Buzzword Bingo

Too much of what is in education journals is drivel.  But to disguise that nonsense and obscure how “research” resources and time are wasted, the field has developed important-sounding jargon.  Anyone who uses fancy terms, like “neoliberal,” “epistemological pathways,” and “discourses,” has to know something.  Right?

So, I am proposing a little game of Buzzword Bingo.  In the table below are actual terms taken from leading education journal article titles. 

Here’s how you play.  The first person to spell Bingo by making a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line by finding those terms in education journals wins!  Just send an email or post a comment with citations to where you found the words.  The prize is the respect of all that you managed to sift through a bunch of education journal articles.

  B I N G O
B  neoliberal epistemological pathways  discourses dialectic meganarratives
I neotracking  sociocultural  haptic modality  counter-    narratives
N  detracking constructivism FREE multimodality   narratives
G  queering authentic learning ocularcentrism  ethnographic   mindfulness
O  deconstruct  sociohistorical essenitalism socio-political phonocentrism

While collecting these terms I’ve learned a handy rule of thumb for interpreting education jargon.  If something starts with “neo” it is bad.  If it starts with “post” it is good.  For example, “liberal” would normally be fine.  But make it “neoliberal” and then it is bad.  Neoconservative is also bad, but so was plain old “conservative.”

Even though the prefix “post” has a meaning similar to “neo,” it has a totally different effect within the world of education buzzword bingo.  For example, “materialism” is bad, but “post-materialism” is good.  “Modernity” is good.  “Post-modernity” is even better.

I think the idea is that “neo” suggests a rehashing of an old, failed concept.  “Post” means moving beyond and improving upon the old.  So I would have to guess that “neotracking” is bad, just a rehashing of old tracking ideas.  “Post-tracking” would be good —  moving beyond the old idea of tracking.

Here’s another simple trick. Just add “socio” to any word.  It doesn’t seem to add much meaning, but it does sound impressive.  I know that we’ve had socioeconomic for a long time, but now we have sociocultural, sociohistorical, and socio-political.  I’m thinking about introducing socio-social.  Or how about socio-materialism?  Socio-modernity?  Socio-narratives?  Once you start you see how easy it really is!

Now you can invent your own jargon at home!  Enjoy!

UPDATE

We have a winner!  Congratulations to Matt Ladner for managing to find:  meganarratives, counter-narratives, narratives, mindfulness, and phonocentrism in education publications.  I would say that now he can get a PhD but he already has one.

Another reader suggested that we change the name of the game to Lingo Bingo.  I don’t know.  It’s a tough choice between rhyming and alliteration.

Also, can someone come up with the best word for something bigger than meganarratives?  Mega is the prefix that means “million.”  A billion would be giga, so how about giganarratives?  This is almost as much fun as adding socio to words.  How about socio-giganarratives?

4 Responses to Buzzword Bingo

  1. Stuart Buck says:

    Post-modernity is so passe. Maybe futurist? Not aggressive enough. So I’m starting a new movement: post-futurism. Try topping that! 🙂

  2. We have a winner! Congratulations to Matt Ladner for managing to find:
    meganarratives, counter-narratives, narratives, mindfulness, and phonocentrism in education publications. I would say that now he can get a PhD but he already has one.

    Another reader suggested that we change the name of the game to Lingo Bingo. I don’t know. It’s a tough choice between rhyming and alliteration.

    Also, can someone come up with a the best word for something bigger than meganarratives? Mega is the prefix that means “million.” A billion would be giga, so how about giganarratives? This is almost as much fun as adding socio to words. How about socio-giganarratives?

  3. Greg Forster says:

    Buzzword Bingo was already used by Dilbert years ago, so I’d vote for Lingo Bingo.

    And I’ll tell you, sometimes when I have to wade through this stuff, it makes me mad enough to turn into a socio-sociopath.

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