Thursday, August 21, 2008


Patrick and I had a very long discussion last night about terminology:

I got really annoyed that people use specific terms without knowing what they really are about, especially people who should know what they're about. If an expert in a certain subject, say English didactics, uses the term "CLIL", then shouldn't they be talking about something more in-depth than just topic-based teaching? And Patrick gave the example of the use of the word AJAX in computer science - most people use the term when they mean SJAX. Although we shouldn't expect generalists to use precise terms correctly, should we expect experts to? And why should we simplify the ideas behind these terms?

Instead of having a general overview of what a term is about and then filling in the gaps slowly with aspects of the correct and precise definition, wouldn't it be better to get an understanding of one comonent of what is meant at a time and build up? Imagine a set of building blocks - you can have them thrown on the ground, all over the place and slowly bring order to them. Or else you can put one block down at a time in the right place. Is how we do something culturally-bound? Are we allowed to change the way we do it according to the task at hand? Is one way better than the other? I dunno!