Weasel Words in Education Part 1: Intervention

Intervention (n. and v.)

– as in “What interventions have you put in place?” or “We’ll have to intervention this!” or (even more common) “You’ll have to intervention this!”

Meaning: doing stuff of doubtful or unclear efficacy mainly for the sake of being seen to do some stuff.

Some words sound better than others. For example, “I kicked some butt at work today!” sounds better than “I wrote a stiffly-worded email to query an invoice.”

So with the word intervention. “I staged an intervention to address underachievement in the Year 10 target group” does sound more dynamic, proactive and energetic than “I got a bunch of Year 10s to stay behind after school and nagged them for a bit.”

This is a word beloved of SLTs* and similar riffraff. Essentially, it is a long-winded way of “Do something!”. The unspoken subtext that should be tacked on to the end is “…so that I don’t have to.”

Most interventions happen outside of the normal school day. After school interventions are a perennial favourite. Never mind that most researchers (correctly, in my opinion) identify such activities as “High Effort, Low Impact.”

When the test scores are down and the going gets tough, the tough get . . . some unenthusiastic kids together in a room and read some powerpoint slides at them. Or, get them to do some card sort activities, where cutting out and laminating the cards takes up to seventeen times longer than the bloody card sort activity itself takes to do. Or, nag them. Yes, nag them with as much energy, sincerity and passion as you can summon at the end of a full teaching day when you are knackered and bursting to go the loo.

This is the way to the educational promised land, my friends. To a better place that is overflowing with the milk of EBaccs and the honey of Ofsted-approval, and yet which remains free of the evil spectre of grade inflation!

Let us all put interventions in place now! Interventions today! Interventions tomorrow! Targeted interventions for all!

After all, its not as if the kids were actually taught this stuff in lessons during the normal school day, is it? I mean, it stands to reason, doesn’t it? It’s not their fault that they weren’t listening/trying/paying attention, is it? Otherwise, they wouldn’t need all these sodding ‘interventions’ all the time…

*Senior Leadership Team

4 thoughts on “Weasel Words in Education Part 1: Intervention

  1. Miss Ironfist September 28, 2013 / 5:27 pm

    I smell revolution!

    Red! The blood of angry men!

    • e=mc2andallthat September 28, 2013 / 5:30 pm

      #Do you hear the people sing
      #Singing the song of angry men

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