Words

Note to self:

Some words take on meaning as pejoratives, used to denigrate a different perspective without engaging with the substance of that perspective. “Worksheet”, “traditional”, “rote”, many more. Without context, these words aren’t very useful. If I give my students a piece of paper with three problems on it, I might be labeled as giving them a worksheet devoid of understanding. If I cut those problems up and tape them around the room for students to work on in groups, suddenly I’m at the pinnacle of progressive pedagogy. The substance is the same, but the surface features are used to label one approach as better than the other, regardless of the specific context or my goals in that moment.

It’s easy to put someone else down by labeling their teaching with words that have been weaponized by a particular ideology. It’s much harder to speak in specifics about how different pedagogies play out in different classrooms — who they support, who they leave behind, how they build off of each other, and what they actually look like on a minute-by-minute and day-by-day basis. To do so means to value reality over rhetoric, and substance over style. I want to do more of that.

2 thoughts on “Words

  1. Michael Pershan

    It’s easy to put someone else down by labeling their teaching with words that have been weaponized by a particular ideology. It’s much harder to speak in specifics about how different pedagogies play out in different classrooms.

    Well said!

    Reply

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