Most of us are so involved in our work in our own little sphere that it can be difficult to understand that others who enter into our sphere might not understand our tribal language or why we do the things that we do.
That is why I, when I first started teaching, found it so hard to understand that students could have gotten as far as Higher Education without having (what I considered to be) basic information skills like searching databases and building a bibliography using a certain style.
I am so used to being in the library sphere that I am not even always aware that I am speaking a “tribal” library language with my collegues. And because Norway is such a small country and because almost all librarians are educated at Oslo University College (by the same teachers as the previous generation of librarians in this country), and because almost all academic libraries are using Bibsys as their library system, I can use the Bibsys code language (“have you imo`d this?” “i cannot ltreg this patron”) and they will all understand what I am saying. And of course, as long as I am talking to my collegues, that is no problem. But what if I use this code language to students?
Yesterday, I attended my first lecture in Game Design. It was very exciting! And it was challenging because it is a sphere that I am not a part of on an everyday basis. I have always enjoyed gaming, but I haven`t the extensive experience that most of the other students had. I am a console player and I prefer platform games like Mario. I haven`t tried many other kinds either. But the students in that class were speaking with such confidence using terms I had never heard. The abbreviations were tossed around in discussions. PRG, MMORPG, TBS, RTS… a lot to learn! I concentrated so hard that it brought on a headache after the class. But I learned so much! And it inspired me to try some new games and to really get into this world more. I look forward to the next class..
So, being part of another sphere is useful to all us who teach. It is a reminder that what we say isn`t always as self-explanatory as we think.