Talking at Cross Purposes…Again…

The phrase “talking at cross purposes” has me mesmerized. I wrote about Perspectives and Talking at Cross Purposes in a previous post, but have not let go in exploring its meaning and the reflection of daily confrontation with the reality of talking at cross purposes in education.

The Cambridge Dictionaries Online define “to talk at cross purposes”:

If two or more people are at cross purposes, they do not understand each other because they are talking about different subjects without realizing this

In my previous post, I mentioned the subject of “What does it mean to be educated”, “Where and how do we learn?”, “Where do we go for information”, “What does a classroom look like?”, “How do we read and write?”and “How do we collaborate and communicate?” and how different stakeholders in education have a different definition, perspective and mental outlook, when they think and speak of these subjects.

I am continuing to add to this list of “talking at cross purposes” keywords  as I am reflecting on miscommunication between Professional Development provides, coaches, administrators and classroom teachers.

I am acutely aware of the little word “help“in the school environment and its potential of being a catalyst for talking at cross purposes. In this specific example below, I am looking at a conversation between a classroom teacher and a learning coach (or technology integrationist/facilitator/21st century literacy specialist). One is asking for help, the other one is gladly offering help….both use and interpret the word ‘help” differently, which can lead to frustration on one or both parts.


Download the pdf file  or click on the image for a larger version of the “Talking at Cross Purposes” cartoon.