For “whatever” reasons, educators lace their conversations and presentations with metaphors and similes that clutter rather than clarify their point. Meris Stansbury suggests a list of 10 what she refers to as “edubabble,” including such references as 21st century, career ready, and what seems like that argot real-world/project-based/inquiry-based.
On second thought, two things appear underway. First, the originators of these terms appear to be trying to attract the attention of frequently inattentive educators with memorable catch phrases that others, they hope, will remember, if not repeat.
If you are one of those inattentive educators and don’t appreciate this inarticulate tweaking of you earways, during your next professional development meeting, try this little exercise borrowed from Toastmasters International practices.
Toastmasters assign someone each meeting to count the number of “aaaaa”s (and other time fillers speakers use) and to report that count during closing exercises.
You count the number of what you choose as argots or edubabble used during meetings you attend, and report that count, respectfully, of course, to the speaker or whoever arranged for that speaker.
Then, post that count on a chart that identifies all of the scheduled dates for the year of PD, etc. meetings. Position the chart prominently somewhere that other school educators will see. After several postings, point a small blue arrow at the session with the fewest edubabbles and argots. Also point a small red arrow at the highest number.
Others, including the U.S. Air Force, have found this kind of charting draws attention and leads to reducing the unwanted and unnecessary things identified by the red arrow.
Second, and a good thing, some speakers use buzzwords as a way to show they know the latest news about teaching and learning. At an extreme level of use, a therapist might see these speakers as crying out for attention.
At the same time, such buzzwords may be used as placeholders until the speaker or listener comes up with a descriptor of something relevant to what people do while learning. (Why else would educators exist?) Placeholders are useful reminders of an incomplete practice, a problem to try to fix.
At their core, educators try to fix the problem of learners not learning as much as possible for them to learn.
Kudos, Big Blue Arrow, educators for trying to increase learning. Little red arrow for continuing to use the same argot for so long that others refer to it as edubabble.