Translating eduspeak

The Economist:

IF YOU know what deep learning and functional skills are, then you are already on the way to understanding eduspeak. But there are other terms that must be grasped to attain an A* in the subject.
Satisfactory. One of the four possible judgments of the schools inspectorate (the other three are inadequate, good and outstanding). It means “unsatisfactory”. (“Inadequate” for its part means “dire”.) This explains the chief schools inspector’s pronouncement that satisfactory schools are “not good enough”.
Excellence and enjoyment are mutually exclusive. The first is used for what matters (literacy and numeracy), the second for what does not (everything else). “Enjoying reading” and “excelling in music” are howlers in eduspeak.
Non-statutory depends on context. It can mean “optional”, but in the National Primary Strategy, a set of “guidelines” on teaching literacy and numeracy, it means “obligatory”–unless a school wants to risk being deemed “satisfactory”.
Gifted and talented refer to the top 5-10% in academic and non-academic pursuits respectively, who are to be encouraged in their gifts and talents. The terms are necessary as a sop to middle-class parents concerned that their children are not being stretched enough. To deflect the charge of elitism, levelled by many teachers, the categories have proliferated to include the capacity to “make sound judgments”, to show “great sensitivity or empathy” or to be “fascinated by a particular subject”.

One thought on “Translating eduspeak”

  1. I enjoyed this article, but the author missed a few:
    Holistic assessment…An inaccurate and subjective method to grade children so as to find talent and academic success when in fact there is none.
    Life Long Learning….A popular phrase used to mitigate urgency in a school setting. As long as children can be said to be life long learners, it dispenses with the need to learn it right now.
    Balanced Literacy…..The phrase used to replace Mastery Learning and Outcome Based Education. An ingenious misnomer used to quash objection. After all, who could possible object to a balanced approach.
    Child Centered…..Making instruction loads of fun, and no faster than the slowest person in the room.
    Manipulatives…..Using toys to teach subjects that could be directly taught in a quarter of the time.
    Innovative or Progressive curricula…..Trying out something new because someone at the school went to a seminar and it sounded cool.
    Peer reviewed…..Finding people who agree with you and having them do some research to back up your claims.

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