English Buzzwords You Might Hear in the Staffroom

Buzzwords not only become common in popular speech, such as “Hop on a call” or “bubble”, but you may hear them from your colleagues in the staffroom, or your managers.


You probably hear this word everywhere. It isn’t related to one field specifically, although it’s very much in use in technology. Many products, like different gadgets and devices, are today personalized to enhance the user’s experience. You can probably find some companies offering personalised jewellery, clothes, and numerous other products and services to try and convince us to buy them. This term is also common in advertising, being a way to reach target audiences.

The ideal to create personalisation in education has been around for a long time, and language courses are no different. Teaching a 1:1 bespoke course is the idea opportunity to personalise an experience, but how can you do this with a class of 15 different students, all with different skills and abilities? Get to know your students, track their abilities and progress, and get to know their interests. Don’t mindlessly plough through the textbook at the same pace regardless of the feedback you are getting in class. Talk to you colleagues for advice, and personalisation is possible.


This buzzword might get you a job, or a promotion, if you use it in the right context. Being proactive is a highly desirable personality trait in any business, and a language school is no different. It means you’re ready to deal with potential problems because you have anticipated them long before they appear. Actually, you’re ready to prevent them from happening.

You don’t like looking back and you’re always prepared for the future. Sounds like a perfect employee, right? Instead of having a proactive approach, you can avoid the buzzword and be an insightful or a forward-looking person.

Best practice

You know that situation when you ask your boss if you could do a task your way, because you’re sure it would be really great? And the boss says ‘yes, you can, but the best practice is…’ and you just stop listening because it’s really a ‘no’.

Best practice is actually a rule, even though it isn’t official. It may sound like something that’s only recommended, but you’d better do it like everyone else without trying to experiment. There’s obviously a reason it’s called BEST practice.

In teaching there is a constant desire to experiment with new methods and try new things, because they might be better. That is right, especially for newer teachers, or for new contexts that you are uncertain of. But reassure yourself that the tried and tested best practice is always there to fall back on. 

Think outside the box

Because you have eternity to think inside the box. The joke is a bit morbid, but you get the point. This expression is definitely overused today, but you still need to know its meaning, because you’ll see it literally everywhere. From a classroom full of first-graders to a conference room full of team leaders. It means you’re able to use your imagination and creativity to think of a solution to a problem that doesn’t really seem obvious.

To think differently and be extremely resourceful is vitally important, especially when we are faced with new situations or crises. The successful, and quick, response of most language schools to the 2020 Covid pandemic would  not have been possible without a good dollop of thinking outside the box.


This phrase refers to a situation where everyone wins; more precisely, where all sides involved have some kind of profit after a deal’s been made or a conflict has been resolved. The expression used to refer to a game at first, but now it also designates a strategy that benefits everyone, or leaves everyone satisfied.

For example, if you are asked to swap a class with another teacher to a day that suits you better, so they can take up a gym class, that is a win-win. There are lots of win-wins possible, and everybody ends up happy. 


Milestones are defined as crucial moments or events in history. They can also refer to stages in life, progress that’s been made, or phases of development. Every mom will probably celebrate her baby’s milestones, such as first steps or first words. There have been milestones in exploring the world, in technology, in learning, in science. Today it’s also a common buzzword in business – every company has major milestones, or goals, to achieve.

In your school or classroom, your milestones may be your first class all passes their tests, or your first set of reports finished and sent off. In your career, you will probably remember your milestones fondly, so treasure them.


As we already said, buzzwords are good to know if you want to keep up with changes that happen in every language on a daily basis. The bottom line is, we all use them all the time, and in those contexts where informality is getting more common in the workplace, a greater use of buzzwords will inevitably follow.