a teaching approach which has a number of different activities or 'stations' which individuals or groups visit and work on in sequence.
a term used in 20th century Scotland for a number of higher education colleges, rather similar to polytechnics, centrally funded by government, offering degree-level courses, usually in technical subjects. Many have since become universities in their own right, or merged with existing universities. Those remaining are now known as centrally-funded colleges.
an approach where learners work on a task together, dependent on and accountable to each other. Each learner contributes to, and benefits from others' involvement in, the activity. It can be seen as aligned most obviously to social constructivist theory. While related to cooperative learning, it is distinguished by the fact there is a common task and a single group result. Cooperative learning can involve separate tasks and individual outcomes although the process may be marked by shared activity and mutual support.
sound, practical judgement which is not based on specialised knowledge or training. While given status in ordinary language, what constitutes 'common sense' for any one social group or culture may actually involve prejudice, superstition or ignorance. Appeals to 'common sense' as the ultimate arbiter in any dispute, therefore, need to be treated cautiously.
communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavour. The focus is on the processes of social learning that occur when groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. While it can, and does, refer to all human environments, in education it is particularly used with regard to professional cooperation in various situations. The concept has been developed most prominently by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (see also situated learning).
an approach, particularly common in the USA, which seeks to tailor the curriculum more closely to specific students by identifying the learner’s prior competence and so determining which parts of a planned programme may be skipped and alternative, more appropriate, activities provided. As can be seen, it is most often designed for high-achieving learners in the specific curriculum area (see also differentiation)
an approach, most common in teacher education courses, where what is being taught is mirrored by how it is taught. For example, teaching students about groupwork is done through the medium of groupwork; another example would be teaching about cooperative learning through having the students cooperate together. The term is sometimes used in the general sense of the expectation that teacher educators should model good practice for their student teachers.
a theory which regards learning as an active process where the learner constructs and internalises new concepts, ideas, and knowledge based on their present and past experiences. Learning is not a received object, but a created process. Two main forms of the theory are cognitive constructivism and social constructivism. More generally in the social sciences, it can also refers to a range of approaches which view elements thought to have objective reality as instead being social or cultural 'constructs'.
in education, the ongoing process whereby teachers and others upgrade and develop their professional knowledge and skills. Nowadays, it tends to refer to an organised system as opposed to being a voluntary or optional extra. Thus, while it may address issues of lifelong learning and personal development, it is also motivated by a political concern for accountability in the public sector generally, and specifically designed to counter the historical phenomenon that teachers, once qualified, had no requirement or incentive to 'improve' or keep up-to-date.
an ongoing process of identifying the knowledge, skills, or attitudes of a learner as opposed to one based on specific, discrete testing. It is often thought to be a fairer system for those who tend to perform abnormally in tests and it may also be more reliable as it depends on a body of evidence rather than data from a single test. It can be problematic however as it can lack robustness and its reliability can also be affected by subjective teacher impressions.
an approach to social and moral theory which understands the state and the rule of law in terms of a reputed agreement between the individual and society, by which certain potential individual freedoms are sacrificed for the mutual benefits which flow from such a 'contract'. It features in the work of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and informs the work of more modern theorists such as John Rawls. Its influence can be seen in approaches to behaviour management such as school students being involved in drawing up their own school and classroom rules, and more overtly in disciplinary approaches which involve individuals signing contracts regarding their future behaviour.
devised by an American educator, E.D. Hirsch, it is a set of cultural facts and information said to form a shared intellectual landcape for learners (in a particular society) and aims to be the core for the school curriculum. Supporters see it as empowering for disadvantaged groups who may not otherwise have access to this sort of knowledge. Critics see it as simplistic (a list of facts with right/wrong answers), potentially narrowing to the curriculum, essentially conservative, and its composition deeply problematic as the selection of what is included tends to favour dominant groups in society and is unlikely to reflect modern multicultural perspectives.
a philosophical view, in modern times associated with Roy Bhaskar (b.1944), which asserts that our knowledge of the world refers to the-way-things-really-are, but in an incomplete, provisional sense which will necessarily be revised as that knowledge develops. It therefore avoids the extreme postmodernist position that any interpretation of reality is as good as any other, avoids the idealist view that there is no external reality, but also avoids the naïve realist or positivist view that there is one single knowable truth 'out there'.