Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

to assist the progress of a person or a process. The term is used to reflect the role of a teacher not as the imparter of knowledge (see instructivism) but as one who helps and supports another's learning (see constructivism).


one of the elements contributing to an event or situation. It is a useful term in educational study as it does not assume a full causal connection: a factor may influence or contribute but need not necessarily be the actual cause of some situation - other (more significant) factors may be involved.


things known to be true reality as opposed to beliefs theories or possibilities.


a particular subdivision in a university such as arts faculty or science faculty or a similar such organisational approach in a secondary school or other institution. In the US it is a collective term for teaching staff as a whole.

faith school

a school that has a particular religious character or links to a particular church or religious group. There are both state and private schools of this type (see denominational school).

false consciousness

a term deriving from Marxist theory which describes the state whereby dominant ideology so permeates the consciousness of exploited groups that they acquiesce in justify and perpetuate their own exploitation. Critical reflection and/or sufficient information would in contrast enable the exploited to perceive better their situation. Its use has been criticised as suggesting that some other (knowledgeable) person does know what is in the best interests of the exploited a view which can be used to justify a number of illiberal actions.


the act of determining that something is false disproving a theory. It is a key term in the philosophy of science notably in the work of Karl Popper (1902-1994) who argued that a hypothesis or theory is only scientific if it is falsifiable if it is logically possible to disprove it. Popper also argued that theories could hold even if they were not proven until such time as they were falsified which provides a means by which science can progress without absolute proof.


a belief that things are inevitable or pre-determined and so unalterable. In education typical examples would the case of entity theories of intelligence that intelligence is fixed and cannot be affected by teaching learning or studying.

feasibility study

analysis or research into the practicality of a proposed plan or policy.


an evaluative response to a particular educational outcome or activity. It is also used more generally for any form of evaluative information received.

feeder school

a school whose members move on to another (higher) institution. Primary schools tend not to be described in this way any more as it represents them as subordinate or dependent. 'Associated primary school' has been used instead as has 'learning community' to encapsulate all the linked schools in a locale.


money paid to an educational institution for continued attendance and enrolment such as to a private school or to a university.


the belief that advocates social political and other rights for women equal to those of men. Feminist approaches to education and research would also seek to understand phenomena from a female perspective or in the light of female issues.


in educational research a term used for the process of gathering evidence. In school contexts it mostly refers to outdoor study activities in certain subject areas such as geography.

finishing school

a private girls' school usually for older teenagers which focuses on social subjects and cultural activities normally associated with upper class or privileged society.

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