Rolling the Jargon Dice

21 Feb

by Roger White

Understand as I launch into this column that I work for an education association. And I have worked for this education association for a long, long time. In my long, long time with this education association, I’ve learned many things. However, I think the main thing I’ve learned is that people in the education world speak a language that is very different from normal humans. (Now, let me tell you that I’m talking management types here—you know, campus administrators and on up. If actual teachers talked this way, all of America’s children would be wandering about, zombie-like and unblinking. Like Joaquin Phoenix.)

Anyway, in my tenure here, I have come not only to understand education jargon, I have learned to embrace it. Therefore, I founded EJUCIMUSE.

And here at the EJUCIMUSE Headquarters (EJUCIMUSE being an acronym for Education Jargon Use Cause It Makes Us Sound Elite, of course), in our ever-vigilant attempts to utilize jargon, gibberish, and edu-speak whenever possible, we are proud to announce the creation of the MANURE Generator.

MANURE (Mechanism to Advance New Understanding for Renewal in Education) is the brainchild of Jerry Taylor, educational technology director for Arcadia Middle School in Greece, New York. Taylor unveiled the MANURE Generator not long ago in the National School Boards Association’s School Board News newsletter, and it has been getting rave reviews . . . I mean, its outcomes-based approach dynamic has received initial focus-group consensus.

Here’s how MANURE was formed: According to Taylor, throughout his 30-year career as a teacher (also known in some circles as transitive knowledge facilitator), he noticed that many teach–, sorry, many transitive knowledge facilitators and knowledge transfer management personnel (administrators) sometimes fall behind in their utilization of proper edu-speak. So Taylor made MANURE. This fascinating device not only can keep edu-speak proponents up-to-the-minute, it makes a great party game and a nice dessert topping.

Now here’s how MANURE works: If you are ever caught at a meeting, focus group, performance evaluation, or happy hour shop talk without the latest edu-speak term or phrase, simply whip out your pocket-sized MANURE Generator and a pair of dice. You’ll soon be spouting the most eloquent of nonsensical jargon.

The MANURE Generator consists of three columns of words. These could be called Column A, B, and C. But for our purposes, we’ll call them Initializing Column I(a), Activating Column II(b), and Terminus Column III(c).

And here they are:

Initializing Column          Activating Column        Terminus Column

2.         Integrated                                 Behavioral                                Strategies

3.         Individualized                         Relevant                                    Methodology

4.         Criteria                                       Assessment                              Cooperative

5.         Flexible                                      Prescriptive                              Analysis

6.         Authentic                                  Perceptual                                Learning

7.         Facilitated                                Interaction                               Functions

8.         Responsive                               Modular                                   Objectives

9.         Alternative                               Diagnostic                                Concept

10.       Performance                            Structured                               Recovery

11.       Cognitive                                   Situational                                Management

12.       Systemic                                   Evaluative                                 Reform

Simply roll the dice (otherwise known as the MANURE Generator Activation Modules) to select a word from the Initializing Column, a word from the Activating Column, and one from the Terminus Column. Do you want fried or steamed rice with that? Note that since you can’t roll a 1, the columns start at No. 2, Einstein. Voila! It’s that easy.

You’ll have your colleagues wanting desperately to know more about Facilitated Situational Objectives with quick rolls of 7, 11, and 8. Land on 11, 2, 6 and you have created the Cognitive Behavioral Learning school of thought.

The great thing is, you don’t necessarily have to work in the education world to avail yourself of this sensational tool. A tinker here and there to the columns as necessary can produce a powerful jargon generator for any business. In other words, put your hands in the MANURE, work it around a bit, and you can easily shape it to your liking.

Then I believe you should wash your hands.

I must say that we here at EJUCIMUSE have been so impressed by Taylor’s MANURE that we unanimously voted him Edu-Speak Vociferator of the Biennium. We got a plaque for him and everything, but Taylor couldn’t make the awards ceremony. He was giving a lecture in Washington, D.C., on Alternative Diagnostic Recovery.

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat daschund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit

2 Responses to “Rolling the Jargon Dice”

  1. Trinity River February 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Oh this is great. I’m going to send this to the office. Anyone who is forced to listen to corporate pseudo speak will get a good laugh out it.

  2. sandy March 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    A member of my family with a degree in education says this is the best article you’ve written to date. That it’s exactly right and you’ve hit the nail on the head. (And he knows a lot about hitting nails on their head.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: