Tag Archives: glossary

Shtick (n.)

A worked-up, contrived form of talent of self-presentation to entertain or win attention; an idiosyncratic routine or particular forte; mannerism.”

“Rebuttal is appropriate. For what we have here is no argument but a shtick, as we used to say in Vaudeville, an antic, a bit, a thing.”

Donald Kaplan, in Language in America

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Aesopian Language

“Aesopian Language Political double-talk or euphemism that has a special meaning to its advocates or initiates; a vocabulary of stock phrases, code words, and value judgments; dissembling or propagandistic jargon (from the early language of fables, in which chiefly slaves were conversant).”

“Soviet writers occasionally use Aesopian language, as writers did under the Czar, to convey hidden thoughts in disguise. Defenders of the regime, while attacking those writers for the use of Aesopian language, are now couching their attacks in Aesopian language.” Leon Lipson, quite in Israel Shenker, Words and Their Masters.

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Privative (n)

“Privative: Indicating lack of loss of, absence of, or negation, e.g., the prefixes ‘un-, ‘a-,’ ‘non-,’ and the suffix ‘-less.'”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

Concept Formation

Process of developing abstract rules of mental concepts based on sensory experience. Concept formation figures prominently in cognitive development and was a subject of great importance to Jean Piaget, who argued that learning entails an understanding of a phenomenon’s characteristics and how they are logically linked. Noam Chomsky has argued that certain cognitive structures (such as basic grammatical rules) are innate in human beings. Both men held that, as a concept emerges, it becomes subject to testing: a child’s concept of “bird,” for example, will be tested against specific instances of birds. The human capacity for play contributes importantly to this process by allowing for consideration of a wide range of possibilities.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

A Learning Support on Irregular Verbs

As the penultimate week of the New York City school year comes to a close, I want to post this learning support on irregular verbs, which I gleaned from Grant Barrett’s manual, Perfect English Grammar: The Indispensable Guide to Excellent Writing and Speaking. I believe strongly in teaching grammar, style, and usage to the struggling learners I serve. With the right structural adaptations, kids can master this material, and therefore gain confidence in their ability to learn. That confidence motivates kids, and for the teacher education special needs kids, that is half the battle.

Over the years, I’ve sought a good–by which I mean clear and concise–grammar manual to use in planning units and lesson. So far, this is the one: Mr. Barrett presents his material lucidly, with none of abstraction, cuteness, or turgidity these from which so many of these kinds of books suffer. The book is also very well organized.

Grant Barrett also hosts a podcast called A Way with Words. I haven’t listened yet, but as I work with this book, I can see the merit of giving it a try.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification.

The Weekly Text, May 12, 2017

In my classroom, I rely almost exclusively on the Socratic method in my teaching for a variety of reasons, the most salient of them is simply that students who are talking in class–i.e. answering questions–are also thinking. As Daniel Willingham, the cognitive scientist at the University of Virginia (with whose work all teachers ought to familiarize themselves) succinctly puts it, “memory is the residue of thought.” If you want your students to retain what you teach them, ask questions that compel–or, one hopes, impel– them to think about the matter at hand in your classroom.

A couple of years ago I read Education for Judgement: The Art of Discussion Leadership by C. Roland Christenson, David A. Garvin, and Ann Sweet and published at the Harvard Business School Press. It’s one of the better books I’ve read for my own professional development, and I highly recommend it. To give you a sense of the riches this book contains for those interested in developing their skills in leading class discussion, I offer as this week’s Text this taxonomy of questions from its pages.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. Since this isn’t my work, I seek no peer review of it (and in any case, it seems like a safe bet that this material has been peer-reviewed by some of the best people in education).

Please Help Me Revise a Dictionary of Education Jargon

Here’s a call from Diane Ravitch, posted on her blog, for assistance in revising her lexicon of educational terms, Edspeak (a book used heavily here at Mark’s Text Terminal). If you have an educational term of art to contribute to this book, please click through and leave a comment on her post.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ten years ago, ASCD published a book that I compiled about education jargon and buzzwords. It is called EdSpeak. 

Recently, I became aware that Nancy Bailey, a teacher-blogger, was collecting jargon and buzzwords, and I started thinking that EdSpeak needs to be updated. It predated Race to the Top and many new fads and innovations of the past decade.

I wrote on a post that I would love to help Nancy’s help in revising the book, and she responded offering to be co-editor.

ASCD has given us the go-ahead to revise the book with new buzzwords, jargon, phrases, and terminology that have grown up in the past decade.

Last time, when I compiled the glossary of education language and terminology, I spent months scouring EdWeek and other publications to pick up on the latest words.

This time, I am asking you to send me your favorite buzzwords, terminology, and jargon…

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