Pardon my Jargon


A struggle of mine that deters me from the educational pursuit of knowledge, I find most often, is when an author, lecturer, or presentor fills the paper, lesson, or talk with overly pedantic, obtuse, and scholastic jargon from the discipline. Even in my own fields of mathematics and statistics, the over abundance of jargon can easily and consistently discourage the general public from picking up the main points of the research or topic even before considering the potential knowledge gap. Thus, I am very familiar with the need to make clear our research findings to an audience of more general interest and an audience of less discipline-oriented prerequisite knowledge. When it comes down to it, no one cares about the jargon, we just want to know the juicy parts of research tea. 

Some strategies that help explain research to someone who has no previous knowledge about a field include cutting the jargon, repetition, repetition, repetition, and drawing connections.  By cutting the jargon completely or unless utterly necessary because there is NO other word for it immediately aids in the explanation of your work and research. Another tool to communicate is repetition. Simply repeating what something is multiple times throughout the paper, talk, or lecture helps reiterate and reinforce the topic for the audience, especially an audience with little background in the discipline. Reinforcing and reiterating in general are good educational tools and public speaking tools because they drive home a central theme and message clearly and effectively. Lastly, drawing connections to other fields, if you know the field of the audience member(s), or drawing connections to shared human experiences or life experiences is another effective tool in sharing and explaining your work. Humans are very situational beings; we like to make connections, establish networks, and relate one thing to another in our lives. So by drawing connections and comparisons to other aspects of the audience’s life, work, or fields could help explain to them the significance and importance of your work. 

My future professional goal is to be a high school mathematics teacher. Although, my research does not deal with secondary education or mathematics education because I am exploring the impact and implications of mathematics in the Ancient World, educators and teachers are a target audience. I aim to provide a resource for these educators in order to provide the context for the development of the math we teach, the impact of the math we teach, and how it surrounds us everyday and solves basic problems we have been asking for over 3,000 years. The development of a booklet, book, or unit for teachers and educators would obviously be targeted towards the education and mathematics education fields; however, the interdisciplinary work aligns with audiences in Classics, History, Mathematics, and History and Philosophies of Science to name a few. My work lies at the intersection of all these disciplines in one facet or another, and while we all share similar and common jargons and vernaculars, it is important to remember that there are differences amongst these fields and disciplines when we go to share our collective work and research. However, any one of these audiences might be interested in this work and would aid in the development of my future professional goals. 

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