Language, truth and nonsense

19th July 1996 at 01:00
Things change so fast. One minute further education is in search of stability and the next it is redefining its language. From "downsize" and "downshift" to "repositioned and digital solutions", the education system has never seen so many exploding words.

But even if you're confused by it all, maybe it's worth spending a minute or two "getting a handle" on this new lexicon.

Computer giant Microsoft's philosophy of "embrace, extend and innovate" could easily be applied to FE where the curriculum is being "re-architected", action plans "re-purposed" and long-term strategies "unbundled".

But what does it all mean? If we "re-architect" we redesign, "re-purpose" redefine, and "unbundle" re-evaluate. The process of considering plans becomes "painting a direction" while research models include "tree-based navigation" in an appropriate "time budget".

Nonsense? Certainly there's little rhyme or reason to this new language except to make FE more confusing. But whether we "downgrade", "spite sell" or "out source" we are being led deeper into an inhuman educational environment. Language controls and manipulates, making managers more alienated from what actually happens.

There is a word which all in FE should learn. Karoshi, which means death from overwork, entered the Japanese dictionary as a product of changes in working practices. So, when you're "refreshing the page" or "hyper-linking" remember that a weekend is still a weekend and days off should not be part of college's option resource for workloading.

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