Tuesday, July 31, 2007

motivational speaker

I have been listening to motivational speakers spew forth all of the buzzwords that I have forgotten how much I do not miss. They each begin by mentioning their trendly predecessors and explaining why their idea is not just a trend, but an enduring principle that is the new wave of education.

The workshops so far have discussed a holistic approach to focus issue objectives through collaborative learning communities, which basically means that we will do everything better all the time. Last year it was about some trend, whose name escapes me but whose acronym was PMS, which is based on a fantastic idea to do everything better while collaborating holistically on comfort zones and objective initiatives. Now we are learning how to make institution wide goals that are attainable and measurable and, of course, holistic.

NB: Any permutation of the words in that paragraph would mean the same thing.

Holistic is a word that has been chosen for its length, novelty, and Greekness. It is also chosen because it does not carry the same sting of daunting reality that we find in a phrase like "every aspect of this child's life". When I hear the word holistic in reference to teaching, I feel myself becoming unable to listen. It is very similar to the way my brain shuts down when I hear the phrase comfort zone. What they really mean by using such words as holistic, is that they would rather chase down a sophisticated corporate image than address the everyday actions that define the education process. It is a shame to see such a respectable word "twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools" (Kipling, 1910). Keep it too abstract to mean anything, and I guess we will all feel better about it.

I keep expecting someone to run to the front and tell us all we are on candid camera and don't we feel stupid for listening to computer-generated gibberish as though it were meaningful.

Boy, what a negative and offensive entry.

1 comment:

  1. Being a 70 year old retired music educator I understand exactly the enui you feel when these "words" are dragged out. If you stay in education long enough, you'll encounter them in slight variations several times. Not a mathematician...but thought your card "introduction" was neat. I would not have been able to solve it as a student.

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