All throughout my Master's degree program, I am constantly bombarded with "vernacular" of the Education community. Coming from a business and IT background some of these terms were new to me. Names like pedagogy and andragogy; meaning education of children and education of adults, respectively. I honestly don't see the point in putting a greek word on something because we are in higher education. Sure, we want to be consistent with our message and our goals but the use of "high-browed" words actively separate us from those we wish to reach.
Recently on the television program Survivor there was a gentleman called Tarzan who chose to use these "$0.50" words in order to baffle the contestants and often he used the incorrect "$0.50" word in several situations. Even during the reunion show he used a word that was in the neighborhood but really incorrect. If people are intimidated by the words we speak around them, we are separating ourselves from those who could teach us much about life.
I am definitely a proponent of using the appropriate, even pithy, word when speaking and writing and my friends and family can attest to my correcting grammar usage, but that doesn't mean we confuse people by using that vocabulary. I was raised by a mother who never spoke down to me and used her vast vocabulary any time we spoke; but the vocabulary was used appropriately for the conversation and, most of the time, I could use the context of the sentence to determine the meaning of the unknown word.
Did you know that when we are reading and come across a word that our brains can't deduce within the context of the sentence causes lack of attention to the reading that follows that word. Our brain stays focused on the word that it couldn't figure and, while our eyes are still reading, the comprehension stops. So if we are baffling our readers with $0.50 words, we may keep our readers from the important content of our message.
Let's make education accessible to our audience and avoid talking over or down to our learners!!!
Caryn Morgan, corporate trainer, obtained her Masters Degree in Adult Education and Training