When the semiotics get multimodal

If you missed the AERA (American Educational Research Association) convention in San Francisco, Rick Hess and Laura LoGerfo will bring you up to date on the education action.

Professors had unflinchingly tackled each of the five major fields of educational inquiry: imperialism; ghetto culture; hegemonic oppression and right-thinking multiculturalism, cyber-jargon; and the utterly incomprehensible. Sure, there was also some boring work on questions like student achievement and policy evaluation, but you only had to follow the crowds to see where the action was.

Prize for the longest and least comprehensible session title goes to: “Semiotics and Classroom Interaction: Mediated Discourse, Distributed Cognition, and the Multimodal Semiotics of Maguru Panggul Pedagogy in Two Balinese Gamelan Classrooms in the United States.”

Via Eduwonk.

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  1. I wonder if Alan Sokol’s at it again?

  2. Richard Nieporent says:

    I believe we have discovered what is wrong with the public school system. We have allowed retards to take over the educational establishment. This is self-parody. It we replaced these educational researchers with a group of chimpanzees we would not be able to distinguish the results. What they presented is not even wrong.* Think of it as a “word salad”**

    * The physicist Wolfgang Pauli when presented with an idea that was so devoid of intelligence commented that “it was not even wrong”.

    ** (From Wikipedia) In the mental health field, word salad is used to describe the symptom of confused, and often repetitious, language that is symptomatic of various mental illnesses. It is usually associated with a manic presentation and other symptoms of serious mental illnesses, such as psychoses, including schizophrenia. It describes the apparently confused usage of words with no apparent meaning or relationship attached to them. In this context, it is considered to be a symptom of a formal thought disorder.

  3. No, not really. That title is comprehensible and has meaning.

    It’s just that the topic isn’t very interesting or worthy of discussion at such a conference (it might make a decent paper, if there was some interesting conclusion or data in it), and that the title uses two dollar words when five cent words would be fine.

    It’s not meaningless, it’s just pointless use of jargon. Chimpanzees cannot, of course, use jargon.

    (That such jargon is used, in that manner, is itself an indictment of the conference, but not because it’s gibberish; it isn’t.)

  4. Sigivald wrote:

    that the title uses two dollar words when five cent words would be fine.

    How about the nickle version of the title then? After poking into the meaning of semiotics I’m inclined to disagree even with your fairly unenthusiastic defense of the session.

    Also, the AERA is looking for a Director of Social Justice and Professional Development. No word on what happened to the previous Director.

  5. “No word on what happened to the previous Director.”

    S/he/it was exposed as a dangerous reactionary – a threat to “social justice.” I heard s/he/it uttered the dreaded four-letter word “t-st.”

    This is a sad testimony to the hypnotic power of words. There really are people who equate multisyllabicity with profundity.

  6. Maguru, panggul, and gamelan presumably have meanings in Balinese. What language is the rest of the title?