Work Stuff

Can we talk?

There have been many posts that cover the Word of the Year (“they” is the Merriam-Webster choice, while Lynneguist suggests “knock-on” and “gotten“).  This isn’t that post.

No, this is a post about words that I would gladly not hear again in their current context.  Words that have become part of our educational lingo, or business lingo, that are the verbal equivalent of nails on a blackboard (for me – ymmv).

In my pre-librarian life, I worked for a company that was loosely affiliated with Landmark Forum.  This company did a great number of professional training sessions and – I suspect – helped Forum-speak creep into our professional lives.  As a librarian, I’ve kept my old HS dictionary to help show students how language changes but asking them to look for the word “mouse” and to notice the lack of the definition they’d be most familiar with.  As an editor, I used to drive my authors crazy by trying to edit out the jargon and convoluted language they’d put in, under the belief that if someone outside the profession can’t/doesn’t understand what you’re saying, what good is it?  Example?  Just look at the current AASL Standards and ask someone what they mean.

So, these words?  Lean in (popularized by that book, but now used for anything that is difficult).  Unpack (what’s wrong with analyze, assess, discuss?  leave unpacking for luggage).  Name (as in “let’s name the issues” – I remember when we used to identify them).  Work (“doing the work” rather than working on an issue).  And now we’ve started to talk about interventions instead of “new methods” or “changes to pedagogy/program” and artifacts instead of… I’m not sure what, except they’re the things we’re created to use during our interventions.

Sitting in faculty meetings, or any other meetings, hearing people use and reuse these words is torture.  The only relief will be the next series of words that we start misusing.

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