At a recent NPQSL session the conversation turned to the codification of language in education.
Firstly there are all the acronyms: SSAT, IoE, NPQML, MA, PGCE, MAT, EIP, RPA, etc. Then there are the phrases that are intended to capture a sense of purpose of a programme or the mission of an institution.
You know the sort of thing:
To create a happy, secure and stimulating learning environment in which all members of the school community can grow in confidence and develop their full potential.
Our school is a caring family where everyone is valued and encouraged to achievetheir potential as well as to have respect for God and His world.
Learn - Achieve - Enjoy ‐ Succeed
There are clear reasons for both phenomena. They reduce the conceptual to the concrete. They provide useful ‘handles’ for otherwise unwieldly sets of information. They capture and essence.
The problem is that any codification risks shutting out those who are not privy to the language. In particular it can leave parents wondering what exactly what is going on. So, that mission statement, strapline or acronym must be revisited to make sure that it hasn't become anachronistic and that those that it is aimed at actually understand what it is intended to mean.
The best example from the NPQSL session?
'High attainment in our learning community.' To which a parent responded - Doesn’t that mean 'Doing well at school?'