Buzzword Week Pt. 1

Never mind the buzzwords! What makes the students buzz?

Remember that time you went to that education conference, the anticipation and expectation palpable? You walked in. OMG, one thousand excited teachers in one place at the same time. The room was… buzzing… right?

The keynote speaker (buzzed in ten minutes late) used the most recent version of Powerpoint with great skill and then opened your mind to the possibilities of new frontiers in education. Like a messenger from a mountain top, a prophet dropping divine insight, she/he heralded the newest trend in education… the latest catch-cry… the holy grail… the silver bullet… That’s right, the next buzzword!

Do you remember feeling pumped for the workshops/masterclasses that would follow? For two days, masterclass after masterclass… there was that word again… and again… and again. (It must be a sign!)

After the conference your head was buzzing with that word. You purchased the book, returned to your school and shared the buzz with your colleagues (and some of the buzz even rubbed off!)

Then you walked into your classroom, buzzing - you could now feel the leakage from the buzz flowing into your veins and neural pathways. You even wrote that buzz word in big bold letters above your desk. You wrote it in on the cover of your diary, your daybook, in your program. And you Googled it again, and again, just in case you missed some extra aspect of the buzz (was there a ‘Buzz Plus’?).

You mused, you mulled, you imagined. You buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzed…

Then you thought of your students! This would be such a huge buzz for them too (especially for Jonah and Juno and Josiah who no longer got a buzz out of school). In fact, this would be the biggest buzz your students have ever had - bigger than Buzz Aldrin, bigger than Buzz Lightyear! Yes, the buzz to end all buzzes!

Then you implemented.

Forward. Six months. Nine months. Twelve months. Your students didn’t catch the buzz. What went wrong? Where’s the buzz?

You see, something that makes an adult buzz doesn’t always translate to the kids. The newest ‘thing’ in education may have been primed with pedagogy, rigoured in research and evolved from evidence. Heck, it might even make perfect sense to the teacher. But what if there’s no buzz in it for the students?

What makes your students buzz with excitement?

James Phelps

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