Thinking About Rethinking Language

I found Jamie Naidoo‘s post on the ALSC blog, Words Matter: Owning and Learning from Our Mistakes, very thought-provoking. It is a model for apologizing, for reflecting, and more. I recommend reading the post, the comments, and adding in your own thoughts. Here are mine:

I was glad you called out the problem with the word “tolerance” as it has always bothered me. I’m a longtime subscriber to the excellent publication Teaching Tolerance, but the word has always rankled for the reasons you point out.

I was curious about the recommendation of using caregiver instead of parent. As a classroom teacher I work with all sorts of families and had thought it was okay to call those who identified as the parents of the children to just that whatever and however they gained that role. (I do address them collectively as “families” in my communications so as to include grandparents and others.) I’ve used caregiver for those paid to care — for children (here the terms used are nannies and babysitters) or elders (my parents both had caregivers including me). For instance, we are starting an oral history project and children often want to interview these individuals. Is there a different term we should be using? (As to the issue around doing so — that is different and we definitely discuss that. That these paid employees are placed in a difficult position by agreeing to do this. Some love it and some don’t. We definitely discuss this and try to help families consider this too. But that is a whole ‘nother issue.)

Anyway, much to think about. Thanks again.


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3 responses to “Thinking About Rethinking Language

  1. debbiereese

    I submitted a comment, too. The increasing use of tribe and its variants reminds me of our conversations about that word. More and more it is taking on violent connotations. All the more reason to work on that shared post!


  2. maryleehahn

    Thank you for the link to this important post.


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