? Then we will need new texts and worksheets and posters for the classroom. Some eduformists have created new genres, new processes, new categories. Most of them are unnecessary. All seem to be profitable for those who rush to press with new and improved materials to cover them.

All this relabeling and repackaging does, IMHO, is distance what we do from students, parents, and the larger community. Instead, we should be working on eschewing the obfuscation: eliminating the edubabble, writing the content plainly, providing simple explanations.

All this comes on the heels of our state education agency pushing more and more requirements onto our plates. Our syllabi, already overcrowded and virtually meaningless to anyone outside of higher ed (except for assignments, points, grading scales, that is), now have to contain even more information. My syllabus for children's literature is over 13 pages long. Only one page is of interest to students. The content of that page: assignments (with links to examples and directions for completing them), grading scale, class policies (half of which are meaningless in an online forum; I mean, cell phone policy, really?).

Even the concept of having a syllabus seems a trifle outmoded and sort of wrong in this day of online instruction. I use an online platform to provide screencasts, sample assignments, etc. But, there still remains the need for a syllabus from the powers that be, those far removed from the classroom. Would it not be lovely if we could speak plainly, offer documents that are short and sweet and to the point, address the important aspects instead of all the minutiae?
 
 
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