Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

a philosophical movement of the 18th century characterised by an emphasis on human reason and science rather than on tradition and beliefs. This rationalism had a considerable influence in politics economics and religion ( see modernity).

enquiry learning

a learner-centred approach that emphasises higher order thinking skills including analysis problem solving discovery and creative activities both in the classroom and the community. Most importantly in enquiry learning learners are responsible for processing the data they are working with in order to reach their own conclusions.


initiative and resourcefulness. It is also the term used for school activities and learning related to business especially of an entrepreneurial sort.


a guarantee or legal right. In education it may refer to certain aspects of the curriculum or to learning support for example to which a learner may be entitled.


an entity theory of intelligence assumes intelligence to be fixed. It is an especially damaging view for struggling learners to hold.


the promotion or belief in the value of entrepreneurial activity - individuals setting up businesses (often based on innovative or original ideas) with some degree of risk.


a term from the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984) for the underlying structure of a discourse the fundamental concepts which underlie and delimit all thinking at a particular historical period.


the philosophical study of the origin limits and nature of human knowledge the study of truth and what can be known.

equal opportunities

the right to be treated without discrimination especially on the grounds of race gender sexuality age or ethnic origin.


the state of being the same in some sense such as in quantity quality value or status. In education it often refers to the sense of fair treatment or that each learner receives an equal amount or quality of teaching or other input. The school system however much it endeavours to provide equality is surrounded by inequality as learners bring unequal experiences and abilities to school and have unequal contextual experiences in social emotional cultural and economic terms during their school years thus contributing to unequal educational outcomes.


the process or act of achieving or maintaining balance. In the work of Piaget (1896-1980) it refers to the process of adaptation by which a child achieves a meaningful fit between existing knowledge and understanding and new experiences (see accommodation assimilation).


in the work of Piaget (1896-1980) a state of cognitive balance where the developing mind achieves meaningful understanding of experience.


pertaining to logical disputation controversial


in education  the belief that certain traditional concepts ideals and skills are essential to society and should be taught to all. It does not hold that all that is taught should only be of this nature (see perennialism) but that there is a core which should be passed from generation to generation via the school system. In philosophy it is a term dating from the work of Aristotle for a wide range of positions which hold that people objects or phenomena do have innate real characteristics or properties and that these are not simply social ideological or intellectual constructs.


the persons who have power over are in control of or administer something capitalised it refers to the traditional conservative ruling elite in society and its institutions (for example the church legal system)

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