Thursday, January 28, 2016

The language we use

My brother-in-law is a cicerone.  According to Ray Daniels  a cicerone will possess the knowledge and skills to guide those interested in beer culture, including its historic and artistic aspects. When I am with him, he amazes me with his ability to identify key flavors, tastes and personality of the drinks.  He speaks about how the tastes complement certain types of foods, the palatability of the drink, the aroma compounds of the drink, and how certain drinks interact with our taste buds.  My knowledge is not quite the same but I always learn something from him.

When I go to the doctor's office and they take my blood pressure, I always have to ask if those numbers are in the acceptable range.  I never know if my blood pressure is good, bad or average. I don't know because I am not a doctor and I don't understand the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure and the range of the numbers.

This got me thinking about report cards.  Often times, our report cards are filled with educational jargon and language that we as educators understand. But what about our families and students? The report cards are designed to share information about the progress of our students with our students and their families. But how much of the progress that is shared with our families is written in a manner that helps them understand the progress of the student?

Are we mindful of the language we use?  Maybe we need to re-examine what we write so that each reader can decipher our educational jargon?