Buzzwords

I've had the same conversation with two different people in two different schools districts, in two different states.  They'd each been in their respective job/district for about 15-years.  What they said (paraphrased) was this, "The old guys used to tell me, 'just wait, it'll all come around'.  And then I noticed that what I'm hearing now is about the same thing I heard my first year of teaching, just in a different package."  

What they meant, reduced down like a delicious sauce, is this: students need to learn the same things they've always needed to learn, but a lot of people get paid a lot of money to pretend this is not the case.  So old things are packaged in a new format, and the same dumb people buy in, thinking they're hearing something brilliant and new, not realizing they're only hearing this because they didn't get the message the first time. 

Here are some 'new' things in education (with their old counterpart); google search them, if you do not know it:

  • Guided-highlighted reading (underlining what's important)
  • Cornell Notes (taking notes, writing definitions, and summarizing)
  • Sustained Silent Reading (reading silently, by yourself)
  • Differentiated Instruction (not teaching everything the same way; see: getting to know your students) 
  • Think-Pair-Share (talking about something you learned)

What's hilarious is that many adults sit in meetings hearing these things thinking that the revolution is coming. 

Really? 

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are still very important and still make up the core of everything we learn.  What and how we read and write changes, and thinking is more important than ever.  People come along, trying to reinvent the wheel.  They give a new fancy buzzword to an old term.  People buy in, missing the entire point.  Instead, we should focus on doing what works, well, and improving that thing - regardless of what it's called.