Monday, November 18, 2013

What's in a Name???

Has the culture surrounding existing programs and practices skewed our view of new ideas and programs? Could a simple change in our everyday vocabulary be part of a solution? Can changing our everyday terminology help shift us away from "schooling" and towards learning? Could reframing our terms that are built on tradition re-set our existing schema and help empower individuals and groups to change what goes on within classrooms, schools and districts?

Would anything change if…

  • Educators no longer planned "lessons," but rather plan "Experiences"
    • Good morning class, for today's experience we will…

  • "Classroom" became "Learning Area," "Learning Lab," or "Experience Center"
    • Will Jane Doe please report to Learning Area #12…

  • "Faculty rooms" became "Collaboration Labs"
    • So I was eating in the downstairs Collab. Lab, I got into a great conversation with Dave and we both realized we wanted to help our students do X, so we are going to try Y next week.

  • "Advisory" or "Homeroom" became "Advocacy"
    • I don't know about subject/career/interest X, but I'd be more than happy to help you get what you need in order to learn more.

  • "Teacher" became "Learning Facilitator" and "Administrator" became "Learning Advocate"
    • As we budget for next year what resources do you and your learners need?

  • Departments” redefined their expertise, priorities, and the broad array of skills they taught by no longer summarizing with one word descriptions related solely to content?
    • Too many possibilities to mention. I believe this would help us break out of our traditional, and all too often unconnected silos opting instead to create cross-disciplinary learning opportunities

I am not naive enough to think that a simple change of verbiage can affect decades of engrained practices. However, harnessing the power of words is an underutilized tool that I believe can help educators focus on what is important -learning.

How many changes would occur if we simply put "learning" at the forefront of our vocabulary?

Even more so, what does it say about us if we don't?

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