Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
reductionism

the practice of simplifying an activity concept or issue (to the point where the object of attention becomes distorted or misrepresented).

reflection

a process of careful consideration, especially in terms of reviewing behaviour, performance, incidents. It is seen as vital for teachers in respect of improving their own professional practice, and increasingly for learners in respect of improving their learning or study skills. It needs, therefore, to be conducted in an informed way to be of real value (see pedagogy; praxis; metacognition).

reflective practice

for teachers, the process of reviewing their own professional performance with a view to improvement. It is most often used in relation to an individual professional's self-evaluation and development but can also be engaged in collectively. It is viewed as a key aspect of professionalism. See further detail in the entry on its opposite: technical rationalism

reflective practitioner

see reference to this concept under (its opposite) 'technical rationalism'

reflexivity

consciousness of one's own assumptions role impact. It is a key idea in research because it emphasises the role of the researcher in influencing both the research design and results.

reform

the action or process of changing a system institution or practice with the intention of improving it.

regression

returning to a previous (less advanced or developed) state the opposite of progress. In statistics  regression analysis is a technique used for establishing the nature of the relationship between variables.

rehearsal

mental preparation especially by repetition.

reification

the treatment of a concept or idea as a concrete thing. In Marxism it also refers to the treatment of an individual as a commodity in terms of labour.

reinforcement

a responsive action designed to increase the likely recurrence of a behaviour. It is a term in common use in approaches to behaviour management or modification. It is a form ofconditioning and associated with behaviourist theories of learning.

relationship

social connection the way in which two or more people feel and behave towards each other. As teaching is a social activity relationships and their nature are key factors in its efficacy.

relativism

the theory relevant in a number of different spheres that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but vary with individuals and their environment thus rejecting the idea of a single 'truth' or simple 'right' and 'wrong'. The term covers a range of philosophical positions.

relevance

the state or property of being connected to one's experience current interests or needs. It is a key concept in the educational theory of John Dewey (1859 - 1952) which argues that to be successful teaching needs to focus on what the learner actually needs and wants what is deemed relevant. Dewey saw learning as an evolutionary process whereby humans develop better ways of adapting to and improving their environment. So what is to be learned must be seen as having this connection if it is to be engaged with.

reliability

an important concept in research studies referring to the consistency or accuracy or dependability of a measuring instrument. A test with high reliability should produce the same results if repeated in the same conditions (see validity).

remedial

pertaining to action designed to address some difficulty or lack of progress in learning. It is most often used in the context of children with specific learning difficulties.

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