Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

The social and cultural categories of men and women, for example, whereas 'sex' tends to be used in a biological sense. It is thus more related to societal norms, roles, and relationships and so gender identity can be more fluid than sex, in the sense that a person's gender may shift from the sexual identity assigned at birth. It is also recognised that the traditional binary categories of man/woman do not account for the whole population.


usually related to research findings or statistics the fact of being more widely applicable than merely to the particular instance in question the inferring of a principle or rule from particular findings.

generative topics

a term used in the 'Teaching for Understanding' movement for  themes or ideas for teaching which have sufficient depth connections and significance to help develop real understanding in learners. However unless learners are involved early on in their development or selection there is a risk of a teacher-centred or -dominated curriculum emerging (see rich tasks).

genetic epistemology

the study of the origins and development of knowledge undertaken in the work of Jean Piaget (1896-1980).


 a unified whole that cannot be derived from a summation of constituent parts. It features in theories of learning which emphasise the way learners make sense of the world in meaningful wholes and not as atomised simple ideas/perceptions which are then amalgamated.


like talented a term for learners deemed to be particularly able either in a specific area of learning or in a global sense. It is in common use but is problematic in many ways especially in the concept of 'gifted underachievement' which is not at all easy to define far less identify.


worldwide. Metaphor for total complete or widespread as used in the term 'global learning difficulties' for example.


growth to a global or worldwide scale. It is often used with reference to the ways in which dominant western economic social and political ideas and practices have become internationally prevalent and highly influential.


an educational outcome or achievement towards which teaching (and learning) is consciously directed.


the act manner or function of governing.


a term from the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984) which refers to a form of activity intended to guide or shape conduct in a variety of contexts and the rationalisation of such activity mentalities of rule how we think about governing ourselves and others.


the body of people elected and co-opted to manage schools. It is a term in use in the English system and more widely in the independent schools sector.


in assessment practice a  numerical or literal mark indicating a level of achievement.

grade inflation

the (internal) awarding of higher grades than is merited either to maintain a school's academic reputation or as a result of diminished teacher expectations.

grade point average

 a term from the US educational system: a measure of scholastic attainment figured by dividing the grade points earned by the number of credits attempted.

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