Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
elaborated code

a term in sociolinguistics introduced by Basil Bernstein (1924-2000) which refers to a style of language marked by its formal explicit and complex features. It contrasts with restricted code. Because the education system makes much use of elaborated code it is suggested that those who have difficulty in using elaborated code will struggle to cope generally.


an optional course which students select from a number of choices. It is rarely central to a course of study but more likely to offer opportunities for specialism or to follow particular interests.

elementary schools

the term used in North America for primary schools. It was also used in the past in the UK for schools which covered the age range from 5 to 14 particularly in industrial areas. Elementary education was also a term used for primary education.


a belief that certain groups or individuals deserve favoured treatment or practice which is aligned with such a belief. In education it is associated with the special treatment or higher status afforded to those deemed to be highly intelligent or academically successful. It is also associated with schools or institutions who draw or select entrants from a narrow social base usually reflecting high social status. The term is also used in policy analysis for an approach which restricts power over policy decisions to a small group. It is thus contrasted with pluralistapproaches.


liberation the freeing from control subjection dependence slavery. Emancipation is often viewed as goal or consequence of education: individually in the sense that a person may extricate themselves through education from prior mental social or economic constraints socially in the sense that a group or class may achieve collective liberty or autonomy as a result of educational experiences ( see critical pedagogy).


a retired person who retains the honorary title of their post such as emeritus professor.

emotional and behavioural difficulties

a term used for a range of difficulties conditions or disorders which may affect a learner's educational prospects or development whether cognitive  social or affective.

emotional intelligence

the ability to perceive assess and monitor one's own and others' emotions including the ability to empathise motivate and influence. It features in the work of Howard Gardner (b. 1943) and has been popularised by Daniel Goleman (b.1946).


relating to emotion or feelings. It often refers to use of language which is not purely descriptive but tending to elicit or excite emotion (especially if used intentionally to influence unduly or unfairly).


fellow feeling the power to understand another's feelings by imagining one to be in that person's situation. In child psychology this phenomenon is referred to as 'theory of mind'.


the doctrine that knowledge derives from (sense) experience. An empirical approach in research for example would rely on or favour observation and experiment.


the state of being invested with power being enabled becoming able. It is used particularly in political contexts involving minorities oppressed groups or discrimination where it means a changing of status from weakness or passivity to action influence and autonomy. The key principle is that power is internally driven and not gifted from an external source although external forces may be important in initiating the process of change.

enactive, iconic, and symbolic modes

terms from the work of Jerome Bruner (b.1915) on child development: the enactive stage is largely equivalent to Piaget's sensori-motor stage the iconic stage is where understanding is influenced more by visual and auditory development and the symbolic stage where abstract thought becomes possible.

endowed school

a school set up for charitable purposes and endowed with funds (cash shares or property) by its founders. Many were brought in to the state sector after the 1870s reforms.


an important term in education referring to the (degree of) involvement participation and commitment of a learner. It is typically understood in three senses: behavioural  affective andcognitive.

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