Saturday, 24 May 2008

Educational jargon - a bad dream

"Fellow members of the University I hope you will all join me in welcoming Professor Will Knowless our new Vice President of Teaching and Learning who will address us on the topic of the new teaching reform agenda as an implementation of Funcaster's 2020 vision."
"Thank you Vice Chancellor. Iconic institutions such as Funcaster are strategic agents not only in the advancement of knowledge, discovery and innovation, but also more broadly in envisioning the cultural enhancement and facilitating a step change in the quality of public life in the real-world communities they serve.
Our purpose in this reform agenda is that by utilizing global learning styles we will be enabled to embrace student-centered competencies and by disaggregation of bottom-up learning technology strategies to innovate proactive learning styles. Only then will we be able to disseminate best practice in the deployment of over-arching curriculum reform and competency-based scaffolding.
The implementation of this paradigm shift in creative learning environments involves the provision of inter-locking processes of strategic and operational planning, budgeting, implementation, performance review and accountability to stakeholders...."
My perception of the speech drifts into hypnogogic confusion then I wake with a start, but I am not in the Victorian mock classical assembly chamber of the University of Funcaster, but in a vast underground chamber strangely furnished with elegant antique furniture. One wall seems to be made of glass and I can see shadowy shapes of menacing sea creatures illuminated by a dull green light. Across a dinner table set with a silver tableware sits the Vice president for Teaching and Learning. But not quite as I remember him. His eyes seem like dead black hollows, and in place of hands he has mechanical crab-like claws of stainless steel.
"So you see Mister Bond, I am accustomed to getting whatever I want and my ultimate goal is the acquisition of power. power over my destiny and those of others, my teaching reform agenda, disguised in its educational jargon, is simply a rouse to disguise my true ambitions from my feeble minded minions at Funcaster."
"This is madness, Know, you are just a maniac..." I retort angrily
"You are right, Mister Bond. That is just what I am, a maniac. All the greatest men are maniacs. They are possessed by a mania which drives them forwards towards their goal. The great scientists, the philosophers, the religious leaders - all maniacs. But very soon all the academic staff at Funcaster will be under my control. I have mesmerized them with meaningless jargon and bound them with pointless 'learning objectives' and 'performance metrics' and they will bend to my will! Any resistance will be futile as my elaborate bureaucratic procedures will crush any dissent.."

"Never" I shout grabbing a silver candle stick and striking towards Know's head. His claw reaches up swiftly and grabs the candle stick in its deathly grip as the other claw reaches for my throat. A guard in black appears and a shot rings out but it misses and smashes in to the glass wall. Water gushes through the cracks and I struggle with Know as we are engulfed by cold green water."
The rushing sound of water changes around me to applause and I wake up to find my self back in the assembly chamber. Neo-classical statues look down from alcoves in the walls. Truth and Prudence are embodied as rather stern but scantily dressed women, and they seem to be looking dissaprovingly in the direction of Professor Knowless.
(with apologies to Ian Flemming, near the centenary of his birth)

About Me

My photo
Adam Upwrite is Professor of Creative Accounting at the University of Middle England. His Registrar's Diary is about a fictional registrar and an equally fictional English university.