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Project: Plain English in Educational Psychology

We want to collect as many examples of jargon used in educational psychology as possible, then facilitate a crowd sourced ‘Plain English in Educational Psychology’ glossary.

Today we’re launching phase 1

Phase 1 is about gathering as many examples of jargon or technical language, within educational psychology, from as many people as possible.

We’ve set up a form where you can add your list of jargon or technical words and phrases.

You don’t need to be an educational psychologist to add your views. You might be a parent, carer, teacher, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).

A three phase project

Phase 1: gather

Gather as many examples of EP specific jargon and technical language, from as wide a range of people as possible.

Phase 2: rethink

Crowd source more accessible and understandable alternatives.

Phase 3: share

Put together a ‘plain English for educational psychology’ glossary or dictionary resource.

Isn’t this just dumbing things down?

No. Absolutely not. Talking and writing in plain English is about opening things up.

Educational psychologists work with a wide range of people who shouldn’t have to learn new words to benefit from our work. Parents and carers with children who have additional educational needs often have to talk to and juggle many different services or professionals. Each one will have their own specialised terms and jargon.

Talking and writing in plain English is a small step we can take that is beneficial to many people.

Why plain English is important

Plain English increases people’s understanding.

Jargon is defined as the specialised words and forms of language used within a particular profession or field of activity. Sometimes it can be unavoidable but it can also alienate those who don’t (nor should they need to) know what those words or phrases mean.

A recent twitter thread on plain English and accessible language sparked lots of engagement. Jargon, the use of technical terms and acronyms is problematic, particularly in educational psychologists work. Shulman and her colleagues found that jargon disrupts people’s ability to fluently process scientific information, even when definitions for the jargon terms are provided.

Other research suggests that overall, jargon gets in the way of understanding, and it can make people just feel like ‘they don’t know’. Within the medical community, research has found that doctors tend to overestimate the clarity with which they communicate.


Use our form to add your list of jargon or technical terms that you think need to be more accessible



About Dan O'Hare

Dan is an educational psychologist and founder of edpsy.org.uk. He has a passion for the power of educational psychology and connecting EPs with each other.

View all posts by Dan O'Hare



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