January 10, 2003

You Say Intentional Strategies, I

You Say Intentional Strategies, I Say Gobbledygook

Inspired by this blurb from The Corner, I think I'm going to start a new weekly feature in which I bring you an example of complete gibberish masquerading as sophisticated rhetorical eloquence within the higher ed milieu:

Example #1: Intentional Strategies.
At first glance, it looks impressive. When used in a sentence, such as in a description of an enrichment program, like this: "Social ease and interaction can be facilitated through intentional strategies that enhance self-understanding and relationship building," it looks mighty impressive indeed. But let's pause for a moment and dissect the phrase "intentional strategies." What do we discover?

Well, for starters, that it's redundant as hell. Has any strategist ever sat down to create an "unintentional strategy?" No, because if you think about and create a strategy, you've intended to do it. If you do end up with something that can be referred to as an "unintentional strategy," then that would be what we call an ACCIDENT, and probably not something you'd want to crow about in a publication. So why not just call it a "strategy?"

Because it doesn't sound impressive enough, and because people who read a sentence like this one: "We'll help your kid make new friends in college by doing some role-playing in a classroom" might think twice before committing junior or juniorette into the capable hands of the college administrators, secure in the knowledge that these people Know What They're Doing. Well, that, and the fact that the grant money might stop flowing like water if the folks reading the proposals actually understood their fatuous nature.

Good to know that all the bs skills I picked up in college are being put to good use by my fellow educators, isn't it?

Posted by Big Arm Woman at January 10, 2003 06:35 AM