Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
instruction

the imparting of knowledge information or direction. In North America it is a term still commonly used for 'teaching' whereas in Britain the word's didactic authoritarian connotations means it is rarely ever used in such a way.

instructivism

an approach to teaching marked by direct communication of the teaching material from the teacher to the learner. The learner is a largely passive recipient of the knowledge which is possessed by the teacher. Instructivism attracts little support as an effective method of teaching/learning (see banking model constructivism transmission).

instrumental learning

another term used for operant conditioning. Also known as instrumental conditioning.

instrumentalism

in education the view that schooling or educational activity is aimed at some other purpose such as for economic or religious ends.

integrated education

an interdisciplinary approach to teaching or learning as opposed to a subject-specific one. It is more common in the early stages as later objections are raised that it struggles to develop the depth of understanding within subject domains and also is less easy to fit to an assessment system aimed to certificate within subject disciplines. Clearly a change to an integrated assessment system would meet that charge but the problem of addressing depth of disciplinary knowledge remains (see cross-curricular).

integration

the term previously used for inclusion but now less common owing to its suggestion that the learner had to adapt to the school system instead of the school adjusting to the learner's needs.

integrative

A term from the work of Paulo Freire (1921-1997)  for the way in which an emancipated learner can act upon as well as respond to the environment both physical and social (seeadaptation).

intellect

the faculty of reasoning and understanding especially in abstract matters.

intelligence

a complex and controversial term which has a range of definitions. At its simplest it refers to mental ability or capacity. Intelligence testing was common in the 20th century it being believed that it was both possible and appropriate to do so the results being used to categorise individuals for various purposes such as the nature of educational provision then deemed suitable for each.

intelligence quotient (IQ)

a figure representing a measure of an individual's mental reasoning ability as compared to the average for people of their age (taken as 100).

intelligent design

the view that that life the universe cannot have emerged by chance but through creation by some intelligent entity. It thus opposes the theory of evolution but is denied itself the status of theory by some critics in that it is hard to see how it could ever be falsified.

interactive teaching

teaching where learners are active especially in the sense of communicating together and with the teacher computerised learning where the individual is actively involved in some programme of an educational nature.

interagency

in education descriptive of the coordinated action  of various agencies such as health social work and school.

interdisciplinary

relating to or involving more than one branch of knowledge. It may for example refer to research activity involving representatives from various subject areas or to curriculum or course design.

interests

activities or subjects which are seen as relevant meaningful desirable or enjoyable by the learner. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Dewey (1859-1952) sometimes inappropriately are most associated with the view that education should be tailored to the learner's interests. While there are obvious issues to do with motivation and appropriateness in such a view account must also be taken of the other purposes of state education and of the fact that a strict adherence to such a view might lead to some learners remaining within very limited horizons. Some judge the interests of the child merely to be a useful educational starting-point while others suggest it is a teacher's role to expand the interests of the child.

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