Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

a card part of a set shown to a young learner usually to check word recognition or to test simple arithmetical tasks.

flexible learning

approaches to learning which emphasise student choice about where when and how learning will take place adapting to individual preference and convenience.

flipped classroom

an approach to teaching, largely confined to the university sector currently, where new content is made available in advance online, or in videotaped format, with which learners engage in their own time, so that classroom activity is solely focused on activity related to that content. It thus frees up time and allows for more teacher-learner interaction. It is dependent on learners engaging with the material in advance and so claims of its value need to be framed in that context. (see blended learning)


a psychological term for the complete sense of fulfilment which a learner may experience when involved in activity which is interesting rewarding and fully engaging. It is sometimes summarised as involving self-efficacy in goal achievement


a coherent body of work created by a learner usually in one subject area (see coursework).

formal curriculum

the timetabled official teaching and learning activities of an educational institution programme of study or course (see informal curriculum).

formal operational

the final stage in Piaget's genetic epistemology marked by the ability to think logically and deal in abstract ideas (see concrete operational preoperational sensori-motor).

formative assessment

assessment used to support learning as opposed to simply measuring and recording. In this way the process and the outcomes of the evaluation are used to aid future improvement (seesummative).

forms of knowledge

a term from the work of P.H.Hirst (b. 1927) for different classes of knowledge which can be identified by their having distinct concepts logical structures and ways of judging truth and falsity. Hirst's views have been influential in curriculum design but are the subject of considerable criticism. Hirst identifies seven such forms of knowledge: mathematics physical science religion philosophy literature and the fine arts moral and interpersonal (seedisciplines domain).

foster care

arrangements for the support and upbringing of a child or young person away from their natural home but without adoption. It can be done within other family homes or in a separate institution.

foundation school

In England and Wales the name for what used to be known as grant-maintained schools. No fees are charged they are under local authority control but the board of governors have increased powers allowing a degree of independence over such things as admission policy


any theory which holds that beliefs are justified or can be held as true if they are based on foundation beliefs such as a self-evident truth or a basic proposition which is self-justifying. An example is the work of Rene Descartes (1596-1650) which identifies 'cogito ergo sum' - 'I think therefore I am' - as a foundation belief. Many critics dispute that such foundations - absolutely free of doubt or scepticism - can be found

free school

a private school organised as an alternative to the traditional state or independent school often featuring  a flexible curriculum and progressive teaching methods.In England since 2010, it is the term used for an extension of the 'academy' school movement, indicating a school independent of local authorities but funded by central government.

free will

the philosophical view that human action is not determined by physical or other forces but is expressive of personal choice or volition (see determinism).


the absence of restraints or oppression the capacity to exercise self-determination autonomy.Education and schooling have typically been seen as promoting individual and group freedom in that an educated person is deemed to have more freedom or opportunities to exercise such than an uneducated person. Other critics see schooling as impairing and restricting freedom serving as a form of social control or indoctrination (see emancipation).

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