Skip to main content

My List of Bad Words in Education

      For many reasons, I’m not normally a big fan of universal bans – i.e. calling something completely useless, without value or even counter productive.  Seems like absolutes are often dangerous.  But there are times, when the time has truly come for some things.  I think most of us would agree that areas of human rights, human dignity and freedoms are not something most of us want to compromise on or consider negotiable.
         Well, I don’t have anything that is nearly that important or crucial – at least on the global human level.  But maybe, in the world of school and education, there are some things that need to be completely eradicated and declared obsolete.  I don’t advocate burning of things, but have to admit I’m tempted here.
         So, as we approach another new year, I’m suggesting that the items on this list disappear forever from the education lexicon:

NOTE TAKING (at least how it’s often used)
         We have to be honest about this one.  Let’s face it, this is still mainly copying down what someone else says and doing nothing with it (study your notes – wow how engaging).  If we want to teach content, concepts, ideas or anything, we have about 1,000 ways better to do that than note taking.  Give it up.  It’s Sage on the Stage and you know it.  I’m not talking about storytelling, direct instruction, a great presentation or anything that can be personalized, interactive and truly educational.  But I am talking about blindly copying something down that a person says or writes.

PACKET
         There might not be another term that I loathe more than packet.  Its every implication is loaded with things that elicit thoughts like meaningless, mindless and busy work.  A packet is a pre-packaged or prepared collection of work sheets and busy work that students do for a certain degree of credit or a grade.  They are handed out to the student without much forethought and completed by the student without much thought.  It’s an ugly exchange of bad paper work.  Unfortunately, independent study and credit recovery have become synonymous with the packet.  A packet tells the student that this work you’re about to do is meaningless, irrelevant and sheer busy work.  It says complete this meaningless packaging of paper and we’ll award you points, a grade, credit or even a degree.  In the end, no one feels good about them.  There are no 21st skills involved in packet completion.   Unless we have huge needs for kindling or are raising puppies without advanced potty training, I suggest packets just go away.

STUDY GUIDE
         This term just reeks of the 70’s or even times much earlier.  It has my 7th grade written all over it.  The late Mr. Bandy just distributed them weekly like medicine.  We took the study guide and filled in the blanks from out text.  It never really evolved into anything.  It was busy work and a very low-level way of sifting through content.  There was no thinking, no analyzing and no response.  We just “filled in the blanks” as part of a larger “fill in the blanks” educational experience.  Sadly, there are people still handing these out today.  It seems productive and students have to be quiet – all part of the illusion of education.

WORK SHEET
         This is baby study guide or study guide Jr.  Study guides are merely a collection of worksheets.  So, the worksheet is just another example of the mindless teacher – student exchange.  Teachers are aware that that they are low level and devoid of true critical thinking and so are students.  In the end, they have been used to keep student busy - not thinking and learning.  When educators here the term work sheet, they should collectively cringe and even dry heave. 
BOOK REPORT
         Reading is great.  Writing is great.  Research is great.  Citation is important.  As you know, much or all of these are not present in most book reports – at least the ones I’ve seen.  Again, everything evolves and the book report needs to as well.  Let’s re-design it and re-name it.  OK?  Thanks.

WORD SEARCH
         Gamification is great.  But in the world of games, we have to do better than this 50’s children’s game of trying to develop vocabulary, etc. Enough said.

         Could there be more?  Sure.  Why don’t you create the rest?  It’s easy to do and it will be quite cleansing.  Try it!!!!




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Five Ways To Make All Students Into Lead Learners (Teachers)

It has been established long ago that the highest form of learning is teaching. When one is put in the position to teach others, one learns the content and concepts at the highest applied level in order to successfully communicate it to others. This reality has led many educators long ago to turn as much of the instruction in their classroom over to students through student presentations, projects and more. That being said, too many students still never have this opportunity to become Lead Learners - where they learn at the highest level by having the responsibility of teaching others. Here are five ways all educators can expand the opportunity for all students to learn at the highest level by all becoming teachers: STUDENTS AS PROFESSIONAL PRESENTERS
Again, students have been giving presentations in many cases for years in certain courses. I suppose even the early  years of Show & Tell were intended to have every student present, or tell a story. Well, we need to challenge all of ou…

10 Things That Must Change About Educators, Education

There are hundreds of things written daily regarding changes, reforms and new research in the profession of education. But much of this comes from outside entities (researchers, politicians, parents, leaders and others) aimed at educators. It’s time for educators to own the changes, thus owning the profession. We need to truly flip the whole concept of what it means to teach and be a true teacher.This can apply to all educators who understand that we have to redefine the profession.
     Here are my 10 things that must change about the profession and the practitioners:


Professionalism - Teachers need to claim and lead the professional standards of their own profession. Just like in the profession of law enforcement, the system cannot tolerate or endure bad professionals. Cops need to police their own and so do teachers. For too long, we have collectively accepted that there are going to be a certain percentage of just plain “bad” teachers. The fact is that they not only harm the profes…

Let's Drop 'College Ready' and Be 'Career Ready'

Education may not consistently be good at many things. But, it does seem to be great at both acronyms (CTE, PBL, EDI, ELL, SPED, PLC and so on)  and catch phrases (21st century learning, personalized learning, future ready). One of the more popular catchphrases as of late is College & Career Ready. Indeed, the ‘Career’ part is a more recent addition. For years, we really just said (and lived) College Ready. I’m here to suggest it’s time to drop the College Ready and only use Career Ready. Don’t get me wrong. I do think almost everyone needs some sort of post-secondary training, especially in our new globalized economy. But I am suggesting that we use Career Ready only knowing that one’s career path should dictate their post-secondary education or training path. Additionally, it will allow us to focus on the requisite skills and planning required for young people to have lifelong employability in the 21st century. One of the early questions to me is what does college ready really me…