Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
direct grant schools

the term used in England for those schools funded centrally which provided local selective secondary education. They were abolished in 1976 some coming under local authority control and some becoming independent.

direct teaching

a term for the pedagogical approach where the teacher is communicating personally with a learner   group or class. It is thus distinguished from any form of pupil-led activity such as group work or pair work. It need not be one-sided but any interaction would be initiated and driven by the teacher.


a physical or mental condition which limits a person's movements senses or activities.


in educational terms this normally means an unfavourable circumstance which limits educational opportunities or reduces the chances of progress.


the state or feeling of being dissatisfied with a situation or those in authority. In education it is particularly associated with those teenagers discontented at their educational arrangements (seealienation).


the control of behaviour especially involving punishment to correct disobedience. It has authoritarian connotations therefore and has largely been overtaken in educational discourse by the term behaviour management.

disciplines of knowledge

particular branches of knowledge subject domains or areas (see forms of knowledge).


 a complex term one sense of which can be described in the words of Michel Foucault (1926-1984) as the group of statements that belong to a single system of formation - for example political discourse educational discourse psychiatric discourse. In a broader sense however discourse also means a whole way of understanding and constructing the world a system of thought and so is interwoven with issues of social practices and power.

discourse capture

a term for the subtle way in which dominant ideology in the form of its concepts and terminology   comes to be used widely and so becomes the natural way of speaking about and understanding certain issues even although users may not consciously have subscribed to the underlying outlook.

discovery learning

an inquiry-based learning method. It takes place most notably in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his own experience and prior knowledge to discover the truths that are to be learned. It is a personal internal  constructivist learning environment.


separate distinct. 'Discreet' however means careful prudent unobtrusive.


the unjust treatment   through prejudicial categorisation of people especially on such grounds as race sex religion ability or age.


in academic work the detailed treatment of a topic and its implications.


in the work of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) cognitive imbalance caused by encountering new experience or knowledge requiring some form of adaptation by the learner to restoreequilibrium.


in educational usage this normally refers to a person's inclinations or tendencies especially towards learning. It is a contested area as a disposition may merely be an observer's opinion or perception and it is hard to judge if this perceived disposition is itself an effect of the person's educational experience rather than a causal factor.

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