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I can’t remember when it was that I fell in love with words but I knew I was pretty young. It was a passion that was noticed by a few of my teachers but, for the most part, kept to myself. The four years of Latin that I took in high school allowed me to realize that words had origins, etymologies and, in many cases, deep histories.

At one point in my teaching career, I committed to writing an etymological dictionary, a task that became overwhelmingly complex and unruly well before putting pen to paper. It is a project that has been buried deep on my bucket list, right below, “Write a cookbook dedicated solely to Parsnips.”

But I have to tell you that my etymological soul was noticeably stirred when Derek Rhodenizer sent me a message that he was working on a book. Here’s his description:

Education is, or at least should be a reflection of society. As a result it is a complicated place, full of jargon and large concepts making up a lexicon that educators speak. However, in my experience, we are not all speaking the same language. We may agree or even disagree on a concept, without realizing we do not have a shared language. The goal of this book is to break down some of this language, not to provide all the answers, but to deepen the conversation. If we want to move education forward we need to dig deeply into what we do. We need to work as much as possible towards understand the “why” of education, to work towards constant improvement as a field. Through stories of my personal experience, I am looking to help guide readers through some philosophical thoughts on education.

I was standing in front of the eggs and milk at my local grocery store when I received Derek’s first message. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before we started exploring how using the voicEd Radio space might allow for a deep dive into some of this word work. Well, one thing led to another and before I had reached the checkout counter we had come up with the initial concept for A Word in Progress (live on Sunday nights at 9 PM on voicEd Radio).

The show concept goes something like this: Derek and one or two guests will explore one of the words that Derek has on his chapter list. The conversation then becomes part of the public record, but also serves as a way for Derek to deepen his own thinking.

When you think about it, there’s more than a little courage associated with Derek’s idea. Instead of retreating to a cabin in the woods (or a basement office) to commit his thinking to paper, Derek has committed to become very public about his work. He is openly declaring both his certainties and his uncertainties. He is actively seeking confirmation AND pushback. He’s saying to his guests (and his audience), “Here’s what I’m thinking, but help me go deeper.”

I get to be there, bring my passion for etymology to the table and watch this whole thing unfold. And, for me, I can’t think of many things I would rather be doing on a Sunday night!

So, why not make A Word in Progress with Derek Rhodenizer a part of your Sunday evening? Gather a few friends around the radio to participate on the Twitter stream. Take the conversation into your staff room or office the next morning. Do some deeper thinking about the words that we use when we talk about teaching, learning and education!

Here’s a taste of where we’ve been so far: creativity, learning, grit, relationship and collaboration. (Apologies…a little housekeeping necessary on the playlist details

This week, Derek will be on live with Peter Cameron to explore the idea of “connected”. Should be interesting!