I’ve been thinking a lot about communication lately, primarily about the kind of “teacher shorthand,” as Carol Garhart Mooney calls it, that I hear being used so often in child care settings.
Things like saying, “criss-cross applesauce” instead of “please sit with your legs crossed like mine” (Why do we need to even sit that way? That’s another blog….) or “inside voices now” instead of saying, “we’re inside now, and your voice is too loud.”
I think we use these terms to sound “teachery” and because they are culturally learned and absorbed. But I also think they can be very unclear for children. We assume they know what we are talking about, because it seems perfectly clear to us. We forget that children process language and ideas very differently than we do.
Have you seen the video that made the rounds on Facebook a few weeks ago, showing a baby in a high chair, cracking up laughing each time his mom sliced a banana? That was a good example for me as I thought about this teacher shorthand. It makes no sense to me, as an adult, that a simple action like slicing a piece of banana would be that funny. It made perfect sense to the baby, because we think very differently.