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Amir Asghari recently asked a question about mathematical slang. He was "looking for "non-mathematical" terms or phrases that are used to refer to mathematical objects (of any kind) mainly for educational purposes." He defined slang as "a type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people."

I am looking for examples of mathematical education slang, where the terms refer not to mathematical objects but to mathematical education objects.

An example of what I am interested in is "drill-and-kill." A Wikipedia article defines this as "an unhealthy focus on excessive repetition of simple, isolated skills." I first heard this term from a teacher who did not like teaching that focuses on procedures. (I later heard of the more positive sounding term "drill and skill," but I don't know which of the two terms came first.)

Another term that I often hear is "chalk-and-talk," used to describe the traditional way of teaching through lectures. I first heard the term from the teacher mentioned above who used it in a derogatory manner. (However, the Wikipedia article about it currently seems to be in favor of it.)

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Jigsaw? Fishbowl? Turn-and-talk? Are these examples? Need they be geared specifically towards mathematics education? – Benjamin Dickman Jan 8 at 16:49
@BenjaminDickman, I'm not familiar with the three terms you mentioned. I suppose I'm having the same problem as Amir. I'm interested in terms that are used more often in mathematics education (such as drill and kill) and also in terms that are used in more general settings (such as chalk and talk). – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 8 at 22:46
For completeness, just a few google results: Jigsaw (wiki), Fishbowl, Turn and Talk (pdf). – Benjamin Dickman Jan 8 at 23:36
@BenjaminDickman, thanks for the links. I haven't seen jigsaw, fishbowl, or turn and talk used in a math classroom (I have taught only undergraduates and graduate students, where we usually use chalk and talk), but if you have, then please add them as an answer. – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 9 at 4:47

Similar to 'drill-and-kill', a common one is 'plug-and-chug'. I guess this refers not so much to the method of teaching (drilling students) as to the method of completing the exercises (running the prescribed algorithm without thought to what it does or why).

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I'm reading the FAQ on CW and the Future of CW blog post, and I can't tell for sure, but it seems like this might turn into a CW type of thing... – shoover Jan 8 at 16:41
@JessicaB This is perfect! Thanks. – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 8 at 22:49
@shoover, thanks for the links. From your second link: "If a question is valuable enough that you believe it belongs on the site, chances are you don't need it to be community wiki!" Let's see what the community thinks. – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 8 at 22:53
This is one that I've heard a lot - in fact as I write this, it's the only one mentioned on the page that I'm familiar with. I wonder if that says something about its popularity. (NB @JoelReyesNoche I wonder if you should mention in the question that answers need not rhyme :-P) – David Z Jan 9 at 14:33
@DavidZ, I don't think that's necessary as there is now a non-rhyming answer. – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 10 at 10:37

There is the constructivist "guide on the side", contrasted with the traditional "sage on the stage".

These phrases have been popular in secondary and primary education in recent years, but they originated over 20 years ago, and were originally aimed at post-secondary education. Alison King published an article introducing these terms in the Winter 1993 issue of College Teaching journal.

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This is perfect! Thanks. – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 8 at 22:47

Think, Pair, Share and Exit Tickets

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Thank you for this. Although I'm familiar with these ideas, it's the first time I've heard these names for them. – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 10 at 0:55

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