Tag Archives: connotations

Don’t patronise me school

Standard

Ever read a work you instantly dislike? Not a swearword or a word describing something disgusting, but one of those perfectly innocent ones that make you rave and rage and awaken the slumbering teenager in you? I’ve been coming across some of those in my not-training related reading lately and I need to get these thoughts of my chest before I start ranting at a corner.

Ethos: Straight for the heavy-duty notions, yes. Let me put a disclaimer here. Ethos, as in the philosophical notion is lovely and fascinating and necessary in all the bafflement its definition results to. I’m not starting a -heh- ethical debate here. What bugs me is how the word (and I suppose the concept by extension) is used in schools. Yes, definitely teach children how to make ethical and informed choices. Gods know some members of the older generations did not get the message. But why, do so many schools (my old high school included, nostalgia won’t save you!) present ethos as being practically married to the concept of leadership? These aren’t mutually inclusive values. Being an ethical person does not mean that they will have the inclination or the talent to lead. Similarly being a leader does not predispose a person to be ethical. -insert current political commentary here- It might be a tad Machiavellian but I don’t think children should be led to assume that ethics and leadership always go hand in hand. Should they? Perhaps. I’m neither a Political Science major nor a sociologist.

This line from an article on school assessment I read: “Some teachers and educationalists have suggested that the word ‘work’ should be replaced by the word ‘learning’.”: Dear teachers, students are not stupid. Regardless of how you try to sugarcoat it, homework will be homework and exams will be exams and both these things are near universally hated. Calling it “learning” will not give make the process more pleasant. In fact it might do the opposite. Words gain connotation through the experiences we attach to them. Frankly I’m glad my teachers called homework for what it was. It’s a word that for me personally carries the associations of boring, often pointless assignments, long hours and late nights and the curse upon introverts that is known as group projects (screw socialising, I didn’t want friends, I wanted to be left to do my work in peace!). Now imagine if this bouquet of awful had been attached to a more general and inclusive words like “learning”. Yeah… Never mind a Masters degree, I wouldn’t have made it through the undergraduate either.

And for the matter, what’s this new fad of correcting with a green pen instead of red? Supposedly it’s less aggressive, feels more like suggestions? That’s the idea as far as I can understand it. Has anyone thought that maybe the reason we view red as the more aggressive colour is because our experience was exactly that? Worksheets and exams marked in red? If our teachers had corrected our work in green or purple or even those fancy multi colour gel pens we would be sighing and longing for the nonthreatening red. And if you have crappy eyes like I do, you would be cursing the use of any other colour. At least red pops out and your eye focuses on it. Corrections, especially on homework aren’t supposed to be the written equivalent of a supportive grandmother. They are supposed to be what will kick your butt in high gear and point you to the correct direction. And shouted directions are always better than whispered ones.

Millennials: I’ll say it right now. As a Millennial I’ve got into my fair share of arguments with Baby Boomers and older generations thereof. Let’s be honest. The internet alone has made this particular generation gap the size of the Grand Canyon. Add to that how insanely different the world in all each aspects is from the 70s and the 80s and well… there you have it. Have fun translating the Old Ones anything of what’s going on right now in our heads or our lives. And it may be the prerogative of the older generation to view their successors as wastes of space (the line “back in my days” was invented for a reason) as much as it is the prerogative of the young to view their predecessors as backward and the cause of all the trouble we are dealing with now. This is nothing new. We used to call it counter-culture or the hippy movement or (if you go really backwards) “those time-wasters that read novels”. It’s always happened so why the absolute vitriol that is being spewed in all directions lately? I guess it’s in part because the Millennials are not just outspoken, but also in possession of many more avenues to express their outrage (once more, thank you internet).

And I’m not going to sit here and claim that all causes are as urgent or as important but there seems to be this silent agreement amongst the adults (yes, most millennials are also adults at this point but you know what I mean) that if a millennial said we’ll just nod and ignore their points. Why? We heard your points. In fact you might say we heard your points for a little too long. The world is not a mid-life crisis sports car. Let us get on the wheel already. Yes, our ideas might be wacky but guess what? When you face a future of certain debt and uncertain stability (financial, employment or housing-related or even health-related) you kinda sorta need to think outside the box. Box looks pretty torn around the edges anyway…. duct-tape can only do so much.

And on an entirely unrelated and much lighter note, the top disliked word of the week is….defibrillator! What is wrong with this word? How do you pronounce it? How do you spell it? Why can’t we use the term “medical taser” instead? I looked it up in Greek because that usually helps when I come across unfamiliar words and according the dictionary called mum, it’s “απινιδωτής” (apinidotis). -insert anime drop here- Dear medical folk, you’re just screwing with us, aren’t you.