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Understanding Educational Jargon
© Beverley Paine
I wrote the following several years ago about how I found understanding educational jargon helpful for building my confidence as a home educator.
"Yesterday I read part of the Level 1 Victorian Essential Learning Standards, a .pdf document that I had downloaded some time ago. I've always made a point of reading school curricula: it helps to know what schools are thinking about how learning happens. I'm not overly impressed by this document, but I was heartened to see the glossary.
I went through the glossary and translated the jargon into language that made more sense in my life, as a mum helping her children learn.
Until I did this I found the document not only hard to read and difficult to comprehend but I felt overwhelmed at the thought of being able to meet the requirements of the curriculum. The language used was working to undermine my confidence in my ability to teach my kids. Jargon can be a very real barrier to understanding, and until we cut through and make sense of it for ourselves we can feel incompetent and incapable, and rely on others to translate it and make it assessible for us.
As home educating parents our aim is to help our children become independent and autonomous.
"A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary." Thomas Carruthers
Learning to translate educational jargon to enable us to confidently describe how our children are learning to anyone, including those that assess our home education registration renewals, builds competence as educating parents, and increases our ability to confidently access a wider range of resources.
We become less reliant on others to create learning activities and opportunities that tick those curriculum boxes and begin to notice and understand the many ways our children are learning, through everyday activities and their interests the curriculum outcomes that we once considered vague and incomprehensible statements.
If you come across a word in a teacher's manual, article or curriculum framework that you don't understand and can't work it out from the context look it up in a dictionary. A thesaurus might help too.
Once we become familiar with the meaning of jargon we remove its power to dent our confidence as educating parents.
See Beverley's other articles on jargon:
She also has a Practical Homeschooling Series booklet on the subject, called Translating Everyday Language into Educational Jargon.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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