Monday, 22 October 2012

Leave the teacherspeak in the staffroom

Teachers generally have my full support. I think the teachers at my daughters' school are brilliant and they are doing a fantastic job of educating my children. I trust that they always use appropriate language and explain everything in terms that the children can understand, defining new terms when necessary. So why can't they do the same when it comes to parents? We don't want to be patronised, but really, there's no need to use abbreviations or language that we have no idea about and that will just alienate us, and make us feel as if we have no place in our child's education, is there?

I've written about maths language before, and how difficult it is to help our children when we don't understand the terms used. So today when my daughter came out of school with a weekly plan, outlining the topics that their class will be covering this week I was disappointed to find references to "RWI sounds" and "positional language"! After some thought, I realised that the first refers to a new reading and writing scheme the school are introducing, and the letters stand for Read, Write, Inc. And after some more thought, that positional language is very simply using the words, under, above, on, inside etc, to talk about something. How difficult would it have been to use a few extra words to explain these two things to parents, and include us in the learning? If we know what positional language is at the moment we get the piece of paper in our hand as our children rush out of school, we can take the opportunity to have a conversation on the walk home about the person inside the blue car, the chimney on top of the house, and whether the post office is next to the shop, or opposite it. Instead, as the piece of paper is glanced at, not understood, and shoved in a pocket, the opportunity for learning, and engaging in our children's learning, is lost. What a shame.

So teachers, feel free, please, to use all the "teacherspeak" you want to in the staff room, but leave it there. As parents, we're not impressed.

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