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There are a good many things that frighten me about the field of education right now, but few things bother me more than the fact that many people are throwing the words of our profession around with reckless abandon.
Words matter, and we need to consider them carefully.
Our profession matters, and the words we use and the way we use them influences our practice.
Words break, and when they do, important ideas shatter right along with them. This is how thoughtless people get at their insides, rewiring them in all sorts of crazy ways, often for their own purposes.
Many who know better have stopped using some words almost entirely.
We know they’ve been kidnapped and tortured.
We know that they aren’t the same anymore.
We know that the world has turned against them as a result.
We also know that our profession is suffering for this, and yet, we remain silent.
It’s so much easier this way, isn’t it? All of us are tired.
The problem is, when we begin redefining things, it’s hard to separate research-based facts from some people’s fiction.
These are our words. When we allow them to be twisted into forms they’ve never taken before, we allow the corruption of our profession.
How many words are you afraid to show allegiance to right now, for fear that you’ll take a beating or start a war?
I can think of seven words and a bunch of reasons why I need to reclaim each of them: standard, assessment, data, grit, play, reform, and rigor.
How about you?
Which words in the above list would you like to reclaim? Any others?
More important: how do we gain enough power to make that happen?
How do we start that kind of movement?
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A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at Angelastockman.com.