Education Glossary (A to Z)

Written and peer-reviewed by PhD-Level Academics

21st Century Learning

Definition: 21st Century Learning emphasizes skills and knowledge essential for success in the modern world, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital literacy.

21st Century Learning definition and examples, explained below

Active Learning

Definition: Active learning is an instructional method where students engage in activities that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content.

active learning definition and features, explained below

Andragogy

Definition: Andragogy refers to the method and practice of teaching adult learners, with a focus on the learner’s experience, self-direction, and readiness to learn.

andragogy principles and definition, explained below

Assertive Discipline

Definition: Assertive discipline is a structured, systematic approach designed to assist educators in running an organized, teacher-in-charge classroom environment.

Assertive Discipline Theory, definition and examples

Definition: Asynchronous learning occurs when students learn from online resources, emails, or other course materials on their own schedule, without real-time interaction.

asynchronous learning examples and definition

Authentic Assessment

Definition: An ascribed status is a social status that you didn’t choose and is usually given to you from birth.

authentic assessment examples and definition, explained below

Banking Model of Education

Definition: This term, coined by Paulo Freire, refers to a traditional education model where the teacher is viewed as the knowledge holder and deposits information into passive students.

banking model of education definition and examples, explained below

Behavior Modeling

Definition: Behavior modeling involves demonstrating desired behavior as a way to teach it effectively.

behavior modeling example and definition

Behaviorism

Definition: Behaviorism is a theory of learning focused on observable behaviors and the responses to environmental stimuli.

behaviorism in psychology examples and definition

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Definition: Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification system used to define and distinguish different levels of human cognition—thinking, learning, and understanding.

blooms taxonomy definition and levels

Centration (Piaget)

Definition: In Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, centration is a tendency of young children to focus on one aspect of a situation while neglecting others.

centration in piaget's psychology example and definition

Classroom Management

Definition: Classroom management refers to the techniques and strategies that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, and on task.

classroom management definition and theories, explained below

Cocurricular Activities

Definition: Cocurricular activities are programs and learning experiences that complement, in some way, what students are learning in school.

cocurricular activities examples definition

Cognitive Development

Definition: Cognitive development refers to the progression of learning and development of thinking skills from infancy through adulthood.

cognitive development examples and definition

Collaborative Learning

Definition: Collaborative learning is an educational approach involving groups of students working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product.

collaborative learning definition and benefits

Constructivism

Definition: Constructivism is a learning theory that posits learners construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences.

constructivism in education definition and examples

Cooperative Learning

Definition: Cooperative learning is an instructional strategy where small groups of students work together on a common task.

cooperative learning examples definition and benefits

Differentiated Instruction

Definition: Differentiated instruction is a teaching approach that tailors instruction to meet individual needs.

differentiated instruction, explained below

Digital Literacy

Definition: Digital literacy encompasses the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to use technology effectively.

digital literacy examples and definition, explained below

Direct Instruction

Definition: Countercultures are groups of people who attempt to challenge the prevailing cultural norms, assumptions, trends, or ideologies of a society.

direct instruction examples definition

Education for Sustainable Development

Definition: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an approach to education that emphasizes the importance of humans living in harmony with the earth.

Education for Sustainable Development, explained below

Emergent Curriculum

Definition: Emergent curriculum is a way of planning curriculum based on the students’ interests and passions as well as the teachers’ guidance and provocation.

emergent curriculum examples and explanation

Experiential Learning

Definition: Experiential learning is a process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting.

experiential learning examples and definition

Explicit Instruction

Definition: Explicit instruction is a structured, clear, and direct approach to teaching that includes both instructional design and delivery procedures.

explicit instruction examples and definition

Flipped Classroom

Definition: A flipped classroom is an instructional strategy that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom.

flipped classroom definition

Forest Schools

Definition: Forest schools are a type of outdoor education in which children visit forests/woodlands, learning personal, social, and technical skills.

forest schools definition and activities, explained below

Formative Assessment

Definition: Formative assessment is a range of formal and informal assessment procedures used by teachers during the learning process.

formative vs summative assessment

Game-Based Learning

Definition: Game-based learning involves the use of games to enhance the learning experience.

game-based learning versus gamification

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Definition: This instructional model involves a shift from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered learning over a series of steps.

Gradual Release of Responsibility Model definition and steps, explained below

Growth Mindset

Definition: A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work.

growth mindset examples definition and comparison, detailed below

Guided Practice

Definition: Guided practice is an instructional strategy where a teacher leads students through a new skill or concept and gradually shifts the responsibility of learning to the students.

guided practice definition and examples

Guiding Questions

Definition: Guiding questions are open-ended, thought-provoking questions used by educators to prompt deeper inquiry, encourage discussion, and stimulate critical thinking.

guiding questions examples benefits and definition

Hidden Curriculum

Definition: The hidden curriculum refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school.

hidden curriculum examples and definition, explained below

High-Stakes Testing

Definition: High-stakes testing refers to tests that have significant consequences for the test-taker, such as graduation or grade promotion.

high stakes testing definition pros and cons, explained below

Higher-Order Thinking

Definition: Higher-order thinking involves the learning of complex judgmental skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.

higher order thinking examples and definition

Humanism in Education

Definition: Humanism in education is a philosophical perspective that emphasizes the personal worth of the individual and the importance of human values.

humanism examples and definition, explained below

Independent Practice

Definition: Independent practice is an educational activity that students do on their own, allowing them to apply and reinforce what they have learned without immediate teacher guidance.

independent practice examples and definition

Informal Assessment

Definition: Informal Assessment is a less structured, ongoing method of evaluating a student’s learning progress, typically using observations and interactions rather than standardized tests.

informal assessment examples and definition, explained below

Inquiry-Based Learning

Definition: Inquiry-Based Learning is a student-centered approach where learning begins with questions, problems, or scenarios, rather than presentations of established facts.

inquiry-based learning examples and definition, explained below

Instructional Strategies

Definition: Instructional Strategies are techniques teachers use to help students become independent, strategic learners.

instructional strategies examples and definition

Intrinsic Rewards

Definition: Intrinsic Rewards are internal, personal satisfactions derived from accomplishing a task or learning new skills, as opposed to external rewards like grades or prizes.

intrinsic rewards examples and definition, explained below

Kinesthetic Learning

Definition: Kinesthetic Learning is a learning style in which students learn best by physically engaging in activities, often through hands-on tasks and movement.

kinesthetic learning examples and definition, explained below

Learning Objectives

Definition: Learning Objectives are clear, concise statements that define what learners will be able to do or understand at the end of a lesson or course.

learning objectives definition and exmaple, explained below

Learning Theories

Definition: Learning Theories are conceptual frameworks describing how students absorb, process, and retain knowledge during learning.

learning theories examples and definition

Lifelong Learning

Definition: Lifelong Learning is the continuous pursuit of personal and professional development throughout a person’s life.

lifelong learning examples and definition, explained below

Logical Consequences

Definition: Logical Consequences are responses or interventions that are directly related to and naturally result from a student’s behavior or action.

logical consequences examples types and definition

Mastery Learning

Definition: Mastery Learning is an instructional strategy where students must achieve a high level of understanding in a given topic before moving on to the next topic.

mastery learning examples and definition

Microlearning

Definition: Microlearning is a method of delivering education in small, specific bursts, focusing on specific skills or knowledge areas.

microlearning definition and benefits, explained below

Montessori Education

Definition: Montessori Education is an educational approach developed by Maria Montessori, emphasizing independent, self-directed learning, and hands-on, collaborative play.

Montessori education, explained below

More Knowledgeable Other

Definition: More Knowledgeable Other refers to someone with a higher level of understanding or ability relative to a learner, often aiding in the learning process.

more knowledgeable other examples definition theory

Multiple Intelligences

Definition: Multiple Intelligences is a theory proposed by Howard Gardner, suggesting that intelligence is multidimensional and includes eight different ‘intelligence’ domains.

multiple intelligences theory, explained below

Neoliberalism in Education

Definition: Neoliberalism in Education refers to the application of free-market policies and practices to education, emphasizing competition, accountability, and privatization.

neoliberalism in education definition and effects, explained below

Observational Learning

Definition: Observational Learning is learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others, as proposed by Albert Bandura.

observational learning examples and definition

Open-Ended Questioning

Definition: Open-Ended Questioning involves posing questions that require more elaborate answers and encourage students to think critically and express their thoughts.

open-ended questions examples definition and benefits, explained below

Passive Learning

Definition: Passive Learning is a traditional form of instruction where students receive information from the teacher and internalize it, often through listening or reading without active engagement.

passive learning examples and definition

Pedagogy

Definition: Pedagogy is the art or science of teaching and educational methods.

pedagogical skills examples and definition, explained below

Peer to Peer Learning

Definition: Peer to Peer Learning is an educational practice where students interact with other students to attain educational goals.

peer to peer learning definition and benefits, explained below

Performance-Based Learning

Definition: Performance-Based Learning requires students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in context, through activities or performances.

performance-based learning examples and definition, explained below

Phenomenon-Based Learning

Definition: Phenomenon-Based Learning is a multidisciplinary approach to teaching, where students explore real-world phenomena and learn across multiple subjects.

Phenomenon-based Learning definition, pros and cons, explained below

Phonics

Definition: Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing by developing learners’ phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes—in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns that represent them.

types of phonics, explained below

Place-Based Education

Definition: Place-Based Education is an approach to learning that takes advantage of geography to create authentic, meaningful, and engaging personalized learning for students.

place-based education definition and features, explained below

Play Based Learning

Definition: Play Based Learning is an educational approach that uses play as the main method for learning, allowing children to explore, discover, negotiate, take risks, create meaning, and solve problems.

play-based learning benefits and limitations, explained below

Positive Feedback

Definition: Positive Feedback is a response or information provided by an observer, teacher, or peer that affirms and supports correct behaviors and actions.

positive feedback examples, explained below

Prior Knowledge

Definition: Prior Knowledge refers to the information, understanding, skills, and attitudes that a learner already possesses before they are taught new content or skills.

prior knowledge definition and examples

Problem-Based Learning

Definition: Problem-Based Learning is a student-centered pedagogy where students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem.

problem-based learning examples and definition, explained below

Progressive Education

Definition: Progressive Education is a pedagogical movement that emphasizes hands-on, problem-based learning, critical thinking, and the development of a democratic society.

progressive education definition and examples

Reciprocal Teaching Method

Definition: The Reciprocal Teaching Method is an instructional activity where students become teachers in small group reading sessions, teaching each other using strategies like summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting.

reciprocal teaching definition and features, explained below

Reflective Teaching

Definition: Reflective Teaching is an approach where educators critically examine their own practice, typically through self-observation and evaluation of their teaching strategies and their effects on student learning.

reflective teaching examples and definition

Reggio Emilia

Definition: Reggio Emilia is an educational philosophy and practice originating in Italy, focusing on preschool and primary education, characterized by self-directed experiential learning in a relationship-driven environment.

Montessori vs Reggio Emilia, explained below

Remedial Education

Definition: Remedial Education involves additional teaching designed to help students who are struggling to meet standard educational benchmarks.

remedial education definition and examples, explained below

Rote Learning

Definition: Rote Learning is a memorization technique based on repetition, often without an understanding of the reasoning or relationships behind the information.

rote learning definition and benefits

Scaffolding

Definition: Scaffolding is an instructional technique where a teacher adds support for students in order to enhance learning and aid in the mastery of tasks.

instructional scaffolding examples and definition, explained below

Service Learning

Definition: Service Learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience while meeting societal needs.

service learning examples and definition, explained below

Situated Learning

Definition: Situated Learning is a theory that posits learning is inherently tied to the activity, context, and culture in which it occurs.

Situated Learning Theory definition and benefits, explained below

Sociocultural Theory

Definition: Sociocultural Theory is a theory of development that stresses the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition.

sociocultural theory example and definition, explained below

SOLO Taxonomy

Definition: The SOLO Taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in a learner’s understanding of subjects and is an alternative to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Biggs SOLO Taxonomy definition and stages, explained below

Spiral Curriculum

Definition: The spiral curriculum is an educational approach where students repeatedly encounter the same topics throughout their school career, with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning.

spiral curriculum principles and definition, explained below

Stages of Play (Parten)

Definition: Mildred Parten proposed six stages of play that describe the progression of play behaviors from solitary play through cooperative play.

Parten stages of play with definition, explained below

Standardized Testing

Definition: Standardized Testing involves administering tests, under standardized conditions, designed to measure a student’s academic knowledge, skills, abilities, or other attributes.

Standardized tests examples and definition, explained below

Steiner-Waldorf Education

Definition: Steiner-Waldorf is an educational philosophy based on the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, focusing on holistic and developmental-based approaches to learning.

waldorf school weaknesses, explained below

Student-Centered Learning

Definition: Student-Centered Learning is a learning model that places the student (rather than the teacher) at the center of the learning process.

student centered learning examples and definition

Summative Assessment

Definition: Summative Assessment is the evaluation of student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.

formative vs summative assessment

Teachable Moment

Definition: A teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has a chance to offer insight to his or her students.

teachable moment definition and features, explained below

Teaching Philosophy

Definition: A teaching philosophy is a personal statement that describes an instructor’s beliefs about teaching and learning and provides a theoretical framework for their methods.

teaching philosophy examples and definition, explained below

Teaching Styles

Definition: Teaching styles refers to the different methods and approaches teachers use based on their beliefs, education, and experiences.

teaching styles examples types and definition, detailed below.

Threshold Concepts

Definition: Threshold concepts are core ideas or principles in a discipline that, once understood, transform perception of the subject matter.

threshold concepts in education

Token Economy

Definition: The token economy is a behavioral modification system that utilizes tokens as a form of currency for positive behaviors, which can be exchanged for desired items or privileges.

token economy examples and definition, explained below

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Definition: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that accommodates individual learning differences and provides opportunities for all students to succeed.

universal design for learning examples and definition, explained below

Unstructured Play

Definition: Unstructured play is spontaneous and creative play without predefined rules or goals, allowing children to use their imagination and explore at their own pace.

unstructured play examples and definition, explained below

Visual Learning

Definition: Visual learning is a proposed learning style in which ideas, concepts, data, and other information are associated with images and techniques.

visual learning examples and definition., explained below

Whole Class Rewards

Definition: Whole class rewards are incentives given to an entire class for achieving a goal or exhibiting desired behaviors. It has both benefits and limitations, discussed in our guide linked below.

whole class rewards definition and examples, explained below

Zone of Proximal Development

Definition: The Zone of Proximal Development is a concept developed by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, referring to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what they can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner.

zone of proximal development definition and origins, explained below

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