• 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 center 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.


  • Academic dress: (or academical dress, also known in the United States as academic regalia) Traditional clothing worn specifically in academic settings. It is more commonly seen nowadays only at graduation ceremonies, but in former times academic dress was, and to a lesser extent in many ancient universities still is, worn on a daily basis.


  • Academic institution: An educational institution dedicated to higher education and research, which grants academic degrees.


  • Academic publishing: Describes a system of publishing that is necessary in order for academic scholars to review work and make it available for a wider audience. The “system,” which is probably disorganized enough not to merit the title, varies widely by field, and is also always changing, if often slowly. Most academic work is published in journal article or book form.


  • 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.


  • Activity theory: (AT) A Soviet psychological meta-theory, paradigm, or framework, with its roots in socio-cultural approach. Its founders were Alexei Nikolaevich Leontyev, and S. L. Rubinshtein (1889–1960). It became one of the major psychological approaches in the former USSR, being widely used in both theoretical and applied psychology, in areas such as the education, training, ergonomics, and work psychology.


  • Additional Support Needs: In Scotland, children who require some additional support to remove barriers to learning in any respect are deemed to have Additional Support Needs. This definition abolished the previously used term Special Educational Needs and was set out in the 2004 Additional Support for Learning Act.


  • 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).


Educating adults differs from educating children in several ways. One of the most important differences is that adults have accumulated knowledge and experience which can either add value to a learning experience or hinder it.


  • Adultism: A predisposition towards adults, which some see as biased against children, youth, and all young people who aren’t addressed or viewed as adults. Adultism is popularly used to describe any discrimination against young people, and is distinguished from ageism, which is simply prejudice on the grounds of age; not specifically against youth.


  • Advanced Placement Program: (commonly known as Advanced Placement, or AP) A United States and Canada-based program that offers high school students the opportunity to receive university credit for their work during high school.


  • Agricultural education: Instruction about crop production, livestock management, soil and water conservation, and various other aspects of agriculture. Agricultural education includes instruction in food education, such as nutrition. Agricultural and food education improves the quality of life for all people by helping farmers increase production, conserve resources, and provide nutritious foods.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Analysis: The action of taking something apart in order to study it.


  • Andragogy: A theory of adult education proposed by the American educator Malcolm Knowles (April 24, 1913—November 27, 1997).


Knowles held that andragogy (from the Greek words meaning “man-leading”) should be distinguished from the more commonly taught pedagogy (Greek: “child-leading”).


  • Anti-bias curriculum: An active/activist approach in education that challenges interlocking systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, ableism/disablism, ageism, homophobia, and all the other -isms.


The objective of this approach to teaching is to eliminate bias found in various institutions. This approach attempts to provide children with a solid understanding of social problems and issues while equipping them with strategies to combat bias and improve social conditions for all.
The anti-bias curriculum serves as a catalyst in the critical analysis of various social conditions. It is implemented as a proactive means to eradicate various forms of social oppression with the ultimate goal of social justice in mind.


  • Applied academics: An approach to learning and teaching that focuses on how academic subjects (communications, mathematics, science, and basic literacy) can apply to the real world.[1] Further, applied academics can be viewed as theoretical knowledge supporting practical applications.[2][3]


  • 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.


The term “arts education” implies many things, but it is defined as: Instruction and programming in all arts disciplines—including but not limited to dance, music, visual art, theater, creative writing, media arts, history, criticism, and aesthetics. “Arts education” encompasses all the visual and performing arts delivered in a standards-based, sequential approach by a qualified instructor as part of the core curriculum. The most common courses provided in schools include Art (visual art), Band, Drama, and Choir.


  • Assessment: The process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.


  • Asynchronous learning: A teaching method using the asynchronous delivery of training materials or content using computer network technology. It is an approach to providing technology-based training that incorporates learner-centric models of instruction. The asynchronous format has been in existence for quite some time; however, new research and strategies suggest that this approach can enable learners to increase knowledge and skills through self-paced and self-directed modules completed when the learner is prepared and motivated to learn.


  • Autodidacticism: (also autodidactism) Self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact, also known as an automath, is a mostly self-taught person – typically someone who has an enthusiasm for self-education and a high degree of self-motivation.


  • Behaviorism: (or behaviourism, not to be confused with behavioralism in political science) An approach to psychology based on the proposition that behavior 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 behaviorists is that free will is illusory, and 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.


Knowledge is often defined as justified true belief, in that the belief must be considered to correspond to reality and must be derived from valid evidence and arguments. However, this definition has been challenged by the Gettier problem which suggests that justified true belief does not provide a complete picture of knowledge.


  • Bias in education: A real or perceived bias in the educational system.


  • Bilingual education:Has multiple definitions:
    • education where two distinct languages are used for general teaching;
    • education designed to help children become bilingual (sometimes called “two-way bilingual education”; e.g., Spanish speakers and English speakers in a classroom are all taught to speak both languages;
    • education in a child’s native language for (a) the first year or (b) however long it takes; followed by mainstreaming in English-only classes (in the US);
    • education in a child’s native language for as long as his parents wish (with minimal instruction in another language).


In the latter cases “native-language instruction” may be a clearer definition.


  • Biliteracy: The state of being literate in two or more languages. To be biliterate has a stronger and more specified connotation than the claim of being simply bilingual. This is because with the change of the term from ‘lingual’ to ‘literate’ and the concept of reading and writing, which are in addition to simply speaking. In bilingualism the extent of fluency in each language is in question. One can be anywhere on the spectrum from comfortable oral communication in certain social contexts to fluency in speaking, reading and writing. With the term biliteracy, however, it is understood that fluency in both reading and writing are present.


  • 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.


  • Blogish: Interactive and personal communication as opposed to traditional narrative text.


  • Boarding school: A school where some or all students not only study but also live, amongst their peers but away from their home and family. The word ‘boarding’ is used in the sense of a ‘boarding house’, lodgings which provide both bed and board, that is meals as well as a room. Most famous UK public schools are boarding schools for ages 13 to 18, either single-sex or coeducational.


There are any number of different types of boarding schools, for pupils of all school ages from boarding nursery or Kindergarten schools, to senior schools. Boarding prep schools for the age group 9 to 12 are becoming less usual in the UK, but many adolescents like to get away from home.


  • Brainstorming: An organized 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.


  • Brainwashing: (or thought reform) The application of coercive techniques to change the beliefs or behaviour of one or more people for political purposes. Whether any techniques at all exist that will actually work to change thought and behaviour to the degree that the term “brainwashing” connotes is a controversial and at times hotly debated question.


  • Bridge program: This is a higher education program specifically designed to assist a student with an attained initial educational level (or an initial level of professional licensure) to attend college courses and achieve a terminal degree (or a higher level of professional licensure) in the same field of study and in less time than an entry-level student would require. Bridge programs are most notable among healthcare professions.


  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: 347 U.S. 483 (1954) A landmark case of the United States Supreme Court which explicitly outlawed de jure racial segregation of public education facilities (legal establishment of separate government-run schools for blacks and whites), ruling so on the grounds that the doctrine of “separate but equal” public education could never truly provide black Americans with facilities of the same standards available to white Americans. A companion case dealt with the constitutionality of segregation in the District of Columbia, (not a state and therefore not subject to the Fourteenth Amendment), Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954).


  • Bully: An individual, thought to be emotionally dysfunctional, who torments others through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion.




  • Campus novel: A novel whose main action is set in and around the campus of a university. The genre, dating back to the late 1940s, is popular because it allows the author to show the quirks of human nature, and reactions to pressure (for exams etc.) within a controlled environment or to describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).
  • Chemistry education: An active area of research within both the disciplines of chemistry and education. The main focus of research is on learning and teaching of chemistry in schools, colleges and universities. The practice of chemical education is teaching chemistry to students and the training of teachers to teach chemistry. The research aspect deals with how to teach and how to improve learning outcomes.
  • 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). Child is also a counterpart of parent: adults are the children of their parents despite their maturation beyond infancy; for example “Benjamin, aged 46, is the child of Tobias, aged 73”.
  • Classical conditioning: (also Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning) A type of associative learning. These associations are formed by pairing two stimuli–what Ivan Pavlov described as the learning of conditioned behaviour– to condition an animal to give a certain response. The simplest form of classical conditioning is reminiscent of what Aristotle would have called the law of contiguity which states that: “When two things commonly occur together, the appearance of one will bring the other to mind.”
  • 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.
  • Classroom management: A term used by many teachers to describe the process of ensuring lessons run smoothly without disruptive behaviour by students. It is possibly the most difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers and indeed experiencing problems in this area causes many people to leave teaching altogether. It is closely linked to issues of motivation, discipline and respect.
  • Coaching: A coach is a person who teaches and directs another person via encouragement and advice. This use of the term “coaching” appears to have origins in English traditional university “cramming” in the mid-19th century. (The name allegedly recalls the multitasking skills associated with controlling the team of a horse-drawn stagecoach.) By the 1880s American college sports teams had—in addition to managers — coaches. Some time in the 20th century, non-sporting coaches emerged: non-experts in the specific technical skills of their clients, but who nevertheless ventured to offer generalised motivational or inspirational advice.
  • Coeducation: The integrated education of men and women at the same school facilities; co-ed is a shortened adjectival form of co-educational. Before the 1960s, many private institutions of higher education restricted their enrolment to a single sex. Indeed, most institutions of higher education—regardless of being public or private—restricted their enrolment to a single sex at some point in their history. “Coed” is an informal (and increasingly archaic) term for a female student attending such a college or university.
  • 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.
  • Cognitive relativism: (also called epistemic or epistemological relativism) A philosophy that claims the truth or falsity of a statement is relative to a social group.
  • Collaborative learning: An umbrella term for a variety of approaches in education that involve joint intellectual effort by students or students and teachers. Groups of students work together in searching for understanding, meaning or solutions or in creating a product. The approach is closely related to cooperative learning, but is considered to be more radical because of its reliance on youth voice. Collaborative learning activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, and other activities.
  • College athletics: Refers to a set of physical activities comprising sports and games put into place by institutions of tertiary education (colleges in American English). In the United States, college athletics is overseen by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. College athletics has a high profile in the United States, and to a lesser extent in Canada, where it is known as interuniversity sport. In the most of the rest of the world the equivalent level of competition is only followed by the competitors and their close friends and families.
  • 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.
  • Community of practice: (often abbreviated as CoP) Refers to the process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate over an extended period to share ideas, find solutions, and build innovations.
  • 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.
  • Computer Based Learning: (sometimes abbreviated CBL) Refers to the use of computers as a key component of the educational environment. While this can refer to the use of computers in a classroom, the term more broadly refers to a structured environment in which computers are used for teaching purposes. The concept is generally seen as being distinct from the use of computers in ways where learning is at least a peripheral element of the experience (e.g. computer games and web browsing).
  • 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 organizations. 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.
  • 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.
  • Constructivist epistemology: (constructivism) A recent development in philosophy which criticizes essentialism, whether it is in the form of medieval realism, classical rationalism, or empiricism. It originated in sociology under the term social constructionism and has been given the name constructivism when referring to philosophical epistemology, though constructionism and constructivism are often used interchangeably.
Constructivism views all of our knowledge as “constructed,” because it does not reflect any external “transcendent” realities; it is contingent on convention, human perception, and social experience. It is believed by constructivists that representations of physical and biological reality, including race, sexuality, and gender are socially constructed (Hegel, Garns, and Marx were among the first to suggest such an ambitious expansion of social determinism). The common thread between all forms of constructivism is that they do not focus on an ontological reality, but instead on the constructed reality.
  • Cooperative education: A structured method of combining academic education with practical work experience. Research indicates that one of the attributes employers value most in newly hired employees is work experience. A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a “co-op”, provides academic credit for career work. Cooperative education is taking on new importance in school-to-work transition, service learning, and experiential learning initiatives.
  • Cooperative learning: Proposed in response to traditional curriculum-driven education. In cooperative learning environments, students interact in purposely structured heterogeneous group to support the learning of one self and others in the same group.
  • Course: in the United States, a unit of instruction in one subject, lasting one academic term
  • Course of study: in the British Commonwealth, a programme of education leading to a degree or diploma
  • Creativity: A human mental phenomenon based around the deployment of mental skills and/or conceptual tools, which, in turn, originate and develop innovation, inspiration, or insight.
  • Creativity techniques: Heuristic methods to facilitate creativity in a person or a group of people. Generally, most creativity techniques use associations between the goal (or the problem), the current state (which may be an imperfect solution to the problem), and some stimulus (possibly selected randomly). There is an analogy between many creativity techniques and methods of evolutionary computation.
  • 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: Consists of 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 judgements 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.




  • Deemed university: ‘Deemed-to-be-University’, Status of autonomy granted to high performing institutes and departments of various universities in India by Government of India.


  • Distance education: (or distance learning) A field of education that focuses on the pedagogy/andragogy, technology, and instructional systems design that is effectively incorporated in delivering education to students who are not physically “on site” to receive their education. Instead, teachers and students may communicate asynchronously (at times of their own choosing) by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows them to communicate in real time (synchronously). 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.


  • Dunce: A person incapable of learning. The word is derived from the name of the great schoolman, John Duns Scotus, whose works on logic, theology and philosophy were accepted textbooks in the universities from the 14th century.


  • Dyslexia: Said to be a neurological disorder with biochemical and genetic markers. Dyslexia was originally defined as a difficulty with reading and writing that could not be explained by general intelligence. One diagnostic approach is to compare their ability in areas such as reading and writing to that which would be predicted by his or her general level of intelligence, but some would say that it is not certain that intelligence should be a predictor of reading or writing ability; and also that the causes, effects and treatments of reading disabilities may be similar for all levels of intelligence.




  • 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.


  • Education policy: is the collection of rules, both stated and implicit, or the regularities in practice that govern the behavior of persons in schools. Education policy analysis is the scholarly study of education policy.


  • Education reform: A plan, program, or movement which attempts to bring about a systematic change in educational theory or practice across a community or society.


  • Education voucher: (commonly called a school voucher) A certificate by which parents are given the ability to pay for the education of their children at a school of their choice, rather than the public school to which they were assigned. These vouchers would be paid for using tax revenues.


  • Educational animation: Animation produced for the specific purpose of fostering learning.


  • Educational counseling: Conducted by counselors in schools and universities. It is intended to help children suffering from education-related traumas such as beatings and other forms of corporal punishment used in many countries. A more common application is with children who have been abused or bullied. The counselor works with the child to help him or her get over the trauma he or she has suffered.


  • Educational evaluation: The evaluation process of characterizing and appraising some aspect of the education enterprise.


  • Educational film: A film or movie whose primary purpose is to educate. Educational films have been used in classrooms as an alternative to other teaching methods.


  • 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 leadership: Leadership in formal educational settings. It draws upon interdisciplinary literature, generally, but ideally distinguishes itself through its focus on pedagogy, epistemology and human development. In contemporary practice it borrows from political science and business. Debate within the field relates to this tension.


  • Educational organization: Organization within the scope of education. It is a common misconception that this means it is organizing educational system; rather, it deals with the theory of organization as it applies to education of the human mind.


  • Educational perennialism: Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that they believe are of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of fact change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach principles, not facts. Since people are human, one should teach first about humans, not machines or techniques. Since people are people first, and workers second if at all, one should teach liberal topics first, not vocational topics.


  • Educational programming language: A programming language that is designed primarily as a learning instrument and not so much as a tool for writing real-world application programs.


  • Educational psychology: 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 organizations. 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 behavioral 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.


  • Educational software: Computer software whose primary purpose is teaching or self-learning.


  • Educational technology: The use of technology to improve education. It is a systematic, iterative process for designing instruction or training used to improve performance. Educational technology is sometimes also known as instructional technology or learning technology.


  • E-learning: An approach to facilitate and enhance learning through, and based on, both computer and communications technology. Such devices can include personal computers, CDROMs, Digital Television, P.D.A.s and Mobile Phones. Communications technology enables the use of the Internet, email, discussion forums, collaborative software and team learning systems (see also online deliberation).


  • Electronic portfolio: In the context of education and learning, an electronic portfolio, normally known as an ePortfolio or a digital portfolio, is a portfolio based on electronic media and services. It consists of a personal digital record containing information such as a collection of artifacts or evidence demonstrating what one knows and can do.


  • 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.


  • Engagement: The sentiment a student feels or does not feel towards learning or the learning environment.


  • 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.


Verificationism is based on a certain kind of mental activity: “verifying” a proposition. The distinctive claim of verificationism is that the result of such verifications is, by definition, truth. That is, truth is reducible to this process of verification.
According to perspectivalism and relativism, a proposition is only true relative to a particular perspective. Roughly, a proposition is true relative to a perspective if and only if it is “accepted” or “endorsed” or “legitimated” somehow by that perspective.


  • 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.


  • Exchange student: A student (usually from high school or university) who temporarily goes abroad and lives with a host family in a foreign country, and attends school there. That host family often also sends a child of theirs abroad, usually to the same country as the student they are hosting. In this way, the two students are said to have been “exchanged,” essentially temporarily trading countries with each other, although the period of exchange may not necessarily be simultaneous. The main purpose of exchange programs is to increase cultural understanding, both for the student and the people in the host country he/she comes into contact with. Exchanges are often arranged by organizations created for this purpose, called student exchange programs. Youth For Understanding and American Field Service are two examples of these organizations.


  • 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.


The concept of experience generally refers to know-how or procedural knowledge, rather than propositional knowledge. Philosophers dub knowledge based on experience “empirical knowledge” or “a posteriori knowledge”. A person with considerable experience in a certain field can gain a reputation as an expert.


  • Experiential education: (or “learning by doing”) 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.


  • Experimental analysis of behavior: The name given to the approach to psychology founded by B. F. Skinner. As its name suggests, its foundational principle was the rejection of theoretical analysis, in particular the kinds of learning theory that had grown up in the comparative psychology of the 1920-1950 period, in favor of a more direct approach. It owed its early success to the effectiveness of Skinner’s procedure of operant conditioning, both in the laboratory and in behavior therapy.


  • Expulsion (academia): Removing a student from a school or university for violating rules or honor codes.


  • Extra credit is an academic concept, particularly used in schools. Students are offered the opportunity to undertake optional work, additional to their compulsory school work, in order to gain additional credit that would boost their grades.


  • Extracurricular activities: Activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school or university education. Extracurricular activities exist at all levels of education, from high school and college to university education. Such activities are generally voluntary as opposed to mandatory, non-paying, tend to be social or philanthropic as opposed to scholastic, and involve others of the same age. Students often organize and direct these activities under faculty sponsorship.




  • Functional illiteracy: Refers to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills efficiently in everyday life situations. Unlike an illiterate, a functionally illiterate adult could be able to read and write text in his native language (with a variable degree of grammatical correctness, speed, and style), but is unable like the first, even in his own cultural and linguistic environment, to perform such fundamental tasks as filling out an application for employment, following written instructions, reading a newspaper, reading traffic signs, consulting a dictionary, or understanding a bus schedule.


  • Future Problem Solving Program: (FPSP) An international academic competition. Over 250,000 students internationally participate in the Future Problem Solving program every year. Participating countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Hong Kong and Singapore.




  • 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.
  • Gifted education: is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented. Youths are usually identified as gifted by placing highly on certain standardized tests.
Advocates of gifted education argue that gifted and/or talented youth are so perceptually and intellectually above the mean, it is appropriate to pace their lessons more aggressively, track them into honors, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate courses, or otherwise provide educational enrichment.
  • Gymnasia and Realgymnasia: (singular: Gymnasium) and Realgymnasia were the classical higher or secondary schools of Germany from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century. Students were admitted at 9 or 10 years of age and were required to have a knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic.



  • Habituation: An example of non-associative learning in which there is a progressive diminution of behavioral response probability with repetition of a stimulus. It is another form of integration.
  • heutagogy: The study of self-determined learning.
  • Hidden curriculum: Draws to the idea that schools do more than simply transmit knowledge, as laid down in the official curricula. It is often used to criticize the social implications, political underpinnings, and cultural outcomes of modern educative activities. While early examiations 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.
  • Higher education: Education provided by universities and other institutions that award academic degrees, such as community colleges, and liberal arts colleges.


Higher education includes both the teaching and the research activities of universities, and within the realm of teaching, it includes both the undergraduate level (sometimes referred to as tertiary education) and the graduate (or postgraduate) level (sometimes referred to as quaternary education or graduate school). Higher education differs from other forms of post-secondary education such as vocational education. However, most professional education is included within higher education, and many postgraduate qualifications are strongly vocationally or professionally oriented, for example in disciplines such as law and medicine.


  • 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 popularization 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.



  • Individualized 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-centered 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 favor of asking more questions.
  • Instructional capital: A term used in educational administration after the 1960s, to reflect capital resulting from investment in producing learning materials.
  • 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 Leadership: Actions or behaviors exhibited by an individual or group in the field of education that are characterized by knowledge and skill in the area of curriculum and instructional methodology, the provision of resources so that the school’s mission can be met, skilled communication in one-on-one, small-group and large-group settings, and the establishment of a clear and articulated vision for the educational institution.[1] This vision, and decision making based on this vision are ideally characterized by a collaborative process and are inclusive of multiple stakeholders.[2] Instructional leaders also promote collegiality and leadership behavior amongst other members of the institution.[3]
  • Instructional scaffolding: The provision of sufficient supports to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduced to students.
  • Instructional technology: Born as a military response to the problems of a labor shortage during WWII in the United States. There was a definitive need to fill the factories with skilled labor. Instructional technology provided a methodology for training in a systematic and efficient manner.
  • 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 behaviorist 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.
One of the first instructional theorists was Robert M. Gagne, who in 1965 published Conditions of Learning for the Florida State University’s Department of Educational Research. Renowned psychologist B. F. Skinner’s theories of behavior were highly influential on instructional theorists because their hypotheses can be tested fairly easily with the scientific process.
  • Integrative learning: A learning theory describing a movement toward integrated lessons helping students make connections across curricula. This higher education concept is distinct from the elementary and high school “integrated curriculum” movement.
  • 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.
  • International education: The practice and/or study of international cooperation and aid among countries, including the exchange of students, teachers, and researchers between countries. International education is connected to comparative education.
  • 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.
  • Invigilator: Someone who ensures the smooth running of exams. An invigilator is responsible for ensuring that the Awarding Body’s regulations are complied with; that exams start and finish at the correct time; that exam papers are secure whilst in their care; that attendance and seating plans are recorded; and that no cheating takes place. The invigilator will also deal with any problems that arise during an exam, including emergency evacuations, and ensure that no unauthorised materials are present, including mobile phones.



Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation: A coalition of major professional associations formed in 1975 to help improve the quality of evaluation. The Joint Committee published three sets of standards for evaluations. The Personnel Evaluation Standards was published in 1988, The Program Evaluation Standards (2nd edition) was published in 1994, and The Student Evaluations Standards was published in 2003.



  • 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.
  • Kinesthetic learning: A teaching and learning style in which learning takes place by the student actually carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or merely watching a demonstration. Building dioramas, physical models or participating in role-playing or historical reenactment are some examples. Other examples include the kindergarten practice of having children perform various motions from left to right in preparation for reading education.
  • 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.
The unreliability of memory limits the certainty of knowledge about the past, while unpredictability of events yet to occur limits the certainty of knowledge about the future. Epistemology is the philosophical study of the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge.
  • Knowledge Management: (or KM) A term applied to techniques used for the systematic collection, transfer, security and management of information within organisations, along with systems designed to help make best use of that knowledge. In particular it refers to tools and techniques designed to preserve the availability of information held by key individuals and facilitate decision making and reducing risk.
  • Knowledge representation: (KR) Most commonly used to refer to representations intended for processing by modern computers, and particularly for representations consisting of explicit objects.
  • Knowledge transfer: In the fields of Organizational development and organizational learning, is the practical problem of getting a packet of knowledge from one part of the organization to another (or all other) parts of the organization. It is considered to be more than just a communications problem.
  • Knowledge visualization: A sub discipline of Information Design and Instructional Message Design (padagogy; didactics, pedagogical Psychology). Knowledge Visualization aims to improve the transfer of knowledge by using computer and non-computerbased visuals complementary. Examples of such visual formats are photographs, information graphics, sketches, diagrams, images, mind maps, objects, interactive visualizations, dynamic visuals (animations), information visualization applications, imaginary visualizations, stories.




  • Language education: The teaching and learning of a language or languages, usually as foreign languages.


  • Law (principle): Refers to universal principles that describe the fundamental nature of something, to universal properties and relationships between things, or to descriptions that purport to explain these principles and relationships.


  • Learning: The process of acquiring knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values, through study, experience, or teaching, that causes a change of behavior 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 behavior potential.


  • 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 disability: In the United States, the term learning disability is used to refer to socio-biological conditions that affect a persons communicative capacities and potential to learn. The term includes conditions such as perceptual disability, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, autism, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. In the United Kingdom, the term learning disability is used more generally to refer to developmental disability.


  • 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.


  • Legal education: The education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals (attorneys and judges) or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law (such as politics or academic) or unrelated (such as business entrepreneurship).


This entry primarily discusses some of the general attributes of legal education in the United States for those who intend to use their degree in order to become legal professionals.


  • Lesson plan: A teacher’s detailed description of the course of instruction for an individual lesson. While there is no one way to construct a correct lesson plan, most lesson plans contain similar elements.
  • Liberal arts: Studies that are intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills, rather than more specialized occupational or professional skills.


The scope of the liberal arts has changed with society. It once emphasised the education of elites in the classics; but, with the rise of science and humanities during the Age of Enlightenment, the scope and meaning of “liberal arts” expanded to include them. Still excluded from the liberal arts are topics that are specific to particular occupations, such as agriculture, business, dentistry, engineering, medicine, pedagogy (school-teaching), and pharmacy.


  • Lifelong learning: The concept that “It’s never too soon or too late for learning”, a philosophy that has taken root in a whole host of different organizations. Lifelong learning sees citizens provided with learning opportunities at all ages and in numerous contexts: at work, at home and through leisure activities, not just through formal channels such as school and higher education.


Lifelong education is a form of pedagogy often accomplished through distance learning or e-learning, continuing education, homeschooling or correspondence courses. It also includes postgraduate programs for those who want to improve their qualification, bring their skills up to date or retrain for a new line of work. Internal corporate training has similar goals.


  • Literacy: The ability to read and write. 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.


  • MEB: A Master’s in European Business providing knowledge and skills both in Economics and Management.


  • Mathematics education: The study of practices and methods of both the teaching and learning of mathematics. Furthermore, mathematics educators are concerned with the development of tools that facilitate practice and/or the study of practice. Mathematics education has been a hotly debated subject in modern society. There is an ambiguity in the term for it refers both to these practices in classrooms around the world, but also to an emergent discipline with its own journals, conferences, etc. The main international body involved is the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction.


  • Medical education: Education related to the practice of being a medical practitioner, either the initial training to become a doctor or further training thereafter.


Medical education and training varies considerably across the world. Various teaching methodologies have been utilised in medical education, which is an active area of educational research.


  • 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.


The roots of the practice are lost in antiquity. The word itself was inspired by the character of Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey. Though the actual Mentor in the story is a somewhat ineffective old man, the goddess Athena takes on his appearance in order to guide young Telemachus in his time of difficulty.
Historically significant systems of mentorship include apprenticing under the medieval guild system, and the discipleship system practiced by both Rabbinical Judaism and the Christian church.
  • 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.


  • Medieval university (Asia): Medieval universities did not exist in Asia in the strict sense of the phrase. However, there were important centres of learning that can be compared to the universities of Europe. It must be noted that unlike the European universities, non-western institutions of higher learning were never known to issue degrees to their graduates and therefore do not meet what many hold to be the technical definition of university. This does not, however, bar their importance to the history of non-western cultures.


  • 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.


  • Military education and training:Process that intends to educate in combat and in situations of war.


  • 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 behavior and gives it direction. Emotion is closely related to motivation, and may be regarded as the subjectively experienced component of motivational states.


  • Music education: Comprises the application of education methods in teaching music.



  • National postgraduate representative body: Exists in many countries representing postgraduate students/researchers undertaking their doctorate (PhD) or postdoctoral research. Some have a broader remit to represent all postgraduates, including those taking Master’s degrees. A few countries have no specific body but are represented by a national body representing all students, including undergraduates. In Europe many of the national organisations have come together under the federation Eurodoc.
  • Network of practice: Builds on the work on communities of practice by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger in the early 1990s, John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid (2000) developed the concept of networks of practice (often abbreviated as NoPs). This concept refers to the overall set of various types of informal, emergent social networks that facilitate learning and knowledge sharing between individuals conducting practice-related tasks. In other words, networks of practice range from communities of practice to electronic networks of practice (often referred to as virtual or electronic communities).
  • Nines System: The informal name for a grading scale often used at educational institutions in English-speaking countries, particularly the United States.
The system owes its name to the fact that each of the top four letter grades in it cover a range of nine points. The minimum passing mark under it is almost always 65%, or five points higher than in the more widely-used Tens System.
  • Normal school: An educational institution for training teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name. The term normal school is now archaic in all but a few countries. In New Zealand, for example, normal schools are affiliated with Teachers colleges. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, normal schools in the United States and Canada trained primary school teachers, while in Europe, normal schools educated primary, secondary and tertiary-level teachers.


  • 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.


  • Numeracy: A term that emerged in the United Kingdom as a contraction of “numerical literacy”. In the United States, it is somewhat better known as “Quantitative Literacy,” and is familiar to math educators and intellectuals but not in the common usage. Innumeracy is the absence of numeracy.
  • 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, High Scope, Reggio Emilia approach and various other pedagogy.


  • 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.
  • Obscurantism: Opposition to extension or dissemination of knowledge beyond certain limits and to questioning dogmas. Obscurantism is the opposite of freethought and is often associated with religious fundamentalism by its opponents. Indeed, it is a commonly raised accusation in debates on academic freedom, with anti-communists and others associating it with the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel and his followers (including Karl Marx) and more recently with opponents of Martin Heidegger doing the same.
  • 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 behavior 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.
  • Of Education: Published in 1644, first appearing anonymously as a single eight-page quarto sheet (Ainsworth 6). Presented as a letter written in response to a request from the Puritan educational reformer Samuel Hartlib, it represents John Milton’s most comprehensive statement on educational reform, and gives voice to his views “concerning the best and noblest way of education”. As outlined in the tractate, education carried for Milton a dual objective: one public, to “fit a man to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war”; and the other private, to “repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love Him, to be like Him, as we may the nearest by possessing our soul of true virtue”.
  • Open problem: A problem that can be formally stated and for which a solution is known to exist but which has not yet been solved. It is common in graduate schools to point out open problems to students.
  • Operant conditioning: (so named by psychologist B. F. Skinner) The modification of behavior brought about over time by the consequences of said behavior. Operant conditioning is distinguished from Pavlovian conditioning in that operant conditioning deals with voluntary behavior explained by its consequences, while Pavlovian conditioning deals with involuntary behavior triggered by its antecedents.
  • Outdoor education: (also known as adventure education) Usually refers to organized learning that takes place in the outdoors. Programs often involve residential or journey-based experiences in which students participate in a variety of adventurous challenges such as hiking, climbing, canoeing, ropes courses, and group games. Outdoor education programs draw upon the philosophy and theory of experiential education and may also focus on environmental education.
  • 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.
  • Peace education: The process of acquiring the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviour to live in harmony with oneself and with others.
Peace education is based on a philosophy that teaches nonviolence, love, compassion, trust, fairness, cooperation, respect, and a reverence for the human family and all life on our planet. It is a social practice with shared values to which anyone can make a significant contribution.
  • Pedagogy: The art or science of teaching for learning. The word comes from the ancient Greek paidagogos, the slave who took little boys to and from school as part of paideia. The word “paidia” (παιδιά) refers to children, which is why some like to make the distinction between pedagogy (teaching children) and andragogy (teaching adults). 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: raditional 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.
  • Physical education: (PE, also called physical trainingPT or gym) A course in the curriculum which utilizes the learning medium of large-muscle activities in a play or movement exploration setting. It is almost always mandatory for students in elementary schools, and often for students in middle schools and high schools.
  • Physics education: A relatively new, yet active, area of research within the science of physics. The main focus of research is on learning and teaching of physics in both the highschool and college level.
  • Polymath: (also known as a polyhistor) A person who excels in multiple fields, particularly in both arts and sciences. The most common other term for this phenomenon is Renaissance man, but also in use are Homo universalis and Uomo Universale, which in Latin and Italian, respectively, translate as “Universal Person” or “Universal Man”. Note that in Latin homo may be male or female; the Latin word for a male human being vir. Informally used in contemporary discussion, a polymath is someone known to be skillful or excel in a broad range of intellectual fields.
  • Postgraduate education: (or Quaternary education) The fourth-stage educational level, and follows the completion of an undergraduate degree at a college or university. Graduate school is an example of quaternary education; some consider masters-level degrees as part of tertiary education; some consider postdoctoral positions to be quaternary education while others consider them to be jobs.
  • Post-secondary education: Any form of education that is taken after first attending a secondary school, such as a high school. The purpose of a post-secondary education can be to receive vocational education and training or to prepare for professions or scientific/academic careers through higher education.
  • 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.
  • Preschool education: See Nursery school.
  • 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” in tertiary education, but is currently being adapted for use in K–12 education. 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.
Accordingly, students are encouraged to take responsibility for their group and organise and direct the learning process with support from a tutor or instructor. Advocates of PBL claim it can be used to enhance content knowledge and foster the development of communication, problem-solving, and self-directed learning skill.
  • 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.
  • Professional certification: (trade certification, or professional designation often called simply certification or qualification) A designation earned by a person to certify that he is qualified to perform a job. Certification indicates that the individual has a specific knowledge, skills, or abilities in the view of the certifying body. Professional certifications are awarded by professional bodies and corporations. The difference between licensure and certification is licensure is required by law, whereas certification is generally voluntary. Sometimes the word certification is used for licensure.
  • Programmed instruction: A field first studied extensively by the behaviorist B. F. Skinner. It consists of teaching through small lessons, where each lesson must be mastered in order to go on to the next. Students work through the programmed material by themselves at their own speed. After each step, they are presented with a question to test their comprehension, then are immediately shown the correct answer or given additional information.
  • Propositional knowledge: (or declarative knowledge) Knowledge that some proposition is either true or false. This distinguishes propositional knowledge from know-how or procedural knowledge, which is the knowledge of how to perform some task. This article discusses propositional knowledge from a variety of perspectives, including philosophy, science, and history.
What is the difference between knowledge and beliefs? A belief is an internal thought or memory which exists in one’s mind. Most people accept that for a belief to be knowledge it must be, at least, true and justified. The Gettier problem in philosophy is the question of whether there are any other requirements before a belief can be accepted as knowledge.
  • 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 education often involves the following: public funding; compulsory student attendance; state certification of teachers and curricula; and testing and national standards.
  • 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.
  • Reading disability: A condition in which a sufferer displays difficulty reading resulting primarily from neurological factors.
  • Reading education in the USA: There are basically two different common methods of teaching reading. One usually refers to whole language approach (“look say”), the other usually refers to phonetics approach. The tension between these two approaches is often referred to as “the great debate”.
  • 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.
  • Recitation: A discussion carried by a Teaching assistant to supplement a lecture given by a senior faculty at an academic institution. During the recitation, TAs will review the lecture, expand on the concepts, and carry a discussion with the students.
  • 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.
  • Religious education: Teaches the doctrines of a religion. Its usual purpose is to teach children the basics of a religion. A less common purpose is to teach new adherents of a religion.
Since people within a given country often hold varying religious and non-religious beliefs, government-sponsored religious education can be a source of conflict. Countries vary widely in whether religious education is allowed in government-run schools (often called “public schools“). Those that allow it also vary in the type of education provided.
  • 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, behaviors, 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.
  • Rhodes Scholarships: Created by Cecil Rhodes and have been awarded to applicants annually since 1902 by the Oxford-based Rhodes Trust on the basis of academic qualities, as well as those of character. They provide the successful candidate with two years of study at the University of Oxford in England, possibly extended for a third year.
When Rhodes died in 1902, his will stipulated that the greater part of his fortune was to go toward the establishment of a scholarship fund to reward applicants who exhibited worthy qualities of intellect, character, and physical ability.
  • 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.
  • Rubric (academic): In education, a rubric is a set of criteria and standards linked to learning objectives that is used to assess a student’s performance, such as on a paper, project, or essay.



  • Sail training: From its modern interpretations to its antecedents when maritime nations would send young naval officer candidates to sea (e.g., see Outward Bound), sail training provides an unconventional and effective way of building many useful skills on and off the water. Through the unique environment of the sea, contemporary sail trainees learn that what they are doing is important and that their efforts are essential to the operation and safety of the ship.
  • School: A place designated for learning. The range of institutions covered by the term varies from country to country.
  • School bus:, A bus used to transport children and adolescents to and from school. The first school bus was horse-drawn, introduced in 1827 by George Shillibeer for a Quaker school at Abney Park in Stoke Newington, London, and was designed to carry twenty-five children. Since then, school buses of many types have become widespread, and motorised, and are used in all parts of the world.
  • School counselor: A practitioner who meets the needs of students in three basic educational domains: academic development, career development, and personal/social development. This is accomplished through the implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student achievement through a guidance curriculum, individual planning strategies, responsive services and comprehensive school counseling program support/advocacy.
  • School discipline: A form of discipline found in schools. The term refers to students complying with a code of behaviour often known as the school rules. Among other things these rules may set out the expected standards of clothing, timekeeping, social behaviour and work ethic. The term may also be applied to the punishment that is the consequence of transgression of the code of behaviour. For this reason the usage of school discipline sometimes means punishment for breaking school rules rather than behaving within the school rules.
  • School psychologist: A practitioner who applies his psychological training to assess and help school children.
  • Science education: The field concerned with sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the scientific community. The target individuals may be children, college students, or adults within the general public. The field of science education comprises science content, some sociology, and some teaching pedagogy.
  • Science fair: Generally a competition where contestants create a project related to science or some scientific phenomenon. Science fairs usually are involved with children and schooling; however, the term can be used to describe science fairs independent of the age of the contestants involved. They are often also combined with competition in mathematics or history.
  • 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: 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.
It is important here to understand the distinction between self esteem and self efficacy. Self esteem relates to a person’s sense of self-worth, whereas self efficacy relates to a person’s perception of their ability to reach a goal. For example, say a person is a terrible rock climber. They would likely have a poor efficacy in regard to rock climbing, but this wouldn’t need to affect their self-esteem; most people don’t invest much of their self esteem in this activity.
  • Self-esteem: (or self-worth) Includes a person’s subjective appraisal of himself or herself as intrinsically positive or negative to some degree.
  • Service learning: A method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful youth service throughout the community. As a teaching methodology, it falls under the category of experiential education. More specifically, it integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities.
  • Sex education: Education about sexual reproduction in human beings, sexual intercourse and other aspects of human sexual behavior.
  • 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.
  • Sociology of knowledge: The study of the social origins of ideas, and of the effects prevailing ideas have on societies. (Compare history of ideas.)
  • Sociology of scientific knowledge: (SSK) Closely related to the sociology of science, considers social influences on science. Practitioners (sociologists, philosophers of science, historians of science, anthropologists and computer scientists) have engaged in controversy concerning the role that social factors play in scientific development relative to rational, empirical and other factors.
  • Socratic method: (or method of elenchos or 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.
It is a form of philosophical enquiry. It involves two or more speakers, usually with one as the master (or wise one) and the others as students or fools. The method is credited to Socrates, who began to engage in such discussion with his fellow Athenians after a visit to the Oracle of Delphi.
  • Special education:, describes an educational alternative that focuses on the teaching of students with academic, behaviorial, health, or physical needs that cannot sufficiently be met using traditional educational programs or techniques.
  • Sphere of knowledge: A unified body or collection of knowledge regarding a specific subject, interest or otherwise area of expertise possessed by an individual.
  • STEM fields: The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are collectively considered core technological underpinnings of an advanced society. In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself. Maintaining healthy levels of its citizenry well versed in the STEM fields is a key portion of the public education agenda of the United States of America at all levels, and substantial lobbying is underway in Washington, DC to raise awareness of STEM education issues.
  • Stipend: A form of payment or salary, such as for an internship or apprenticeship. Stipends are usually lower than what would be expected as a permanent salary for similar work. This is because the stipend is complemented by other benefits such as instruction, work experience, food, accommodation, and personal satisfaction. Universities usually refer to monies paid to graduate research assistants as a stipend, rather than as wages, to reflect complementary benefits.
  • Student: Etymologically derived through Middle English from the Latin second-type conjugation verb “stŭdērĕ”, 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 activism: A form of youth-led community organizing that is specifically oriented towards engaging students as activists in order to create change in the educational system.
  • Student-centered 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.
  • Student voice: the distinct perspectives and actions of young people throughout schools focused on education itself.
  • Student loans: Loans offered to students to assist in payment of the costs of professional education. These loans usually carry lower interests than other loans, and are usually issued by the government.
  • Student organization: A voluntary association of students at institutions of secondary and higher education for a specific legal purpose. Such organizations are often sponsored through and receive funding from a student government.
  • 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: (from the ancient Greek σύν (with) and θεσις (placing), 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.


  • Technology education: The study of the human ability to create and use tools to shape the natural environment to meet their needs. The goal of technology education is to spread technological literacy which is accomplished by bringing laboratory activities to students. The term “technology education” is frequently shortened to “tech ed”.


  • Technology Integration: A term used by educators to describe effective uses of technology by teachers and students in K-12 and university classrooms. Teachers use technology to support instruction in language arts, social studies, science, math, or other content areas. When teachers integrate technology into their classroom practice, learners are empowered to be actively engaged in their learning.


  • Tertiary education: (also referred to as third-stage or third level education) The educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education such as a high school, secondary school, or gymnasium. Tertiary education is commonly higher education which prepares students for a quaternary education.


Colleges and universities are examples of institutions that provide tertiary education. The term Tertiary education can also be used to refer to vocational education and training.


  • 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.


  • The Times Higher Education Supplement:, (also known as The Times Higher or The THES) A newspaper based in London that reports specifically on issues related to higher education. It is owned by TSL Education, which was, until October 2005, a division of News International. The paper is edited by John O’Leary, author of The Times Good University Guide. The THES is probably best known for publishing The Times Higher World University Rankings (see college and university rankings), which first appeared in November 2004, with new rankings published annually.


  • 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.


  • Tuition: Instruction, teaching or a fee charged for educational instruction especially at a formal institution of learning. Tuition is charged by educational institutions to assist with funding of staff and faculty, course offerings, lab equipment, computer systems, libraries, facility upkeeping, and to provide a comfortable learning experience for its students.


  • 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.


  • UNESCO: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, commonly known as UNESCO, is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.


  • Universal preschool: The notion that access to preschool should be available to families similar to Kindergarten. Child advocates have different definitions of the definition of who is included and how it is to be funded. There has been a move to change the name to Preschool for All. Like Kindergarten, the concept is to have a voluntary program, unlike education, that is mandated by law in the United States with exceptions to allow for homeschooling and alternative education.


  • Unobservables: Entities whose existence, nature, properties, qualities or relations are not observable. In the philosophy of science typical examples of “unobservables” are atomic particles, the force of gravity, causation and beliefs or desires. However, philosophers also characterize all objects—trees, tables, other minds, microbiological things and so on to which humans ascribe as the thing causing their perception—as unobservable.


  • Virtual learning environment: (VLE) A software system designed to facilitate teachers in the management of educational courses for their students, especially by helping teachers and learners with course administration. The system can often track the learners’ progress, which can be monitored by both teachers and learners. While often thought of as primarily tools for distance education, they are most often used to supplement the face-to-face classroom.


  • Visual learning: A proven teaching method in which graphic organizers, such as webs, concept maps idea maps, and slide shows are used to help students of all ages think and learn more effectively.


  • 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.



  • Whole language: A term used by reading teachers to describe an instructional philosophy which focuses on reading as an activity best taught in a broader context of meaning. Rather than focusing on reading as a mechanical skill, it is taught as an ongoing part of every student’s existing language and life experience. Building on language skills each student already possesses, reading and writing are seen as a part of a broader “whole language” spectrum.
  • 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.
  • Writing: May refer to two activities: the inscribing of characters on a medium, with the intention of forming words and other constructs that represent language or record information, and the creation of material to be conveyed through written language. (There are some exceptions; for example, the use of a typewriter to record language is generally called typing, rather than writing.) Writing refers to both activities equally, and both activities may often occur simultaneously.
  • Workshop: A brief intensive course, a seminar or a series of meetings emphasizing interaction and exchange of information among a usually small number of participants.