Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

young children at the stage of beginning walking. Toddlers' groups usually are for 2 year-olds.


any insincere attempt to meet with regulations or policy requirements marked by superficial or limited compliance without any commitment. There is normally enough done to avoid any sanctions but not enough to have much effect. It is most commonly used in relation to equal opportunities in employment. In education it can relate to a range of other contexts such as tokenism relating to consultation learner-centredness school councils or the purchase and use of textbooks to meet policies on racial and gender equality.


descriptive of a management approach where ideas decisions or policy originate at the highest level of institutional hierarchy and are then communicated to other staff without further input.


subject-matter which is used as a focus for learning. In primary schools it is often the unifying theme for a range of disparate curricular activities.

total curriculum

all of the experiences planned and unplanned which a learner encounters in an educational institution.


a form of government which brooks no opposition and demands subservience of the individual to the state.

trace decay

a concept in the psychology of forgetting which suggests that memory (of fact or of a skill) may fade from the mind if not actively used over time.


a system intended to follow and plot the progress of learners and so identify areas of strength weakness or where action may be deemed appropriate. In the USA it refers to setting.

trade union

an organised association of workers in a trade sector or profession formed for the protection and advancement of their common interests. Teacher unions are sometimes referred to as 'professional organisations' to distinguish them from unions' historical link with more manual or industrial workers.


any theory or outlook which favours respect for and devotion to past customs or practice. In education it is most often associated with views which favour such things as strong discipline a focus on basic literacy and numeracy and an aversion to child-centred or progressiveapproaches.


a form of learning often distinguished by being for a particular skill or set of skills. It can be marked by narrowness and a lack of learner reflection and so it is often viewed negatively compared to terms such as learning or education (see instruction).


in philosophy beyond experience. It is associated with the Kantian idea of a priori elements which condition human knowledge which make it possible to understand experience in the first place.


any one of a number of philosophical theories which hold that the principles of reality are to be found in the study of thought emphasizing the intuitive and the spiritual above the empirical.


in psychoanalysis the shift of emotions or feelings from one person or object to another. Thus attachment to or rejection of a parent may be transferred to reaction to a teacher.


a move from one educational sector to another such as that from primary school to secondary school. Such changes are often seen as sources of difficulty and disruption for learners.

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