Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Simple, clear language...


flickr image via iUnique Fx ©
A good friend gave this newspaper clipping to me a while back…
The parents of a Houston high school student received a message from the principal about a special meeting on a proposed educational program.
It read, “Our school’s cross-graded, multi-ethnic, individualized learning program is designed to enhance the concept of an open-ended learning program with emphasis on a continuum of multi-ethnic, academically enriched learning using the identified intellectually gifted child as the agent or director of his own learning.”
The parent wrote the principal, “I have a college degree, speak two foreign languages and four Indian dialects, have been to a number of county fairs and three goat ropings, but I haven’t the faintest idea as to what the hell you are talking about. Do you?”
When I read this it made me think about the language I choose when talking to others, especially students, their parents and also to my colleagues. There is great value in simple words. We can so easily get caught up in the jargon surrounding teaching and learning. We should keep it simple, I think.
As a school administrator I vow to use simple, clear language in my communication with people at school.

5 comments:

  1. Great post Sean! I often wonder if we could just get our educational message down to answering a few questions for people.

    1. What will my child learn and how?
    2. Will my child be safe and taken care of and how?
    3. How will I know my child is learning and what do we do if he/she isn't?

    The rhetoric of edspeak is a tool of politicians and many ed leaders who haven't a clue as to "how" to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this! I was just watching the news and one story I watched and had NO idea what they were talking about. Communication is a funny thing.

    <3, New Follower
    Giveaways every day next week on A Taste of T

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Dave and Tanya.
    I joined my District colleagues yesterday to discuss the virtues of collaboration. As I participated in the discussion, I was struck again by the notion that taking away... boiling down to critical issues, is harder than adding on... piling on extra "stuff" to appear in control.
    With language, and action, simple, clear strategies have to be thoughtfully applied and reflected on to truly move things positively forward.
    It was very refreshing to have an opportunity to use simple, clear dialog among colleagues yesterday to move a more collaborative culture forward within my District.
    Thanks for reading (and following!)
    Cheers,
    Sean

    ReplyDelete
  4. With all that is going wrong in the world, our country, and our education system, simple, clear language is desperately needed!

    I was sent your way by @sandyhubbard and can already see that I will enjoy being around. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cheers, thank you Paula. Looking forward to your perspective.

    ReplyDelete

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