Monday, March 25, 2013

The Words We Use

At my school, we put a large emphasis on the words that we use as helping us communicate a subtle message about our beliefs.  Since I'm a less-than-subtle person, I like to explain my word choice.

Person First Language.  This means that when we speak about individuals, they come first in our language.  Not their disability.  Not their illness.  Not the color of their skin.  Them.  Just like we wouldn't say "My cancerous neighbor..." at my school we also wouldn't say "My Down syndrome student..."  This is by no means something invented at my school, the "Person First Language" movement is a big one - you can read about it here:

If it doesn't matter, leave it out.  We also try to avoid mentioning a student's disability unless it is a necessary piece of information.  Stories about kids are oftentimes universally funny/inspiring/confusing and you may be left wondering..."was that one of her students with a disability?"  I will of course explain how and why I made certain tools for certain kids based on their needs, but you will also notice that my language always deemphasizes their disability and I just describe my little ones as individuals.

Teacher Lingo.  Yeah, I do that sometimes.  At my school (as in yours, too, I'm sure) there is school-specific lingo that we forget not everyone uses.  I will try my best to be as transparent as possible, but feel free to call me out if I said something unclear.  I want my blogs to be universally accessible!

So those are the words I choose to use (a little Dr. Seuss-y there, huh?).  What words do you choose to use?


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