Friday, March 28, 2008

Articles We Don't Need to Finish

...or even start, to be honest. Just take a look at the title and the abstract:

Multilevel Approaches to Documenting Change: Challenges in Community-Based Educational Research
In this article, we used a multimethod, multilevel analysis to document the underlying dynamics of specific alternative learning contexts to identify generalizable principles while allowing for local variation.

Barely even English, right? And trust me, the actual text of the article is just as bad.

And this is from the online journal of Teacher's College at Columbia University—the education school of an Ivory League university.

I’ve deleted the names of the authors out of a (possibly misguided) sense of mercy. But if I had the two authors here with me…say, chained to a drainpipe, with copies of The Elements of Style stuffed and duct-taped into their mouths…by which I mean only, if I had their absolute and undivided attention…this is what I think I would say to them:

Look, I know...using jargon and ed-speak makes you feel hip and with-it and in-with-the-in-crowd, whatever in-crowd you're trying to be in with (your professors, maybe? I can’t imagine who else would want to read this crap). But we're talking about education here. Teaching and learning. If the language you use obfuscates things more than it clarifies them, isn't it by definition contrary to your alleged purposes?

I’m just asking.

The sad thing is, this article is actually trying to discuss something important (yeah, I did break down and read it…well, some of it…despite the title for this post). It’s about some real, life-or-death education issues for low-performing, minority students. You don’t need the pomp. You don’t need the lofty language. If it’s really important, Just Say It.

1 comment:

denn d said...


I cannot STAND this kind of b.s. elitism.

Hmm "big words, small ideas" sounds nice, but I am not sure it's always true.