Teachers struggle with the New In-word — “Meta”

As if there wasn’t enough educational jargon we teachers have to try to come to grips with!

But, here we go again!

Yes, it’s the “META” prefix.

It’s sort of like the “i” in iphone and ipod and ipad and iwatch and i-everything else!

Except that it’s Meta!

Now our PM, Tony Abbott, got himself into a bit of a hole while discussing “Metadata” not so long back. What is it? Who knows? But it seems to have become a part of the lexicon already. Maybe we don’t really NEED to know what it means!

There doesn’t seem to be much info around to help we poor, unsuspecting teachers to understand the “Meta” world.

The VCE English syllabus talks lots about Meta-language. Yes, I said “Meta-language”. Closer examination of this amazing term reveals that we older, more experienced teachers would probably substitute the terms “functional grammar” for the aforementioned “Meta” term.

If “Meta” implies some grand, fantastically large knowledge base for every category of learning, then perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a clear directive from the educational authorities, eloquently but practically expressed, to give teachers a fighting chance of making a fist of it in their teaching.

Until such clear direction is forthcoming, we teachers here in Australia need to do our very best to continue to impart genuine mathematical and linguistic skills to our students in the best, most efficient possible way, given the resources available to us.

Our EdShop materials, outlined at http://www.EdShop.net.au are but one source of heading in the “Meta” direction, teaching and encouraging positive attitudes towards maths AND reading comprehension in one fascinating, fun package freshly-released each week.

There are many others! Unfortunately, not all are adapted to the Australian curriculum and lingo. A pity, that!

Let’s hope that considerably more “Meta” detail is forthcoming in the near future. It SHOULD benefit all! But will it? Experience tends to suggest that the REAL danger is that a whole new layer of expectation will be dumped upon teachers yet again, with no realistic opportunity to have access to resources and the professional development opportunities required to allow them to develop the necessary skillsets for successful implementation.

A pity, that!

How are YOU responding to this “META-CHALLENGE”?

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