Here's to authentic learning

Joe Williams’ Eduwonk drinking game is posted.

The rules are simple: Each time you hear one of these often-used words from the education world, take a swig of whatever makes you happy. If you have no beverage (as often happens when these words come up) feel free to giggle, as long as you promise to do it in a manner that is completely condescending to those around you!

Naturally, “rubric” tops the list with “paradigm” a close second.

17. Self-directed learning (Sounds too much like something that causes hair to grow on palms.)

Read ’em all and construct your own meaning.

About Joanne


  1. They left out “high stakes testing”.

  2. I have quite a list of these buzzwords, some specific to my school but others just general education terms.

    If I could find some software that would randomly distribute these phrases, I’d make Bingo boards out of them and pass them out at staff meetings. I could just hear my principal say the phrase “standards-based assessment” and have 4 different people in the meeting shout out “Bingo!”

  3. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    I’ve been a publick skool teacher since 1988, so this is but a tiny fraction of all the educrat buzzwords I’ve had to endure, ad nauseum….
    A few of my favorites (with translation in parentheses)

    1. bilingual education (monolingual Spanish)
    2. directed instruction (teaching)
    3. diversity (only of ethnicity, not thought)
    4. whole language (half-assed reading instruction in the primary years)
    5. realia (instructional toys,pictures, models)
    6. learning disabled (slow learner)
    7. self-esteem (feeling good about oneself withoutthe need for accomplishment or effort)
    8. tolerance (indoctrination)
    9. constructivism (narcissism ; solipsism)
    10.reform (untested social engineering fads)
    11.educator (teacher)
    12.facilitator (passive teacher)
    13.administrator (usually a failed, disgruntled or politically ambitious ex-teacher)
    14.invented spelling (invented education)
    15.Unified School District (anything but)

  4. 17. Self-directed learning (Sounds too much like something that causes hair to grow on palms.)

    Let me tell you about real self-directed learning. When I was a tyke, I spent much of my spare time in libraries, alone or with trusted friends, and learned more than at school. I doodled and wrote stories on shoeboxes. I built things in my (parents’) basement, and mixed chemicals in the back yard, and learned. I learned from my accidents and mistakes, too, and it never killed me.

    (My school-sanctioned peers, OTOH, nearly did kill me. So much for “socialization”. But that’s another story.)

    How about we add:

    16. Socialization (conformity and mindless obedience through vicious peer bullying)

  5. I didn’t see the word “strategy” anywhere on the list. That seems like an unfortunate omission.

    “Strategy” is such a useful word.

    It suggests the broad, sophisticated view. It invites ill-defined but important-sounding goals. It has just a hint of military forcefulness and focus.

  6. My son was complaining about “motivational” meetings at work, so I asked him if people played buzzword bingo. He’d never heard of it, but got the concept instantly. Incidently, it should be possible to write an Excel macro using RAND to generate the boards.

    As for “socialization”, whenever people mention it I ask them if they’d read the canonical text on peergroup socialization among schoolchildren, “Lord Of The Flies”.