ERIC Number: ED407686
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
"Unsafe Spaces": Reflections on a Specimen of Educational Jargon.
According to this paper, the biggest hazard of a private language (or professional jargon) may not be that it obscures efforts to communicate with those outside the business, but rather that it successfully communicates ideas never intended. The paper explores one bit of "educationese"--"safe space" or "safe place"--and reflects on what language may be saying about educators and about their conceptions of work. Using a framework of personal narrative and analysis, the paper speaks to the issue of how language creates and disrupts communities. The paper continues with an analysis of four examples of talk about "safe space" drawn from curriculum theory and teacher research--these examples reveal that safe space is an emerging metaphor for classroom life, according to which: (1) each person is isolated, (2) this isolation is both physical and psychic, (3) each person can become less isolated by expressing his/her diverse individuality, and (4) students thrive in a classroom in which individuality is freely expressed. The final section of the paper looks at the implications of the metaphor of "safe space" and finds that although the metaphor offers a hopeful response to pervasive concerns about individual isolation in an increasingly stressful world it also unintentionally provides ammunition for those who charge that schools are intellectual wastelands which must be returned to the primary mission of transmitting facts. Contains eight references. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).