40 Days and 40 Words: Spin


Okay go ahead substitute some other word for marketers....you know you want to and you know one popped into your head as soon as you saw this picture. There's several I might substitute. I'm going out on the edge a bit today. Why not? I'm not all sugar and fluff. I'm not always right but at least I always tell you what I think, honestly and passionately. Some people fault me for that. Oh well.

Today's word is spin. As in "putting a spin on it."  These are the definitions I'm referring to in this post:

  •  to evolve, express, or fabricate by processes of mind or imagination <spin a yarn>
  •  to present (as information) with a particular spin <spin the statistics>
We all do it. You have to, at least to a certain degree, to survive in education and perhaps in life in general. We don't say students are being "lazy" we spin it as lack of motivation. We don't always tell our administrators what we think. Sometimes we keep our mouths shut and other times we try to "spin it" in a softer manner. In some instances a "spin" is really necessary and in other instances I wonder how things might evolve if we could just skip the spin and be honest and straight forward. This aspect of spin is not the total focus of today's post but I wanted people to know that yes, I do understand how a spin can be necessary.

What I really want to think about today is the "spin" that is often put on things that we know are obviously, in reality, quite different than the spin. I've watched it for 30 years. We go through a hiring process when we already know who is getting the job. Sometimes we even tell someone they are getting a job that hasn't even been approved yet. We shade the truth about finances when we want to do one thing or another. There's no money for raises but we add numerous additional positions (which may or may not be needed). Don't take this as a dictate on the present. In reality, I have watched this happen over and over again. I'd much prefer we drop the spin and save a lot of people a lot of time and aggravation.

Some spins might actually be productive, such as using the term lack of motivation which is much softer and easier for a parent to accept than the negative connation of lazy. It's the spins that people expect everyone to "buy" that are probably the most destructive because usually those have some ulterior motive. If you have to spin it, ask yourself what is really behind the story. Perhaps the most insulting is the spinner expects people to be gullible and accept the spin when in reality 98% of the people know the difference.

Those same 98% of the people keep their mouths shut because honestly most spins are hard to prove. They dance in the gray area and without right out calling people liars its hard to fight a spin. In addition, most people don't investigate, ask questions nor confront what they are spun. Most just accept it even knowing it's not really accurate. This is corrosive and over time undermines the educational process. That's why checks and balances are so important. That's why open, honest communication is essential. Don't get caught in the web.

 
Just remember this age old saying: "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."
 
I hope I'll see you tomorrow for the next word in the series! Until then BE REAL!

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