Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

regard for one's own advantage or benefit (usually with a disregard for others).


see self-governing.


of or pertaining to meaning (of words or other symbols).


applied to something highly original or influencing future developments. In educational contexts it may be used of an idea concept approach or publication for example.


referring to the basic human capacities for sensory awareness and movement. It is  the earliest stage in the genetic epistemology of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) where the child develops understanding of the connections between sense perception and actions (see concrete operational formal operational preoperational).


a learning exercise involving rearranging muddled items into a logical order. In teaching it refers to planning activities in a logical way to aid learning development.


an approach to organising learners by ability in particular subject areas. Because it is dependent on perceived ability within a subject a learner may be in a more able group in one area and in a less able group in another (see mixed ability streaming broad band).


prejudice  stereotyping or discrimination on the basis of sex especially that encountered by women

single-sex education

schooling for one sex only such as an all-girls' school or a boys' boarding school.

situated learning

a theory which stresses that learning most often occurs in authentic situations - settings and applications that really require that knowledge and which typically involve social interaction and collaboration. Much classroom teaching and behaviour is too abstract and decontextualised to fit therefore.


a theory that human behaviour is determined by contextual circumstances rather than by personal qualities a theory that views modern industrial society as necessarily oppressive and exploitative.


a cognitive social or physical ability acquired or developed through practice.


the failure to meet a standard or deadline. It is also used of irrelevant activity during an educational task - for example in a group discussion where conversation deviates from the set topic.

slow education

typifying a number of different schooling approaches which have in common a reaction against accelerated, target-driven, prescriptive, content-heavy curricula. Some examples lay stress on more individualised approaches for pupils, and on less content but studied in much more depth, with greater emphasis on relevance, understanding, and pupil engagement.

Aliases (separate with |): education|slow
social background

a term used for the socioeconomic environment which pertains to a learner. It is still a key determinant of school performance.

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