The topic of the course for this week is the ABCD model. This is yet another acronym in the Education Jargon. Well, technically it is not really an acronym because an acronym is an word formed by combining parts (usually the first letters) of some other terms. For example, "modem" is the acronym derived from modulator/ demodulator. ABCD is not a real word and, although in modern speech also called an acronym, it is actually an initialism, which is the combination of letters representing a longer term. The A stands for Audience (who are we teaching), the B for Behavior (what do we want them to be able to do), C for Condition (what tools do they have or what information are they given) and D for Degree (how well do we want them to do this).
Education theories nowadays seem to be full of acronyms, initialisms, blurred terms such as "top-down and bottom-up processes" or "metacognitive knowledge" and other edubabble. My students at teacher in-service courses and teachers colleges often ask me why we make simple stuff seem so complex by using this jargon. They are not the only ones to ask this question. A few years ago the Guardian asked "Are Teachers Using too much Jargon?". This topic has even merited official research such as work done by Philip Kerr in the ETJ Journal Volume 59/ 2 April 2005. And that it is not specifically a problem of the English teaching field can be seen here:
The etymology of the word jargon itself seems to indicate its uselessness. Jargon comes from O.Fr. jargon "a chattering of birds" also in language "idle talk or the language used by thieves". The term came into use in the mid-14th century and today means "mode of speech full of unfamiliar terms". Other similar terms are "pidgin, lingo and slang".
So why do we use so much Jargon or shouldn't we? Here the two reasons for using jargon which I usually give my students:
1. Using Education Jargon gives teachers a feeling of professional pride. They are in-the-know, they can talk about their profession using a lingo no one else understands. This in itself would already be a good enough reason because raising the self-esteem of teachers who often feel and are seen by others as being at the lowest level of professionalism should be important.
2. The Edubabble also has a very practical point. Here we are for example in this course, teachers from all over the world and from many different cultures with more native languages than there were in the Tower of Babel. The only way for us to hold a professional discussion and exchange of ideas, is if we agree on a common language and agree on the same precise technical terms for what we mean. And that is the Jargon we need to learn and practice.
Can any of you find additional reasons?
Here a Dictionary of Educational Jargon
Etymology of jargon
Definition of Acronym and Initialism