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metacognition and constructivist approaches be damned, communications is about being understood

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On twitter a few days ago, a friend started a thread by posting a quote from a note kids took home from their first day back at a Fredericton elementary school.


Here's the line: "Our school vision is to enhance student learning through higher order thinking, metacognition and constructivist approaches to learning."


As might be expected, everybody who weighed in, me included, was critical, including one guy who read between the lines and offered, "Our schools vision is to Thesaurus the crap out of everything".


Had to chuckle at that because I think he is probably right.


The unfortunate part is that such a pretentious line would come from an educator, and probably someone senior enough that part of their responsibility is to set an example and tone for teachers in their school. So why in heaven's name would this person use such language? Does he (or she) not understand that the first rule of communication is to be understood? Is he that detached from the average parent of the school's children that he or she thinks they really talk like that?


Many years ago I learned two lessons from a journalism mentor that I have never forgotten – Never use a fifty-cent word when a five-cent word will do, and – write like you talk.


If the unidentified educator who drafted the note actually talks like that, I expect he sits alone in the lunchroom.


The question is why this educator felt a need to use all those fifty-cent words? Could be that that really is the way he converses – sorry, talks, with his peers. In which case his sin is not realizing that with a different target audience he needed to change his language.


Does it matter? Well, yes, it does. If he wants parents to understand what the school's vision is, it certainly matters. And he must, otherwise, why would he bother with the note in the first place. But because he failed to explain that vision in plain English, he enlightened few, if any.


Another adage comes to mind – never under-estimate a person's intelligence, or over-estimate their vocabulary.


Now, anybody have any idea what that's school's vision is?    


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