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Argot Used by Educators


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Robert Heiny

Argot Used by Educators

A Learners' View (ALV) is of Choices on the Shortest and Fastest Path to Learning, the Oxygen Of Social Life.

EDUCATORS USE A VOCABULARY to discuss and plan for learning that makes sense to educators. From the view of learners (ALV), their vocabulary lacks the precision required to convert those words to lessons that accelerate, increase, and deepen learning promptly for all students through lessons, as well as through school practices and public policies. Thus, the vocabulary of educators qualifies as argot (jargon).

Definition: 1. a Vocabulary that fails to direct or misdirects attention from accelerating, increasing, and deepening (AIDing) learning promptly. b A social process.
2. a Preliminary observations and expectations about education and learning. b Vocabulary that precipitates discussion or argument.
3. Discussions about education processes and results.
4. (Tech.) V > R; image conveyed by vocabulary exceeds likely results as measured by learning acceleration, increases, and deepening. b Likely difference in results between the use of the vocabulary and descriptions grounded in experimental behavioral and social science research reports.

Synonyms: DISCUSSIONS that give priority to inferences and speculation over facts grounded in experimental research results. THEORIES of learning and needs not grounded in choices of learners.

Antonyms: DESCRIPTIONS grounded in experimental behavioral and social science research reports of choices people use while learning. TECHNICAL-SCIENTIFIC VOCABULARY and practices that that result in all students learning all lessons promptly when applied.

Simile: Using imprecise vocabulary in education is like physicians describing veins and arteries in the human body as plumbing and then using a plumber's pipe wrench during surgery to try to correct an aneurism.

Highlight: I > R (Image of results from teaching is greater than measured results from teaching).

1. Accountability of teachers is not fair v. Teachers are professionals and should be left alone to be treated as above accountability, because we all care and try; it's hard being a teacher; we're underpaid; ...
2. Collaboration v. I don't know how to do it alone.
3. Common core standards don't fit my students' needs v. I don't teach to those standards.
4. Cooperative learning v. Lessons are loose enough so that students fill in the gaps by teaching each other how to meet the teacher's objective of each lesson.
5. Exciting lessons v. Gives priority to emotions over technical instruction grounded in what people do while learning.
6. Experience based teaching v. I continue doing what I've done before; it works for me.
7. Individualized learning v. I don't believe or know the experimental research literature that describes common choices people make while learning.
8. Learning is fun v. Entertainment, also called edutainment, trumps discipline.
9. Lessons v. A colloquialism based in folklore and theory, without an experimental scientific basis of results beyond random distribution o learning. presentations by teachers who try to overcome random distribution of learning through various procedures.
10. Life long learning v. Not necessarily meeting specific learning objectives in each lesson.
11. My students v. Learners in classes I instruct.
12. My class and classroom v. I teach where assigned by Administration.
13. No Child Left Behind (NCL8) is ridiculous v. I don't know how to teach lessons everyone will learn.
14. Project based learning v. My lessons do not necessarily identify specific learning outcomes I want learners to learn.
15. Research-based teaching v. I can reference at least one study that supports my approach to teaching, but my lessons do not necessarily apply the methods or results of that research.
16. Standards based lesson v. Lessons grounded in what learners do while learning.
17. Standardized tests are not fair v. My judgment of what to teach is more important than what standardized tests measure.
18. Students, not teachers, are responsible for their learning v. I design each lesson so I have confidence that all students will learn it.
19. Testing interferes with teaching v. I don't schedule lessons to allow for measurement of academic progress of students.
20. They're not ready to learn when they come to school v. My lessons begin beyond the skills those students demonstrate.
21. That's just behaviorism, and I don't believe in or use it v. I don't know how to apply results of experimental behavioral and social science research results that describe learning; or I rely on theories about learning and interpretations of them (hermeneutics).
22. We need more money to increase learning v. Pay me more to do what I agreed to do for what I receive now.

Comment: People associate imprecise language with slang (jargon) of specialized groups of people. At same time, educators frequently use these words and phrases in ways that can be described as "word salads," that is strings of vocabulary that differ from technical or scientific facts.

This comment results from observations, from a learners' view (ALV), while talking with and listening to educators and reading their prop0sals, lesson plans, evaluations, as well as blogs. Imprecise vocabulary appears most likely to occur among educators and their supporters unfamiliar with technical-scientific foundations of learning. Their practice appears to ration learning of students in classrooms of teachers and administrators who use this imprecision.

Imprecise Vocabulary as Argot
As important as imprecise vocabulary may be for daily human interaction, it does not necessarily meet criteria of increasing learning consistently for all students. That qualifies those words and their patterns for examination as argot, not professional jargon.

It's unclear the extent to which imprecise speaking and writing is habit, self-serving, a political necessity, or personal preferences.

The result is that few teachers can tell anyone in or out of schools accurately and precisely which words, actions, or other prompts in a 50 minute class period lesson increase the odds that all learners in class will learn that lesson promptly.

Nor can they say how they could have offered that same lesson in 30 minutes, 10 minutes, or even 20 seconds with all of the same students learning from the shorter instruction.

Arguably, educators who use argot routinely for planning, instructing, and assessing lessons ration learning of students. Normal curve distributions of results of teaching demonstrate this point. Such rationing is unnecessary.
Rationing results from educators misdirecting attention from a learners' view of learning to other views of what educators do routinely. This has merit, but not necessarily for AIDing learning promptly.

When viewed as argot, educators conceal results from over a century of experimental behavioral and social science research that demonstrate ways teachers can accelerate, increase, and deepen (AID) learning promptly and sometimes dramatically.

Vocabulary with Technical-Scientific Precision

Experimental behavioral and social scientists have demonstrated that vocabulary grounded in more precise descriptions from experimental studies will more likely result in students learning those lessons. Many if not most teachers do not apply results from these studies to plan, instruct, or assess lessons. It's a literacy of learning that has dropped from the desks of educators and their supporters, including among professional development specialists in and out of most colleges of education in public and private universities and funding agencies.

Technical-scientific literacy provides the stems of precise ways to assess and compare teacher and school performance at the lesson level with results of that instruction. It contrasts with the vocabulary that emphasizes so called humanistic words and patterns of describing what teachers and their supporters do to arrange for learning to occur.
Related Reading

  1. A Learners' View (ALV) of Learning
  2. Folklore about Learning
  3. Language of Learning (LANOL)
  4. Technical-Scientific Literacy of Educators (TSLE)
  5. NESI Conversation 10: Rationed Learning: …'Yes, but … ' Report Revisited

Related Resources

  1. Argot
  2. Hermeneutics
  3. Word Salad
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