Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
individualised learning

a term used imprecisely but which most commonly refers to the provision of particular learning activities or programmes of study designed or intended to meet an individual learner's specific needs or requirements. Identifying such needs accurately is problematic and there is also the danger of inequity being created if some learners are offered inferior or undemanding educational experiences as a result.

individualism

any theory or outlook which places more value on the person than on the group which puts more importance on individual experience and effects than on collective issues.

indoctrination

teaching aimed at the uncritical acceptance of a set of beliefs.

induction

a process or activity designed to introduce a learner to a new environment experience or area of learning. In logic the word means the creation of a general rule or principle from study of observed instances or detailed facts (see deduction).

infant school

an institution providing education for the very young child. In the USA 'infant' education covers the years from birth until three years whereas in the UK the first two years of primary education from ages five until seven years can be termed 'infant'.

inference

the act of reasoning or drawing conclusions from factual knowledge or evidence.

informal curriculum

a term used for those school activities which may take place, often on a voluntary basis, outside the timetabled curriculum. Typical examples would be lunchtime and after-school clubs of various sorts, school trips, holiday clubs. Some see the distinction as a false one but it could be said that they are distinguished by rarely, if ever, involving explicit 'learning outcomes' or assessment, for example (see extra-curricular).

informal education

learning which takes place without structured teaching or learning undertaken in a setting which promotes self-directed learning.

information processing

a model in cognitive psychology which explains thought and thinking in a way similar to a computer with inputs storage retrieval and outputs.

information technology

the study or use of systems (especially computers) for storing retrieving or communicating information.

informed consent

(formal notification of) willingness to be a participant in a research study based on an understanding of the nature of the project.

initial teacher education

the modern term for teacher training aimed to avoid the more narrow connotations of trainingby stressing the more expansive nature of education. The term also aims to indicate that this sort of development does not cease at the pre-service stage but that all teachers will be expected to be involved in continuous professional development. Undergraduate courses are either 3 or 4 years in length while courses for graduates are generally of one year's duration. Part-time and distance versions are also now on offer.

innate

existing from birth inborn. Perennial educational debate centres around the extent to which certain skills aptitudes and abilities are inborn and thus the extent to which they susceptible to teaching if at all (see nature-nurture).

inspection

a formal system of assessment and evaluation conducted to determine the nature and standard of educational provision in a variety of sectors.

inspectorate

the formal name for the body of inspectors set up to report on educational provision and give advice to government. In recent times the inspectorate has also assumed a role in 'improvement' although there remains some tension between its operating procedures which can be perceived by some as stressful and negative and that goal.

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