“Artspeak”, meet “Edspeak” – same S#!+, different pile.

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. —George Orwell

That art at least discusses ‘artspeak’ is refreshing. Education should take a lesson and take a cold hard look at ‘edspeak’ too. Ed-types are forever coining new terms that almost instantly become “THE” new thing that everyone-who’s-anyone uses and knows about.

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. – John Ray, naturalist

  • Whether it’s actually new or not seems to be irrelevant.
  • Whether or not there is any actual evidence to support this new best thing, is irrelevant.
  • One can almost guarantee that this new best thing is going to become a motherhood (edu-hood?) issue: everyone will begin to talk about it and everyone will be doing it.

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood. – William Penn

A few examples:

  • Flipped Classroom (can you say, apprenticing?)
  • Multiple Intelligence (no evidence, but VERY popular)
  • _______-Thinking (fill in the blank with whatever you like – as if we can teach ‘ways of thinking’).
  • Blended Learning (isn’t ALL learning a blend of multiple approaches?)
  • Edutainment (code for crappy software that teachers think/wish/hope is “fun” – even though many educators believe that education and fun are incompatible).
  • Mutil-Modal Professional Learning (Would anyone ever claim that they DON’T do this?)

I would never use a long word, even, where a short one would answer the purpose. I know there are professors in this country who ‘ligate’ arteries. Other surgeons only tie them, and it stops the bleeding just as well. —Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94)

Note: There IS an Edspeak Jargon Generator (SHHHHHH! Don’t tell the fine folks at the Ed conferences.) It’s kind of telling that it was produced by science teacher. I’m pretty sure almost NO education academics would dare do something like this. They could never bear to expose just how thin most of their “theory” and practice actually is, and how devoid of actual meaning much of their jargon is.

The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words. ~Hippocrates

ATTENTION “Educationists everywhere (but ESPECIALLY those in the Academy):

If I make a loony statement – “chronormativity both negates and releases binary hegemonies” – then follow with an in-text citation (Authority, 2017), it looks as if I am referring to established fact. But I may be referring to a sessional instructor at Simon Fraser who published in an online journal called Radical De-Everything. The source and its persuasiveness needs to be addressed in the text itself.

Let’s stop pretending this language reflects “research.” Let the reader decide whether an idea is plausible or implausible by explaining it, not by presenting it as established fact. Let’s have an end to academic artspeak – and while we’re at it, start letting art speak for itself.

The reader should decide whether an idea is plausible or implausible by explaining it, not by presenting it as established fact.

The point of this dialect, the researchers claim, is simply to show insider status, to exclude those without the proper credentials or background from the conversation.

Source: Let’s stop pretending academic artspeak reflects actual research

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