Bad Words: Pedagogical Traps Hidden in Academic Language

July 18, 2016

Is the language of teaching and scholarship actually working against us? Donaldo Macedo argues that many of the linguistic habits and strategies so common in the academy actually obscure meaning, impair analysis and foster exclusion.

To minimize or even eliminate the consequences of the “lies” of academic language, Macedo recommends stronger training in ethics. That ethical foundation, in combination with a more complete understanding of the power of language, will help scholars and teachers develop a truly critical and inclusive approach to pedagogy.

Questions to think about:

  • What linguistic conventions are keeping you from communicating and teaching more effectively?
  • Is it important to use language that assigns accountability?
  • How can we infuse multiple languages into pedagogical settings?
  • What is your philosophy of language?

A well-known collaborator of Paulo Freire and Noam Chomsky, Donaldo Macedo is a professor of English and a distinguished professor of liberal arts and education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His work with Freire helped develop a critical understanding of the ways language contributes to learning.


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DisruptED: Education Interrupted Copyright © by Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence, McMaster University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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