Buzzwords vs. Back-to-the-Basics

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Buzzword – “an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen” (Merriam- Webster Dictionary)

Education is full of buzz words. Here are some of the most common with my definitions.

Differentiation – no more one-size-fits-all in education but designing lessons with individual learning styles and needs in mind

Cooperative learning – because if one person is off task, the action of grouping him or her with friends will definitely help him copy focus

Rigor – interestingly enough derived from the term “rigor mortis” describing the stiffness of a body after death – I am sure there are all kind of education parallels here but will save that for another post

Flipped classroom – in an effort to make sure students are fully engaged, teachers stand on their heads while teaching

Grit – with cheese and lots of butter please

College and career ready – GROW UP!!

Seriously, these buzzwords are important as the landscape of education is continuously changing to keep up with our ever-changing student population. I, in fact, use many of these research-based strategies (buzz) in my class and strongly believe teachers have an obligation to stay current in pedagogy and grow in the art of teaching. While educators grow, however, we must anchor ourselves and our practices in the non-trendy, non-flashy, and non-buzzing words that produce results. I propose the following words become the “new” education buzzwords:

Reading. Open a book (those hard bound pieces of cardboard covering a collection of papers with words on it) and spend time reading and thinking about what you are reading.

Writing. Take the thoughts from your brain and push them out onto a sheet of paper using a pencil or pen. This requires slowing down long enough to think and organize thoughts.

Problem solving. Practice makes perfect. (I need a math teacher to help me out here).

My first three proposed buzzwords remind me a lot of “reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

Accountability. Students are responsible for their own work and learning. No parent excuses.

Work ethic. There are not short cuts or magic pills to learning.

Self esteem. Students value themselves because they have worked hard for something and accomplished it.

Stay current. Look for different ways to help your student learn at home. Experiment with different methods in the classroom. But always embrace the tried and true to prepare your students for life.

What is one way you can encourage your student(s) to engage in a “back to the basic” strategy this week?

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