Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reflecting on Reflections

Professionals in many industries love to use jargon and puffed-up terminology to make what they do sound important and difficult -- and educators are no different. (Confession: I have used the phrase "instructional pedagogy" -- which means "the way you teach something" -- with a straight face, so I'm guilty, too.)

If you'd like to read a great example, read this article by New York Times journalist Samuel G. Freedman: "Upon Further Reflection, A Few Random Thoughts."

I laughed out loud.... But then I felt uneasy. As a teacher, I embraced the concept of "reflective thinking" at teacher school. It just sounds so scholarly, so deep. But upon reflection (ha), what other kind of thinking is worth teaching or encouraging? Knee-jerk, impulsive thinking? Shallow, half-hearted thinking? Scatter-shot thinking?

Anyway, it just made me wonder.

UPDATE: Can't get enough of edu-babble? Check out this bracing article by Martin A. Kozloff, Distinguished Professor, Watson School of Education, University of North Carolina in Wilmington (via Scary, but accurate. And for some fun, zip over to the Science Geek's Education Jargon Generator, which claims to be "particularly useful for people involved in writing reports for WASC accreditation." Hillarious.


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