Week 12: Ed Jargon April Madness

Week 12 Reflection:

(See the Week 12 “worksheet” below this reflection.)

This week’s discussion of educational jargon as a term itself highlighted the nature our many views and interpretations of various jargon. As I shared below, when Sunday came I was not sure what to do for the entire week, had a bit of a personal agenda but tried to reserve that in response to the community’s responses. What I did feel is that our words we use in education adopt various meanings, usages, and examples of what they “look like.” I wondered if we are critical enough in our choice of words to truly community our educational ideas, or if I get too caught up in semantics? I wondered who shapes these words, for what motives, to what ends, and what responsibility or duty we have in forming these shapes. I also selfishly wondered how many people felt the same or different than me regarding some words such as grit and rigor. And finally, as moderator of this unique Twitter chat, one I’ve realized in recent weeks I should have been more involved in (I’ve been on an intermittent Twitter break for a while), I wondered to what degree I should act as facilitator toward my own desired outcomes versus a facilitator responding purely to where the learners “want” to go, however I may interpret that “want.” Therefore I started with Question 1:

“What purpose does/should educational jargon serve, and how/when is it (in)appropriately used?”



Week 12 “Worksheet”:

(Does that term spark any feelings in anyone?)

Full Searchable Archive of 591 #slowchated Week 12 Tweets

Here’s the recipe I use if you’d like to set up the same for yourself. I then copied all notes into a new, shared notebook for posterity. The notebook may be searched

IFTTT Recipe: Twitter favorites to a new note in Evernote notebook with tag 'favorite'. connects twitter to evernote


I am an unapologetic word lover. Semantics, subtleties, origins, context, subtext, rhetoric, intent, and so much more regarding the usage of words mean something to me. I sometimes think too deeply about them. I sometimes misstep by not thinking enough about them.

I’ve been thinking lately about educational jargon: its necessity, usage, misuse, overuse, abuse, effects, etc.

A week or so ago I stumbled upon the Educational Jargon Generator. Go ahead, take a moment, click on that hypertext and have some fun. But then come back…

While there is more to come, and while that ‘more’ will be in some part informed and shaped by the learners of the #slowchated community and in some form shaped by my continued working of the ideas racing through my head, I wanted to give you all something to get started with in thinking about this week’s topic: EDUCATIONAL JARGON!!!

Some Pre-Reading:

Things to be thinking about:

  • Jargon you love, most agree with, feel there’s a place in education for.
  • Jargon you can’t stand, that makes you cringe when you read or hear it, that you’d like to replace or rid education of altogether.
  • Ways to address the misuse/abuse or educational jargon OR other ways to express it/alternative methods to the same route.


 Day 1 VERY BRIEF initial summary of points that appear to have consensus:

  • Jargon is necessary, discipline-specific vocabulary to efficiently express more complex ideas/concepts, and is used appropriately among like professionals who have a shared meaning/understanding of the jargon.
  • Jargon is misused when with those not “in the know,” or those without the shared meaning, e.g., parents, public, non-educators, lay people.
  • One using jargon should know it well, be able to teach/explain it simply and clearly, and know his audience when using it.
  • The term “jargon” tends to spark negative connotations among people; though, as noted above, there is consensus that jargon has a necessary place among each domain.
  • Jargon that is misused, co-opted for ulterior motives, or otherwise overused/abused may be called “buzzwords” and may be what contributes to the negative connotation.

Resources Added:

All that being said, we we move into Day 2, why don’t we consider the following?

Day 2/Question 2:

OR, rephrased:

A rephrased Q2: What are a few of your favorite things in ed (likely ed jargon), such as initiatives, programs, ideas, theories? #slowchated

Day 2 Summary & List:

Day3/Question 3:

Day 3 Summary/List:

Brief Summary:

  • Jargon (or the ideas they represent) are opposed by some while supported by others above
  • Overuse appears to move a valid term into the buzzword category
  • Some appear to approach with a negative connotation toward any jargon, while others firmly support jargon as an economical means of communication among professionals in a given domain
  • There is questioning of how jargon comes to be, how it is agreed upon, whom to trust in defining it, and who is to say/define it.

> Oppose, buzzword, or clarifying/needs clarification:

Other Resources Added:

Day 4/Question 4:

UPDATE 5:27 EST/EXPLANATION: I feel I made this week’s chat convoluted or like it is somehow spinning around the same stuff. I also feel like there’s some question/wondering of where this is going, what I am up to here, etc. Allow me to share some background: When I saw last week #slowchated was in need of some moderators, I volunteered. At that time I was thinking the topic would be resilience, and I hoped to explore this term and how we might foster it, recognize it, and honor it in kids, in opposition to seeking to teach “grit.” So my topic would be “Resilience.”

Then I was thinking more on vigor, and my preference to seek and foster vigorous learning experience for children, as opposed to rigorous ones. Then I thought, what if other people have their words or jargon they’d like to clarify, challenge, remove from our lexicon. At about the time of these thoughts I stumbled on the Educational Jargon Generator, which, while it is satirical, got me thinking on the terms we use to convey ideas in ed, who shapes and drives them, are we critical enough of their usage, and what impacts do their connotations, origins, and other elements have.

I hadn’t planned anything from there, and was waiting to hear what weeks needed a moderator. Then I got word on Saturday I would start on Sunday. Thus without any plans in place, and then with all kinds of ideas flowing, I just started in on it. All this led to imagining an Ed Jargon Cage Match, or Ed Jargon April Madness, and the Buzzword Bingo game, thinking it would might be fun to play these while also messing around with the jargon generator. But I also want to be respectful of people’s various views of these terms. What is for one a buzzword, is for another a key concept that drives their work. And I did not want to define the terms for everyone myself. I wanted the #slowchated community to do so. And while we have generated a list of words people love and oppose in ed, something about it all doesn’t seem to fit what I had thought it might turn into.

Perhaps I failed to shape the questions the right way. Perhaps my original ideas and progression to this point were off to begin with. But each day I have not been sure what would be next, have had a variety of ideas on where it might go based on responses, but have tried to respond to the prior day’s discussion, the group thus informing the topic’s evolution.

Either way, we are here, having considered what place jargon has in our lexicon, when it should be used, and when it is abused/misused. We have two lists of jargon we love in ed and those we challenge, with a bunch of links and viewpoints along the way. And I still wonder how these words shape our practice, how our practice shapes these words, what control have we to influence these, and what is imposed upon us, and so many other thoughts related to this.

And the habits of mind I shared below for today’s question I authentically wanted to share to benefit all us, as their pointed focus has already changed how I critique and analyze trends, policies, and practices in ed. But when I tried to respond to them myself this afternoon, it was convoluted to do so, especially within tweets. Thus I share below a revised, simplified question.

But I also ask you, the #slowchated community: Where would you like to go with this in the next two days? I would like to leave resilience for another week, if I could return to focus on an in-depth chat on just resilience.

Original Day 4:

I am currently enrolled in a Legal Issues in Policy Making course. We utilize four habits of mind to explore legal and  policy issues, and what are often jargon terms. These four habits of mind are:

  1. The scales (think scales of justice): How are they currently (im)balanced? “Why” leads to 2, 3, & 4
  2. Stakeholders for & against: Who benefits? What are the motives?
  3. Context (the onion, with many layers): all facts: laws, policies, stats, research
  4. Environment (the cloud, like weather, not control over it, but it influences the first three): typically economy, emerging technology, broad issues far beyond scope of the focus but influencing the focus

Using these habits of mind to guide us, let us drill down deeper into some of the jargon we’ve identified, or others that might arise. To whatever degree the 140 enables, and perhaps we can push that degree, choose a word/idea you love to love or love to hate or somewhere in between, and let’s discuss them further through these habits of mind. Ready, set, go!

(Look to Day 2 and Day 3 summaries/lists for ideas, patterns, emerging questions.)

Therefore, Q4 is:

Q4: Using the 4 noted habits of mind, explore an idea, policy, practice, etc (the ‘what’ behind the jargon). Let’s push back on each other and drill down into what/why it means.

Resources/Links shared:



Day 5/Question 5:

For those tired of talking “jargon,” my apologies. I fear this week’s topic (and the convoluted nature of yesterday’s questions) has tired some. But I also tend toward being a bit over-sensitive to others. That being said, let’s have a fun “break” today as we head into Day 6, the final day. A couple folks have shared some of their results from the Ed Jargon Generator. How about if we do this?

It has been clearly noted during this week there is a need to put jargon into lay terms for those not “in the know”: students, parents, general public, etc. Let’s each put these skills to the test…

  1. Visit the Ed Jargon Generator and discover a priceless gem of a jargon-laden sentence. Quote it and translate it in one tweet.
  2. Then tweet a lay translation, your interpretation of it, as A5.2.
  3. Repeat as desired. Perhaps different sentences/translations could be organized as 5.1 #1/5.2 #1,… 5.1 #2/5.2 #2


Day 6/Question 6:

B’dee, b’dee, b’dee, that’s all, folks.


  1. You asked for it!
    1. You are doing an incredible job this week. I love the topic-although it does seem repetitive at times-what doesn’t on twitter?
    2. You have illicited deeper thought and more responses by the comments and questions you have added along the way.
    3. For having little planning time your links and resources are off the hook! I am already sharing them with people! Thanks!
    4. This weeks chat has grown organically and with humor-it has been fun.
    5. Q4…hmmm…Q4…well, I think it just had too many parts. I love the question and the digging it requires but it was just too much for a tweet or even a series of tweets. I tried to answer it once and never came back to it because I was too busy.
    6. At times I have felt a little confused during the chat due to my own inadequacies but I’m okay with being confused because it gives me something to try to figure out.

    I really appreciate your hard work this week and already this chat has impacted the words I use and don’t use. I am thinking more about the jargon I use or don’t use. Already, I have a cringed a couple if times when I had to use jargon that I felt I no longer agreed with as a result of your chat. Thank you for sharing your reflective process with us and being open to feedback. You must be a great teacher!

    1. Thank you, Seena. That feedback helps and means a lot to me. I appreciate your time and thought in sharing it. Perhaps I tried to fit too many ideas into one week’s chat and topic. Perhaps not. Either way I am learning from it, hopefully others are as you shared you are, and I am grateful for all the participation and this shared process we are in.

      And while I’ve let other responsibilities and breaks from Twitter divert me from this wonderful chat over the preceding weeks, I am committed to more regularly participating in future weeks, having now experienced the thought and care moderators invest in our shared learning.

      Thanks again for your feedback. Shawn

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