The following list of terms have been taken from the wilds of educational conversation. Do yourself a favor, and avoid their usage as much as possible.

  • Authentic Assessment- Somewhat like saying "wet water" in its redundancy. If that still doesn't make sense, enjoy the following question: If an assessment is not authentic, is it still an assessment?
  • Blended Learning- Term that typically describes a teaching strategy that employs both online and offline structures, both in-class and outside-of-class. In other words, "teaching".
  • Data-Driven Instruction- A phrase that suggests that numbers are more important/meaningful for informing educational choices than the students who generate those numbers. You'll sound like less of a robot if you use the phrase "data-informed instruction", and sill less like one if you use the term data, generally, with great and cautious care.
  • Edupreneur- Portmanteau formed by combining "educator" and "entrepreneur". Particularly disagreeable among educators who feel that given the increasing corporatization of the educational space, increasing focus on "teaching as a business" is disagreeable, if not outright offensive.
  • Experiential- Admit it, you forewent the traditional -ce suffix for the -tial because you thought it made you sound fancy, didn't you?
  • EdTech- You're not that busy. Just say "educational technology". Plus, by forcing yourself to say the full version, you'll avoid rather unfortunate derivative nouns ("edutecher") and verbs ("eduteching").
  • Flipped Classroom- Similar to "Blended Learning" only even more amorphous in its usage. Frequently used to make bad pedagogical techniques (e.g. watching lectures at home) seem novel and hip.
  • Grit- Originally used to describe sand, then coopted by cowboy culture to describe a spirit of tenacious endurance. Similar to several other terms on this list, in that its usage has become so diffuse as to be frequently applied to an entire collection of loosely correlated behaviors in students.
  • Inquiry/Inquiry-Based- Go read this book. Then, and only then, can you approach using these terms correctly.
  • PLC ("Professional Learning Community")- Consider for a moment if you really mean to say PLN ("Professional Learning Network"). Then, don't actually say either one.
  • STEM/STEAM/STREAM- Unfortunate acronyms that purport to stress the importance of particular subjects of study, but have the added effect of subtextually diminishing those subjects that have yet to be cobbled in to the term. Slowly balooning to include all subjects taught to students. We suggest using the term "education" instead.
  • Unpack- Only to be used if you are suggesting that learning is like hanging your shirts up in the hotel closet.