In 2007, I took my then 7-year-old sister to see Disney's Meet The Robinsons, a story of a child inventor who learns to "Keep Moving Forward" in the wake of failed experiments, no matter the obstacles or how frustrated and fruitless his attempts felt. The characters are similar to many of the gifted and creative students I taught in an Arts Academy in Oregon, although the results of their struggle were not quite so Disney-esque. Watching the film was a practice-altering experience. Clips still sift through my mind when I plan curriculum. It ignited ideas to reinvent my classroom as one that encouraged kids to "keep moving forward" in the face of challenge and failed first attempts in learning.
As a writer and Language Arts teacher, I've been trained to believe that each word we write, or speak, is significant. Each word choice conveys a depth of meaning beyond its denotation, and therefore should be sought after, pondered, swirled about, revised, reinvented, and given gently, yet confidently, to the world in order to craft an intentional understanding.
On many occasions I've labored over word choice, lusted after the perfect sound and connotation, pausing publication and missing deadlines, even when the word seemed of little value in the grand scheme of the text. So maybe I'm biased... but I find it painful when words, especially those critical to the topic, are carelessly tossed out to an eager audience from a perceived expert. A result lost in translation I could let go, eventually, but too often real harm can be done when we are not precise with our words and their definitions. After all, the lure or perception is stronger than that of reality. In education, where practice is shifting in directions far from the norm, clear communication is critical. Without it, the much-needed growth of our profession runs the risk of stalling out or moving backwards due to fear and misunderstanding.