Buzzwords have been making the rounds since a while now, with new additions being added on so rapidly, it is important that we keep up. People use buzzwords to impress upon others that they are well informed on a particular subject. They are fashionable words and are also known as buzz phrases, buzz terms, or vogue words. We are constantly surrounded by buzzwords. Though detested by some, they are still widely used by most.
The English language consists of readymade blocks. There are certain standards to which we answer questions. Over the decades, however, that formula has changed. For instance, when someone says ‘Thank you’, the predictable response to it was ‘Don’t mention it’ or ‘Not at all’ which then changed to ‘You are welcome’. But now we hear people say ‘No problem’.
Buzzwords usually originate from an industry or a company but have leaked into the mainstream population. Numerous words have been taken from the IT industry and also from social media like Twitter and Facebook. ‘Ping’ which usually means two electronic gadgets communicating with each other, is now being used by the common population as ‘Ping me later’ meaning keep in touch. Other words in our day to day conversations that are coined by social media include phrases such as trending, unfriend, hashtag, and tag, among others.
Most times people confuse buzzwords with jargon and slang; however each differs from the other.
Jargon refers to words or phrases used by a particular group of people or by a profession. These words are difficult for people outside the group to understand. These words do not have their dictionary meaning; they have a completely different meaning to the people who use them. The easiest examples to understand jargon are normal words like boot, net and web. These words have special meaning to people who use the computer, the internet and the world-wide web.
Slang denotes words or phrases that are informal and are commonly used in speech rather than in writing. Slang is mostly used by a group of people of a certain age. It is an artistic expression of the lives or the life around the people who use it. Some examples of slang that are used in everyday life are, ‘My bad’ meaning that a person has made a mistake or was wrong. Take the word ‘busted’; it means being caught for something you shouldn’t be doing.
Buzzwords are used in very specific contexts. They are existing terms used in a different way than they were in the past. Every industry has a different set of buzzwords. The educational industry also sees no less of these words making their appearance. Buzzwords in the educational world are sometimes referred to by some as ‘Edubabble’. Teachers and heads of educational institutions must keep abreast of edubabble.
These are some of the most commonly used buzzwords in education…
Common Core - These are pre-set standards that provide teachers a guideline as to what skills or knowledge a student must have so they can prepare them for future success. It provides a clear and consistent understanding of what students must learn through an academic year.
Cooperative Learning – This is the method of teaching wherein teachers help students process information quickly by having them work in small groups. This way each person in a group can help other fellow members learn the information.
Instructional Scaffolding – This refers to the support a teacher provides a student when a new concept is introduced. They use this method to activate prior knowledge on the subject by asking students’ questions, making a model or conducting experiments on the subject.
Guided Reading – As the word suggests, teachers provide support to a small group of students using reading strategies for them to be great readers. This is mainly used in primary schools but can be adapted across all grades.
Brain Break – This is not a new concept. Teachers have long since been using this method. It refers to the quick short breaks a teacher gives her students at regular intervals. Physical activities are incorporated during these breaks to jumpstart the brain and help students have clear thinking.
The Six Traits of Writing – This defines the quality of writing of a student. By following these six traits writers can be more critical of their work to help them make improvements. The six traits that are followed while writing are Ideas - the main message, Organisation - the structure, Voice - the tone, Word Choice - convey meaning, Sentence Fluency - the rhythm and Conventions - mechanical. This approach helps writers look at writing one part at a time.
College- and Career-ready – This is something that comes up when every educated person prepares to enter their career path. There has always been a large disconnect with what students learn at school and what is required at a workplace, which includes critical thinking skills and communication skills. College- and career-ready is a phrase that implies that the student is ready to embark on their career course with all the skill requirements and armed with the necessary degrees.
Right Brain Thinking – Educators encourage their students to have right brain thinking as it involves critical thinking and to think outside the box when given various scenarios.
Real-World Projects – In order to bridge the gap between the education provided at school and real working environments, educators are asking students to work on projects that simulate real world issues. For example, a group of students in India came up with an out of the box solution of building a plastic roof for their school toilets using discarded plastic bottles. Students’ lateral thinking led them to come up with a simple solution for a real world issue.
Disruptive Technology – Any technology currently available in the market that can revolutionize the way students learn is disruptive technology. This could mean an iPad or a mobile tablet. Any technology that can enhance the learning experience of a student falls into this category.
Child-Centred Learning – Educators must teach the child and not the subject is what is followed here. Lectures and rote learning are rejected as this system believes that it ignores the child’s feelings and supresses their individuality.
Discovery Learning – This is one of the core principles of modern progressive schools where children are asked open questions and with the help of prior knowledge and experiments, exploration and manipulation the child discovers the answer through this process. It is considered a constructive approach to education.
Flipped Classrooms – This is where the traditional classroom is turned on its head. Students watch online lectures, take part in online discussions, carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of an instructor. A good example of flipped classroom would be the Khan Academy where video lessons are provided as content which leaves classroom time for discussions, research and in-depth discussions.
Design Thinking – This involves five stages, namely Empathize, Design, Ideate, Prototype and Test. A part of an enquiry-based curriculum empowering students to solve authentic challenges, its usage is growing in a number of schools worldwide.
Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy – Created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr Benjamin Bloom, it promotes higher forms of thinking in education in analysing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures and principles rather than the usual rote learning of remembering facts.
Flexible Classrooms – This approach removes students from passive learning environments and creates learning spaces designed to encourage student interaction. It involves engaging them in active learning techniques to help increase the retention and transfer of knowledge and have a deeper learning experience.
Whole-Child Approach – This method addresses the social emotional state of a student’s learning. This approach does not just aim to improve a child’s academic performance but also contributes to their overall development. It ensures long term success in all areas of a child’s life by making sure they are healthy, safe, supported, engaged and challenged.
Inclusive Education – This is a new approach to educating children with learning difficulties and disabilities with normal students all under one roof regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. This helps to promote a more tolerant society seeking to maximize the potential of all students.
Personalized Learning – The future of education will be transformed from teacher-centred to learning-centred as at present education focuses mainly on performance instead of learning. All aspects of education such as technology, curriculum, etc. will focus on the learner and make learning personal for him/ her.
Problem-Based Learning – A student or usually a small group of students are given a situation or task and are asked to solve it based on their prior knowledge. They are required to determine by themselves how they need to go about solving the problem. This encourages students to be interdependent and independent.
Peer Assessments – This allows students or their peers to grade assignments based on a provided benchmark by the teacher helping them better understand course materials and thus enhances higher thinking.
Makerspace Education – This is where DIY meets education. The core of makerspace is to use a pre-given set of tools or/and technology and other material to let the maker use their imagination to create something out of nothing and to explore one’s own interests.
Open Educational Resources – It refers to any form of educational material that is freely available on a public domain where anyone can use, copy and re-share. It can contain texts, lectures, projects, audios, videos and assignments.
There are thousands of buzzwords and with new ones being added every other day, they are here to stay whether the masses approve or not. The ones that are currently in use will change over the years and make way for new buzzwords. It is important to be up to date on these words or phrases as they have become a part of our daily language. Being aware of what is being used can only prove to be an asset to us.
This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of ScooNews magazine. Subscribe to ScooNews Magazine today to have more such stories delivered to your desk every month.
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