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Educational has to do with facilitating learning, or gaining knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Also: Instructional, pedagogical, relating to education, especially at schools or universities.
Words: terms, terminology, jargon, lingo (informal, humorous), and more.
Academia › A collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole. The word comes from the akademeia just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a centre of learning.
Academic degree › A degree is any of a wide range of status levels conferred by institutions of higher education, such as universities, normally as the result of successfully completing a program of study.
Accommodation › Piagetian concept of adjusting schemas to fit new information and experiences.
Achievement test › A test that measures what the student has learned or what skills the student has mastered.
Action research › Research used to solve a specific classroom or school problem, improve teaching and other educational strategies, or make a decision at a specific level.
Active learning › A process whereby learners are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than "passively" absorbing lectures. Active learning involves reading, writing, discussion, and engagement in solving problems, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Active learning often involves cooperative learning.
Active listening › A listening style that gives full attention to the speaker and notes both the intellectual and emotional content of the message.
Actualising tendency › A tendency toward fulfillment or actualisation of dominant the capacities of the organism.
Adolescence › The transition period from childhood to adulthood.
Adult education › The practice of teaching and educating adults. This is often done in the workplace, or through 'extension' or 'continuing education' courses at secondary schools, or at a College or University. The practice is also often referred to as 'Training and Development'. It has also been referred to as andragogy (to distinguish it from pedagogy).
Advance organisers › Teaching activities and techniques that establish a framework and orient students to material before it is presented.
Aggression › Behaviour that is intended to injure another person (physically or verbally) or to destroy property.
Aims and objectives › An aim expresses the purpose of the educational unit or course whereas an objective is a statement of a goal which successful participants are expected demonstrably to achieve before the course or unit completes.
Algorithms › Strategies that bring a solution to a problem.
Alternative education › (also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative) Describes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than traditional publicly- or privately-run schools. These approaches can be applied to all students of all ages, from infancy to adulthood, and all levels of education.
Altruism › An unselfish interest in helping another person.
Analogy › A correspondence in some respects between otherwise dissimilar things.
Androgyny › The presence of positive masculine and feminine characteristics in the same individual.
Apprenticeship › A traditional method, still popular in some countries, of training a new generation of skilled crafts practitioners. Apprentices (or in early modern usage "prentices") built their careers from apprenticeships.
Art education › The area of learning that is based upon the visual arts - drawing, painting, sculpture, and design in such fine crafts of jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics, etc., and design applied to more practical fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings.
Assessment › The process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.
Assimilation › Piagetian concept of the incorporation of new information into existing knowledge (schemas).
Associative learning › Learning that two events are connected (associated).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder › (ADHD) A disability in which children consistently show one or more of the following characteristics over a period of time: (1) inattention, (2) hyperactivity, and (3) impulsivity.
Authoritative classroom management style › A management style that encourages students to be independent thinkers and doers but still provides effective monitoring. Authoritative teachers engage students in considerable verbal give-and-take and show a caring attitude toward them. However, they still set limits when necessary.
Authoritative parenting › A positive parenting style that encourages children to be inde pendent but still places limits and controls on their actions; extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed; associated with children's social competence.
Autodidactism › Self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact is a mostly self-taught person - typically someone who has an enthusiasm for self-education and a high degree of self-motivation.
Behaviourism › The view that behaviour should be explained by observable experiences, not by mental processes. An approach to psychology based on the proposition that behaviour can be researched scientifically without recourse to inner mental states. It is a form of materialism, denying any independent significance for the mind. One of the assumptions of many behaviourists is that all behaviour is determined by a combination of forces both genetic factors and the environment, either through association or reinforcement.
Belief › A conviction to the truth of a proposition. Beliefs can be acquired through perception, contemplation or communication. In the psychological sense, belief is a representational mental state that takes the form of a propositional attitude.
Belief perseverance › The tendency to hold on to a belief in the face of contradictory evidence.
Bias in education › A real or perceived bias in the educational system.
"Big Five" factors of personality › Openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (emotional stability).
Blended learning › Learning in a combination of modes. Often used more specifically to refer to courses which use a combination of traditional face-to-face teaching and distance learning techniques on-line.
Bloom's taxonomy › Developed by Benjamin Bloom and colleagues; classifies educational objectives into three domains-cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.
Brainstorming › An organised approach for producing ideas by letting the mind think without interruption. The term was coined by Alex Osborn. Brainstorming can be done either individually or in a group; in group brainstorming sessions, the participants are encouraged, and often expected, to share their ideas with one another as soon as they are generated. The key to brainstorming is not to interrupt the thought process. As ideas come to the mind, they are captured and stimulate the development of better ideas. Brainstorming is used for enhancing creativity in order to generate a broad selection of ideas in leading to a unique and improved concept.
Case study › An in-depth look at an individual.
Character education › A direct approach to moral education that involves teaching students basic moral literacy to prevent them from engaging in immoral behaviour and doing harm to themselves or others.
Child (plural: children) › A young human. Depending on context it may mean someone who is not yet an adult, or someone who has not yet reached puberty (someone who is prepubescent).
Children who are gifted › Children with above-average intelligence (usually defined as an IQ of 130 or higher) and/or superior talent in some domain such as art, music, or mathematics.
Chunking › Grouping, or "packing," information into "higher-order" units that can be remembered as single units.
Classical education › May refer to the education of antiquity and the Middle Ages, or the education of later periods based on Classics and Western culture, or the completely different Chinese tradition of education, based in large part on Confucian and Taoist traditions.
Cognitive maps › (mental maps, mind maps, cognitive models, or mental models) - A type of mental processing, or cognition, composed of a series of psychological transformations by which an individual can acquire, code, store, recall, and decode information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in their everyday or metaphorical spatial environment. Here, 'cognition' can be used to refer to the mental models, or belief systems, that people use to perceive, contextualize, simplify, and make sense of otherwise complex problems. As they have been studied in various fields of science, these mental models are often referred to, variously, as cognitive maps, scripts, schemata, and frames of reference.
Common sense › (or as an adjective, commonsense) - What people in common would agree; that which they "sense" in common as their common natural understanding. Some use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that in their opinion they consider would in most people's experience be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what is believed to be knowledge held by people "in common". The knowledge and experience most people have, or are believed to have by the person using the term.
Comparative education › Seeks to throw light on education in one country (or group of countries) by using data and insights drawn from the practises and situation in another country, or countries.
Concept map › A visual presentation of a concept's connections and hierarchical organisation.
Concept mapping › A technique for visualizing the relationships between different concepts. A concept map is a diagram showing the relationships between concepts. Concepts are connected with labelled arrows, in a downward-branching hierarchical structure. The relationship between concepts is articulated in linking phrases, e.g., "gives rise to", "results in", "is required by," or "contributes to". Concept mapping serves several purposes. One, which takes place via knowledge elicitation, is to represent the mental models, i.e., the cognitive map of individuals, teams and organisations. Another, which takes place by knowledge capture, is to represent the structure of knowledge gleaned from written documents. The addition of knowledge resources, e.g., diagrams, reports, other concept maps, spreadsheets, etc., to the concept nodes (attached during or after construction) has been found to significantly improve the level of meaningful learning of the concept mapper. Educators are increasingly realising the utility of such maps and have started using them in classroom.
Concepts › They group objects, events, and characteristics on the basis of common properties.
Concrete operational stage › Piaget's third cognitive developmental stage, occurring between about 7 to 11 years of age. At this stage, the child thinks operationally, and logical reasoning replaces intuitive thought but only in concrete situations; classification skills are present, but abstract problems present difficulties.
Confirmation bias › The tendency to search for and use information that supports our ideas rather than refutes them.
Conservation › The idea that some characteristic of an object stays the same even though the object might change in appearance; a cognitive ability that develops in the concrete operational stage, according to Piaget.
Construct validity › The extent to which there is evidence that a test measures a particular construct. A construct is an unobservable trait or characteristic of a person, such as intelligence, learning style, personality, or anxiety.
Constructivism › A set of assumptions about the nature of human learning that guide constructivist learning theories and teaching methods. Constructivism values developmentally appropriate, teacher-supported learning that is initiated and directed by the student. Further, constructivism views all of our knowledge as "constructed." It is believed by constructivists that representations of physical and biological reality, including race, sexuality, and gender are socially constructed. The common thread between all forms of constructivism is that they do not focus on an ontological reality, but instead on the constructed reality.
Constructivist approach › A learner-centred approach to learning that emphasizes the importance of individuals actively constructing knowledge and understanding with guidance from the teacher.
Content validity › A test's ability to sample the content that is to be measured.
Control group › The group whose experience is treated in every way like the experimental group except for the manipulated factor.
Conventional reasoning › The second, or intermediate, level in Kohlberg's theory of moral development. At this level, individuals abide by certain standards (internal), but they are the standards of others such as parents or the laws of society (external). The conventional level consists of two stages: mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships, and interpersonal conformity (stage 3) and social systems morality (stage 4).
Convergent thinking › Thinking with the aim of producing one correct answer. This is usually the type of thinking required on conventional intelligence tests.
Cooperative learning › Learning that occurs when students work in small groups to help each other learn.
Corpus callosum › Where fibres connect the brain's left and right hemispheres.
Correlational research › Research that describes the strength of the relation between two or more events or characteristics.
Creativity › The ability to think about something in novel and unusual ways and come up with unique solutions to problems.
Criterion validity › A test's ability to predict a student's performance as measured by other assessments or criteria.
Critical pedagogy › A teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate. In other words, it is a theory and practice of helping students achieve critical consciousness. In this tradition the teacher works to lead students to question ideologies and practices considered oppressive (including those at school), and encourage liberatory collective and individual responses to the actual conditions of their own lives.
Critical thinking › Thinking reflectively and productively and evaluating the evidence. It is a mental process of analysing or evaluating information, particularly statements or propositions that people have offered as true. It forms a process of reflecting upon the meaning of statements, examining the offered evidence and reasoning, and forming judgments about the facts. Critical thinkers can gather such information from observation, experience, reasoning, and/or communication. Critical thinking has its basis in intellectual values that go beyond subject-matter divisions and which include: clarity, accuracy, precision, evidence, thoroughness and fairness.
Cross-cultural studies › Studies that compare what happens in one culture with what happens in one or more other cultures; they provide information about the degree to which people are similar and to what degree behaviours are specific to certain cultures.
Cue-dependent forgetting › Retrieval failure caused by a lack of effective retrieval cues.
Cultural learning › The way a group of people within a society or culture tend to learn and pass on new information. Learning styles are greatly influenced by how a culture socializes with its children and young people.
Culture › The behaviour patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a particular group of people that are passed on from generation to generation.
Curriculum › (plural curricula) The set of courses and their contents offered by an institution such as a school or university. In some cases, a curriculum may be partially or entirely determined by an external body (such as the National Curriculum for England in English schools). In the U.S., the basic curriculum is established by each state with the individual school districts adjusting it to their desires; in Australia each state's Education Department sets the various curricula.
Declarative memory › The conscious recollection of information, such as specific facts or events that can be verbally communicated.
Deductive reasoning › Reasoning from the general to the specific.
Deep/surface styles › Involve whether students approach learning materials in a way that helps them understand the meaning of the materials (deep style) or to learn only what needs to be learned (surface style).
Dependent variable › The factor that is measured in an experiment.
Descriptive statistics › Mathematical procedures that are used to describe and summarize data (information) in a meaningful way.
Development › The pattern of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes that begins at conception and continues through the life span. Most development involves growth, although it also eventually involves decay (dying).
Developmentally appropriate practice › Education based on knowledge of the typical development of children within an age span (age appropriateness) as well as the uniqueness of the child (individual appropriateness).
Differentiated instruction › Involves recognising individual variations in students' knowledge, readiness, interests, and other characteristics, and taking these differences into account when planning curriculum and engaging in instruction.
Direct instruction › A structured, teacher-centred approach focused on academic activity; maximum time spent by students on academic tasks, and efforts by the teacher to keep negative affect to a minimum.
Discovery learning › Finding a solution to a problem or an explanation for a phenomenon rather than simply memorising rules and explanations - Learning in which students construct an understanding on their own.
Distance education › (or distance learning) A field where education is brought to students who are not physically "on site." Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason including the taking of examinations is considered to be a hybrid or blended course or program.
Divergent thinking › Thinking with the aim of producing many answers to the same question. This is characteristic of creativity. Also: generating many non-standard answers to a problem or question.
Divided attention › Concentrating on more than one activity at a time.
Early childhood education › Covers the education of a child from the period from birth to eight years of age.
Education › A social science that encompasses teaching and learning specific knowledge, beliefs, and skills. Licensed and practicing teachers in the field use a variety of methods and materials in order to impart a curriculum.
Educational games › Games, including video games of this genre, designed to teach people, typically children, about a certain subject or help them learn a skill as they play. Some people call these types of games edutainment because they combine education and entertainment.
Educational psychology › The branch of psychology that specializes in understanding teaching and learning in educational settings. - The study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational treatments, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organisations. Although the terms "educational psychology" and "school psychology" are often used interchangeably, researchers and theorists are likely to be identified as educational psychologists, whereas practitioners in schools or school-related settings are identified as school psychologists. Educational psychology is concerned with the processes of educational attainment among the general population and sub-populations such as gifted children and those subject to specific disabilities.
Educational research › Research conducted to investigate behavioural patterns in pupils, students, teachers and other participants in schools and other educational institutions. Such research is often conducted by examining work products such as documents and standardized test results. The methods of educational research are derived chiefly from the social sciences, and in particular from psychology.
Elaboration › The extensiveness of information processing involved in encoding.
Emotional and behavioural disorders › Serious, persistent problems that involve relationships, aggression, depression, fears associated with personal or school matters, and other inappropriate socioemotional characteristics.
Emotional intelligence › The ability to perceive and express emotion accurately and adaptively, to understand emotion and emotional knowledge, to monitor one's own and others' emotions and feelings, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action.
Empirical knowledge › (or a posteriori knowledge) Propositional knowledge obtained by experience or sensorial information. It is contrasted with a priori knowledge, or knowledge that is gained through the apprehension of innate ideas, "intuition," "pure reason," or other non-experiential sources. The natural and social sciences are usually considered a posteriori, literally "after the fact," disciplines. Mathematics and logic are usually considered a priori, "before the fact," disciplines.
Encoding › The process by which information gets into memory.
Engagement › (Often:) The sentiment a student feels or does not feel towards learning or the learning environment.
English as a second language (ESL) › A widely used term for bilingual education programs and classes that teach English to students whose native language is not English.
Episodic memory › The retention of information about the where and when of life's happenings.
Epistemic theories of truth › Attempts to analyse the notion of truth in terms of epistemic notions such as "belief", "acceptance", "verification", "justification", "perspective" and so on. There is a variety of such conceptions, and they may be classified into verificationist theories and perspectivalist and relativist theories.
Epistemology › (from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech)) The branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. Historically, it has been one of the most investigated and most debated of all philosophical subjects. Much of this debate has focused on analysing the nature and variety of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth and belief. Much of this discussion concerns the justification of knowledge claims, that is the grounds on which one can claim to know a particular fact.
Equilibration › A mechanism that Piaget proposed to explain how children shift from one stage of thought to the next. The shift occurs as children experience cognitive conflict, or disequilibrium, in trying to understand the world. Eventually, they resolve the conflict and reach a balance, or equilibrium, of thought.
Essential questions › Questions that reflect the heart of the curriculum, the most important things that students should explore and learn.
Ethnicity › A shared pattern of characteristics such as cultural heritage, nationality, race, religion, and language.
Experience › Comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event. The history of the word experience aligns it closely with the concept of experiment.
Experimental group › The group whose experience is manipulated in an experiment.
Experimental research › Research that allows the determination of the causes of behaviour; involves conducting an experiment, which is a carefully regulated procedure in which one or more of the factors believed to influence the behaviour being studied is manipulated and all others are held constant.
Expository advance organisers › Organisers that provide students with new knowledge that will orient them to the upcoming lesson.
Figure-ground relation › A Gestalt Principles.
Fixation › Using a prior strategy and thereby failing to examine a problem from a fresh, new perspective.
Flow › Total involvement in an activity. Also: The motivational state characterized by becoming extremely focused and absorbed in an activity, losing track of time, and completely ignoring anything else that is happening in the environment outside of such activity.
Forgetting › Loss of information from memory or inability to recall information due to interference or improper retrieval cues.
Formal operational stage › Piaget's fourth cognitive developmental stage, which emerges between about 11 and 15 years of age (or ages 11 to adult). Thought is more abstract, idealistic, and logical in this stage.
Formative assessment › Assessment that provides information to teachers and students while teaching and learning are still occurring rather than after it is completed.
Frontal Lobe › Brain lobe responsible for processing information relating to memory, planning, decision making, goal setting, and creativity; also contains the primary motor cortex regulating muscular movements.
Fuzzy trace theory › States that memory is best understood by considering two types of memory representations: (1) verbatim memory trace and (2) fuzzy trace, or gist. In this theory, older children's better memory is attributed to the fuzzy traces created by extracting the gist of information.
Game › Activity that creates an enjoyable learning context by linking material to sport, adventure, or fantasy.
Gender › The characteristics of people - main traits and behaviours - as males and females in a particular culture.
Gender identity › The sense of being male or female, which most children acquire by the time they are 3 years old.
Gender role › A set of expectations that prescribes how females or males should think, act, and feel.
Gender schema theory › States that gender typing emerges as children gradually develop gender schemas of what is gender-appropriate and gender-inappropriate in their culture.
Gender stereotypes › Broad categories that reflect impressions and beliefs about what behaviour is appropriate for females and males.
Gender typing › Acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role.
General intelligence › (g) The term used for the theory that intelligence is a single trait that people have in varying degrees.
General skill › Skill applying to many domains (e.g., goal setting).
Generalisation › (Narrowly:) A tendency for a new stimulus that is similar to an original stimulus to produce a similar response. The term 'generalisation' has wider meanings too
Gestalt principles › Figure-ground relationship: A perceptual field is composed of a figure against a background. Proximity: Elements in a perceptual field are viewed as belonging together according to their closeness in space or time. Similarity: Perceptual field elements similar in such respects as size or colour are viewed as belonging together. Common direction: Elements of a perceptual field appearing to constitute a pattern or flow in the same direction are perceived as a figure. Simplicity: People organise perceptual fields in simple, regular features. Closure: People fill in incomplete patterns or experiences.
Gestalt psychology › Psychological theory of perception and learning stressing the organisation of sensory experiences.
Gifted › (intellectual giftedness) An intellectual ability significantly higher than average. Gifted children develop asynchronously; their minds are often ahead of their physical growth, and specific cognitive and emotional functions often are at different stages of development within a single person. Gifted individuals form a heterogeneous group. Because gifted children are intellectually ahead of most of their age peers in at least one major subject area, they frequently require gifted education programs to reach their potential and avoid boredom. Gifted individuals experience the world differently and more intensely, resulting in unique social and emotional issues. The concept of giftedness has historically been rife with controversy, some even denying that this group exists.
Glia cell › (Glial cell). Brain cell that serves to nourish and cleanse neurons.
Goal › The behaviour (outcome) that one is consciously trying to perform (attain).
Gratitude › A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation, especially in response to someone doing something kind or helpful.
Growth needs › Human needs that are not necessary for survival but are necessary for success.
Guided discovery › Finding a solution to a problem or an explanation for a phenomenon with the help of teacher hints and directions.
Guided discovery learning › Learning in which students are encouraged to construct their understanding with the assistance of teacher-guided questions and directions.
Habituation › An example of non-associative learning in which there is a progressive diminution of behavioural response probability with repetition of a stimulus. It is another form of integration.
Helpless orientation › A response to challenges and difficulties in which the individual feels trapped by the difficulty and attributes the difficulty to a lack of ability.
Heuristics › Strategies or rules of thumb that can suggest a solution to a problem but don't ensure that it will work. Also: Informal "rules of thumb" or intuitive methods that may solve a problem but are not guaranteed to do so.
Hidden curriculum › (a) Dewey's concept that every school has a pervasive moral atmosphere even if it does not have a program of moral education. (b)Draws attention to the idea that schools do more than simply transmit knowledge, as laid down in the official curricula. It is often used to criticise the social implications, political underpinnings, and cultural outcomes of modern educative activities. While early examinations were concerned with identifying the anti-democratic nature of schooling, later studies have taken various tones, including those concerned with socialism, capitalism, and anarchism in education.
Hierarchy of needs › Maslow's concept that individual needs must be satisfied in this sequence: physiological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, and self-actualisation.
Higher education › Education provided by universities and other institutions that award academic degrees, such as community colleges, and liberal arts colleges.
Histogram › A frequency distribution in the form of a graph.
History of ideas › A field of research in history and in related fields dealing with the expression, preservation, and change of human ideas over time. Scholars often consider the history of ideas a sister discipline to, or a particular approach within, intellectual history. Work in the history of ideas usually involves close research in the history of philosophy and the history of literature.
Homeschooling › (also home education or home school) An educational alternative in which children are educated at home and in the community, in contrast to a compulsory education which takes place in an institution such as a publicly run or privately run school. Home education methods are similar to those widely used before the popularisation of compulsory education in the 19th century. Before this time, the majority of education worldwide was provided at home by family and community members, with only the privileged attending privately run schools or employing tutors, the only available alternatives at the time.
Hostile environment sexual harassment › Occurs when students are subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it limits the students' ability to benefit from their education.
Humanistic perspective › A view that stresses students' capacity for personal growth, freedom to choose their destiny, and positive qualities.
Hypothetical-deductive reasoning › Piaget's formal operational concept that adolescents can develop hypotheses to solve problems and systematically reach (deduce) a conclusion.
Identity achievement › The identity status that results from having explored realistic options, having made specific choices, and becoming committed to pursuing those choices
Identity diffusion › The identity status that results from engaging in a disorganised examination of different choices and consequently failing to make clear choices about their future, which may lead to apathy and confusion
Identity foreclosure › The identity status that results from following the steps of others, usually parents, without examining any alternative path for one's own life
Image › A mental representation that keeps the same structure or appearance than the original information
I-message › Clear, direct statement identifying what the student transgression was, how the misbehaviour affects the teacher's ability to accomplish her learning goals, and how the misbehaviour makes the teacher feel
Individualised instruction › A method of instruction in which content, instructional materials, instructional media, and pace of learning are based upon the abilities and interests of each individual learner.
Inquiry education › (sometimes known as the inquiry method) A student-centred method of education focused on asking questions. Students are encouraged to ask questions which are meaningful to them, and which do not necessarily have easy answers; teachers are encouraged to avoid speaking at all when this is possible, and in any case to avoid giving answers in favour of asking more questions.
Inquiry-based learning › A method in which teachers ask students to answer a thought-provoking question or problem and students formulate hypotheses, collect data to test their hypotheses, draw conclusions from their tests, and reflect on the original question and their thinking process
Insight › The ability to use reflection to solve problems Instructional Media The physical system or vehicle used to deliver information to students or teachers-such as a textbook, instructional video, or computer program
Instructional design › (also known as instructional systems design) The analysis of learning needs and systematic development of instruction. Instructional designers often use instructional technology as a method for developing instruction. Instructional design models typically specify a method, that if followed will facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills and attitude to the recipient or acquirer of the instruction.
Instructional method › The techniques that are embedded in different technologies to promote learning - such as advance organisers, scaffolding, or self-explanation methods.
Instructional scaffolding › The provision of sufficient supports to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduced to students.
Instructional theory › A discipline that focuses on how to structure material for promoting the education of humans, particularly youth. Originating in the United States in the late 1970s, instructional theory is typically divided into two categories: the cognitive and behaviourist schools of thought. Instructional theory was spawned off the 1956 work of Benjamin Bloom, a University of Chicago professor, and the results of his Taxonomy of Education Objectives - one of the first modern codifications of the learning process.
Intelligence (trait) › The mental capacity to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. Although nonscientists generally regard the concept of intelligence as having much broader scope, in psychology, the study of intelligence generally regards this trait as distinct from creativity, personality, character, or wisdom.
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) › A global index of people's intelligence derived from one of several different standardized tests attempting to measure intelligence
Intermittent reinforcement › A reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement is provided only after some occurrences of the target behaviour
Internalisation › The appropriation of the language and culture of one's community
Intrinsic motivation › Evident when people engage in an activity for its own sake, without some obvious external incentive present. A hobby is a typical example.
Justice perspective › A moral perspective that focuses on the rights of the individual; Kohlberg's theory is a justice perspective.
Kindergarten › (German for garden for children) A name used in many parts of the world for the first stages of a child's classroom education. In some parts kindergarten is part of the formal school system; in others it may refer to pre-school or daycare.
Knowledge › Information of which someone is aware. Knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose.
Learning › The process of acquiring knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values, through study, experience, or teaching, that causes a change of behaviour that is persistent, measurable, and specified or allows an individual to formulate a new mental construct or revise a prior mental construct (conceptual knowledge such as attitudes or values). It is a process that depends on experience and leads to long-term changes in behaviour potential.
Learning by doing › (experiential education) The process of actively engaging students in an authentic experience that will have benefits and consequences. Students make discoveries and experiment with knowledge themselves instead of hearing or reading about the experiences of others. Students also reflect on their experiences, thus developing new skills, new attitudes, and new theories or ways of thinking. Experiential education is related to the constructivist learning theory.
Learning by teaching (LdL) › In professional education (in German "Lernen durch Lehren", therefore LdL) designates a method which allows pupils and students to prepare and teach lessons or parts of lessons. Learning by teaching should not be confused with presentations or lectures by students, as students do not only convey a certain content, but choose their own methodological and didactical approach in teaching their classmates a certain area of the respective subject.
Learning outcome › The term may refer to course aims (intended learning outcomes) or may be roughly synonymous with educational objectives (observed learning outcomes). Usage varies between organisations.
Lecture › An oral presentation intended to teach people about a particular subject, for example by a university or college teacher. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history, background, theories and equations. A politician's speech, a minister's sermon, or even a businessman's sales presentation may be similar in form to a lecture. Usually the lecturer will stand at the front of the room and recite information relevant to the lecture's content.
Liberal arts › Studies that are intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills, rather than more specialized occupational or professional skills.
Literacy › The ability to read, write, speak, and listen. In modern context, the word means reading and writing in a level adequate for written communication and generally a level that enables one to successfully function at certain levels of a society.
Mastery learning › An instructional method that presumes all children can learn if they are provided with the appropriate learning conditions. Specifically, mastery learning is a method whereby students are not advanced to a subsequent learning objective until they demonstrate proficiency with the current one.
Medieval university › The first European medieval institutions generally considered to be universities were established in Italy, France and England in the late 11th and the 12th Century for the study of arts, law, medicine, and theology. These universities evolved from much older schools and monasteries, and it is difficult to define the first date at which they became true universities for teaching higher education, although the lists of studia generali for higher education in Europe held by the Vatican are a useful guide. Some other institutions such as the imperial university of Constantinople claim that they changed from schools to universities as early as the 11th Century.
Memory › The ability of the brain to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. Although traditional studies of memory began in the realms of philosophy, the late nineteenth and early twentieth century put memory within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In the recent decades, it has become one of the principal pillars of a new branch of science that represents a marriage between cognitive psychology and neuroscience, called cognitive neuroscience.
Mentoring › A developmental relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced partner referred to as a mentee or protégé. Usually - but not necessarily - the mentor/protégé pair will be of the same sex.
Meta- › In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). For example, metadata is data about data (who has produced it, when, what format the data is in and so on). Similarly, meta-memory in psychology means an individual's intuition about whether or not they would remember something if they concentrated on recalling it. Any subject can be said to have a meta-theory, which is the theoretical consideration of its foundations and methods.
Metacognition › Refers to thinking about cognition (memory, perception, calculation, association, etc.) itself. Metacognition can be divided into two types of knowledge › explicit, conscious, factual knowledge; and implicit, unconscious, procedural knowledge. The ability to think about thinking is unique to sapient species and indeed is one of the definitions of sapience. Metacognition is practiced to attempt to regulate one's own cognition, and maximize one's potential to think, learn and process stimuli from the surroundings.
Methodology › Strictly speaking is the study and knowledge of methods; but the term is frequently used pretentiously to indicate a method or a set of methods. In other words, it is the study of techniques for problem-solving and seeking answers, as opposed to the techniques themselves.
Mind map › (or mind-map) A diagram used for linking words and ideas to a central key word or idea. It is used to visualize, classify, structure, and generate ideas, as well as an aid in study, problem solving, and decision making.
Motivation › The driving force behind all actions of human beings and other animals. It is an internal state that activates behaviour and gives it direction. Emotion is closely related to motivation, and may be regarded as the subjectively experienced component of motivational states.
Naturalistic observation › Observation in the real world rather than a laboratory.
Nature-nurture issue › Issue that involves the debate about whether development is primarily influenced by nature (an organism's biological inheritance) or nurture (environmental experiences).
Nature-nurture issue › Nature refers to an or-ganism's biological inheritance, nurture to environmental influences. The "nature" proponents claim biological inheritance is the most important influence on development; the "nurture" proponents claim environmental experiences are the most important.
Near transfer › The transfer of learning to a situation that is similar to the one in which the initial learning took place.
Need for affiliation, or relatedness › The motive to be securely connected with other people.
Neo-Piagetians › Developmental psychologists who believe that Piaget got some things right but that his theory needs considerable revision; emphasize how to process information through attention, memory, and strategies.
Network theories › Theories that describe how information in memory is organised and connected; they emphasize nodes in the memory network.
Nondeclarative memory › Procedural knowledge in the form of skills and cognitive operations. Nondeclarative memory cannot be consciously recollected, at least not in the form of specific events or facts. nongraded (cross-age) program A variation of between-class ability grouping in which students are grouped by their ability in particular subjects regardless of their age or grade level.
Norm group › The group of individuals previously tested that provides a basis for interpreting a test score.
Normal distribution › A bell-shaped, symmetrical curve in which most of the scores are clustered around the mean; the farther above or below the mean that we travel, the less frequently each score occurs. So, most scores fall in the middle of the possible range of scores and few scores appear toward the extremes of the range.
Norm-referenced grading › A grading system based on a comparison of a student's performance with that of other students in the class or of other classes and other students.
Norm-referenced tests › Standardized tests in which a student's score is interpreted by comparing it with how others (the norm group) performed.
Notetaking › The practice of writing pieces of information, often in an informal or unstructured manner. One major specific type of notetaking is the practice of writing in shorthand, which can allow large amounts of information to be put on paper very quickly. Notes are frequently written in notebooks, though any available piece of paper can suffice in many circumstances - some people are especially fond of Post-It notes, for instance. Notetaking is an important skill for students, especially at the college level. Many different forms are used to structure information and make it easier to find later. Computers, particularly tablet PCs and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are beginning to see wide use as notetaking devices.
Nursery school › (or preschool) A school for the education of very young children (generally five years of age and younger). These schools range from schools which seek to teach young children to schools which only provide childcare with little educational benefits. Schools which focus on education generally teach early social skills including interpersonal interaction, being a part of a group of peers, and classroom skills such as following the instructions of a teacher. Some formal education also takes place, such as early reading or language skills. Some nursery schools have adopted specialized methods of teaching, such as Montessori.
Objective › An educational objective is a statement of a goal which successful participants are expected demonstrably to achieve before the course or unit completes.
Objectivity (philosophy) › Has various meanings in philosophy, and is surely one of the most important philosophical problems, since it concerns the epistemological status of knowledge, the problem of an objective reality and the question of our subjective relationship to others objects in the world.
Observation › An activity of a sapient or sentient living being, which senses and assimilates the knowledge of a phenomenon in its framework of previous knowledge and ideas.
Observational learning › (or social learning) Learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating behaviour observed in others. It is most associated with the work of psychologist Albert Bandura, who implemented some of the seminal studies in the area and initiated social learning theory. Although observational learning can take place at any stage in life, it is thought to be particularly important during childhood, particularly as authority becomes important.
Overlearning › A pedagogical concept according to which newly acquired skills should be practiced well beyond the point of initial mastery, leading to automaticity.
Paradigm shift › The term first used by Thomas Kuhn in his famous 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to describe the process and result of a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. Don Tapscott was the first to use the term to describe information technology and business in his book of the same title. It has since become widely applied to many other realms of human experience as well.
Pedagogy › The art or science of teaching. The word comes from the ancient Greek paidagogos, the slave who took little boys to and from school as part of paideia. The Latin word for pedagogy, education, is much more widely used, and often the two are used interchangeably.
Personal development › (also known as self-development or personal growth) Comprises the development of the self. The term may also refer to › traditional concepts of education or training; counselling and coaching for personal transformation; New Age movement and spiritual beliefs & concepts - including "inner pathways" to solve social and psychological issues; or professional development business trainers (some treat the whole person instead of business only).
Philosophy of education › The study of the purpose, nature and ideal content of education. Other questions include the nature of the knowing mind and the human subject, problems of authority, the relationship between education and society, etc. At least since Rousseau's time, the philosophy of education has been linked to theories of developmental psychology and human development.
Predictive power › (of a scientific theory) Refers to its ability to generate testable predictions. Theories with strong predictive power are highly valued, because the predictions can often encourage the falsification of the theory. The concept of predictive power differs from explanatory or descriptive power (where phenomena that are already known are retrospectively explained by a given theory) in that it allows a prospective test of theoretical understanding.
Primary education › (or elementary education) Consists of the first years of formal, structured education that occurs during childhood. In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education (though in many jurisdictions it is permissible for parents to provide it). Primary education generally begins when children are four to seven years of age. The division between primary and secondary education is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about twelve years of age (adolescence); some educational systems have separate middle schools for that period.
Problem finding › Problem discovery. It is part of the larger problem process that includes problem shaping and problem solving. Problem finding requires intellectual vision and insight into what is missing. This involves the application of creativity.
Problem shaping › Revising a question so that the solution process can begin or continue. It is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem solving. Problem shaping (or problem framing) often involves the application of critical thinking.
Problem solving › Forms part of thinking. It occurs if an organism or an artificial intelligence system does not know how to proceed from a given state to a desired goal state. It is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping.
Problem-based learning (PBL) › A didactic concept of "active learning." The defining characteristics of PBL are: learning is driven by messy, open-ended problems; students work in small collaborative groups; and "teachers" are not required, the process uses "facilitators" of learning.
Procedural knowledge › (or know-how) The knowledge of how to perform some task. Know-how is different from other kinds of knowledge such as propositional knowledge in that it can be directly applied to a task. Procedural knowledge about solving problems differs from propositional knowledge about problem solving. For example, in some legal systems, this knowledge or know-how has been considered the intellectual property of a company, and can be transferred when that company is purchased.
Public education › Schooling provided for the general public by the government, whether national or local, and paid for by taxes, which leads to it often being called state education. Schools provided under such a system are called public schools in many countries, but in England the term "public school" refers to an elite of privately funded independent schools which had their origins in medieval schools funded by charity to provide education for the poor.
Public school › The term has different (and in some cases contradictory) meanings due to regional differences.
Pygmalion effect › (or Rosenthal effect) refers to situations in which students perform better than other students simply because they are expected to do so.
Quiz › A form of game or puzzle in which the players (as individuals or in teams), attempt to answer questions correctly. A quiz usually is a form of student assessment, but often has fewer questions of lesser difficulty and requires less time for completion than a test.
Reading (process) › The process of retrieving and comprehending some form of stored information or ideas. These ideas are usually some sort of representation of language, as symbols to be examined by sight, or by touch (for example Braille). Other types of reading may not be language-based, such as music notation or pictograms. By analogy, in computer science, reading is acquiring of data from some sort of computer storage.
Reason › A term used in philosophy and other human sciences to refer to the higher cognitive faculties of the human mind. It describes a type of thought or aspect of thought, especially abstract thought, and the ability to think abstractly, which is felt to be especially human. The concept of reason is connected to language, as reflected in the meanings of the Greek word "logos", later to be translated by Latin "ratio" and then French "raison", from which the English word. Reason is thus a very important word in western intellectual history and shares much of its heritage with the now separate words logic and rationality.
Reasoning › Defined very differently depending on the context of the understanding of reason as a form of knowledge. The Logical definition is the act of using reason, to derive a conclusion from certain premises, using a given methodology; and the two most commonly used explicit methods to reach a conclusion are deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. However, within idealist philosophical contexts, reasoning is the mental process which informs our imagination, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings with whatever intelligibility these appear to contain; and thus links our experience with universal meaning. The specifics of the methods of reasoning are of interest to such disciplines as philosophy, logic, psychology, and artificial intelligence.
Reference › Something that refers or points to something else, or acts as a connection or a link between two things. The objects it links may be concrete, such as books or locations, or abstract, such as data, thoughts, or memories. The object which is named by a reference, or to which the reference points, is the referent.
Reinforcement › In operant conditioning, reinforcement is any change in an organism's surroundings that › occurs regularly when the organism behaves in a given way (that is, is contingent on a specific response); and is associated with an increase in the probability that the response will be made or in another measure of its strength.
Research › Often described as an active, diligent, and systematic process of inquiry aimed at discovering, interpreting and revising facts. This intellectual investigation produces a greater understanding of events, behaviours, or theories, and makes practical applications through laws and theories. The term research is also used to describe a collection of information about a particular subject, and is usually associated with science and the scientific method.
Rosenthal effect › (or Pygmalion effect) refers to situations in which students perform better than other students simply because they are expected to do so.
Rote learning › A learning technique which avoids grasping the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard.
School › A place designated for learning. The range of institutions covered by the term varies from country to country.
Secondary education › is a period of education which, in most contemporary educational systems of the world, follows directly after primary education, and which may be followed by tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university). In Australia and other countries secondary schools is the official term for institutions offering this period of education. In other parts of the English-speaking world, secondary school is often used synonymously with secondary education.
Self-concept › (or self-identity) The mental and conceptual awareness and persistent regard that sentient beings hold with regard their own being. Components of a being's self-concept include physical, psychological, and social attributes; and can be influenced by its attitudes, habits, beliefs and ideas. These components and attributes can each be condensed to the general concepts of self-image and the self-esteem.
Self-efficacy [a funny term] › The belief that one has the capabilities to execute the courses of actions required to manage prospective situations. Unlike efficacy, which is the power to produce an effect (in essence, competence), self-efficacy is the belief (however accurate) that one has the power to produce that effect.
Self-esteem › (or self-worth) Includes a person's subjective appraisal of himself or herself as intrinsically positive or negative to some degree.
Sex education › Education about sexual reproduction in human beings, sexual intercourse and other aspects of human sexual behaviour.
Situated learning › Education that takes place in a setting functionally identical to that where the learning will be applied.
Skill › An ability, usually learned, to perform actions.
Social constructionism › A sociological theory of knowledge developed by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann with their 1966 book, The Social Construction of Reality. The focus of social constructionism is to uncover the ways in which individuals and groups participate in the creation of their perceived reality. As an approach, it involves looking at the ways social phenomena are created, institutionalized, and made into tradition by humans. Socially constructed reality is seen as an ongoing, dynamic process; reality is re-produced by people acting on their interpretations and their knowledge of it.
Socratic method › (or method of Socratic debate) A dialectic method of inquiry, largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts and first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. For this, Socrates is customarily regarded as the father and fountainhead for ethics or moral philosophy.
Sphere of knowledge › A unified body or collection of knowledge regarding a specific subject, interest or otherwise area of expertise possessed by an individual.
Student › Etymologically derived through Middle English from a Latin word which means "to direct one's zeal at"; hence a student is one who directs zeal at a subject. Also known as a disciple in the sense of a religious area of study, and/or in the sense of a "discipline" of learning. In widest use, student is used to mean a school or class attendee. In many countries, the word student is however reserved for higher education or university students; persons attending classes in primary or secondary schools being called pupils.
Student-centred learning › An approach to education focusing on the needs of the students, rather than those of others involved in the educational process, such as teachers and administrators. This approach has many implications for the design of curriculum, course content, and interactivity of courses.
Syllabus › (plural syllabi or syllabuses) A document with an outline and summary of topics to be covered in a course. It is often either set out by an exam board, or prepared by the professor who teaches the course, and is usually given to each student during the first class session.
Synthesis › is commonly understood to be an integration of two or more pre-existing elements which results in a new creation.
Taxonomy of educational objectives › An educational taxonomy that classifies educational objectives into three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.
Teacher › In education, one who teaches students or pupils, often a course of study, lesson plan, or a practical skill, including learning and thinking skills. There are many different ways to teach and help students learn. This is often referred to as the teacher's pedagogy. When deciding what teaching method to use, a teacher will need to consider students' background knowledge, environment, and their learning goals as well as standardized curriculum as determined by their school district.
Textbook › A manual of instruction or a standard book in any branch of study. They are classified by both the target audience and the subject. Textbooks are usually published by specialty printers to serve every request for an understanding of every subject that can be taught. It is a big business that requires mass volume sales to make the publications profitable. Although most textbooks are only published in printed format with hard covers, some can now be viewed online.
Theory of cognitive development › A developmental psychology theory developed by Jean Piaget to explain cognitive development. The theory is central to child psychology and is based on schemata - schemes of how one perceives the world - in "critical periods," times when children are particularly susceptible to certain information.
Theory of multiple intelligences › A psychological and educational theory formulated by Howard Gardner espousing that eight kinds of "intelligence" exist in humans, each relating to a different sphere of human life and activity.
Training › Refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge and relates to specific useful skills. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at technical colleges or polytechnics. Today it is often referred to as professional development.
Truth › When someone sincerely agrees with an assertion, he or she is claiming that it is the truth. Philosophy seeks answers for certain questions about truth and the word truth.
Understanding › A psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as, person, situation and message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object.
Vicarious Learning › The process of learning by observing the consequences of another's actions and adjusting behaviour accordingly
Vocational education › (or Vocational Education and Training (VET)) Prepares learners for careers or professions that are traditionally non-academic and directly related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation, hence the term, in which the learner participates. It is sometimes referred to as technical education, as the learner directly specialises in a particular narrow technique of using technology.
Waldorf education › Waldorf education (also known as Steiner education) is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component.
Wisdom › The ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through experience some think. Yet others think it is a quality that even a child, otherwise immature, may possess independent of experience or complete knowledge. Whether or not something is wise is determined in a pragmatic sense by its popularity, how long it has been around, and its ability to predict against future events. Wisdom is also accepted from cultural, philosophical and religious sources. Some think of wisdom as foreseeing consequences and acting to maximize beneficial results.
Working memory › (Short-term memory) The memory system of the information processing model where information that has been attended to and perceived is held temporarily and processed. Also: A three-part system that holds information temporarily as a person performs a task. A kind of "mental workbench" that lets individuals manipulate, assemble, and construct information when they make decisions, solve problems, and comprehend written and spoken language. are too difficult for children to master alone but that can be mastered with guidance and assistance from adults or more-skilled children.
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) › The cognitive level at which children are able to solve problems under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers.
Collins III, John W., and Nancy Patricia O'Brien, eds. 2011. The Greenwood Dictionary of Education. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.
Farenga, Stephen J., and Daniel Ness, eds. 2005.Encyclopedia of Education and Human Development. Volumes 1-3. London: M. E. Sharpe.
Matsumo, David, gen. ed. 2009. The Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Modeste, Naomi N., and Teri S. Tamayose. 2004. Dictionary of Public Health Promotion and Education: Terms and Concepts. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Phillips, D. C. ed. 2014. Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. 2 Vols. London: Sage.
Statt, David A. 1998. The Concise Dictionary of Psychology. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.
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