Another dot in the blogosphere?

Nomenclature (Or: What’s in a name?)

Posted on: January 16, 2018

There was a bruh-ha-ha in April last year when the Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore, announced the merger of some junior colleges (JCs).

Just when the dust settled, the press huffed and puffed to brew up a storm in a teacup. The latter article reported negative responses to the move to combine the names of the combined JCs.

Apparently people on social media — the painted villain in every other press article — thought that the naming was pointless, a waste of time, or just lame.

All this fuss was over the renaming of JCs like Anderson and Serangoon to Anderson Serangoon. Perhaps a scholar in the family planning unit offered the idea of hyphenated surnames. To sound original, a scholar from the MOE said they should leave out the hyphens.

There were high-fives all round and the two scholars are now on the fast track to be deputy director, or if they keep generating gems, junior ministers.

That is what played in my head. Now back to the news.

So might this be a case of making news where none exist? Perhaps.

I am glad that some people, particularly the alumni of the affected JCs, are upset. It means that they care. The labels mean something because of the shared history and experiences they had when they were students or teachers there.

Those words carry value and mean something to those people. I will have to remember this when I remind people that pedagogical and edtech terms that seem alike are different. Terms like the flipped classroom and flipped learning; choice and agency; “self-directed” learning and actual self-directed learning; schooling and education.

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