Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

descriptive of an approach or theory which treats phenomena in purely physical ordeterministic ways. In education it is often used pejoratively for any viewpoint which does not treat people as autonomous individuals but more as things or numbers.


the midpoint in a distribution (of scores in a test for example). The mean is the average score but the median is the score which has an equal number of individual scores lying above and below it.


the faculty by which a person stores and remembers information.

mental age

a person's mental ability expressed in terms of the age at which the average person demonstrates the same ability. A mental age of 10 can be held by any person regardless of human age it representing what the average 10 year old person is capable of  (normally in terms of verbal reasoning or some other reputed test of intelligence)


a more experienced person who advises and trains new colleagues.


a belief or a system operating on the principles that advancement and reward should be based on a person's perceived ability and talent rather than on wealth and privilege. Criticisms of it include the argument that it takes insufficient account of pre-existing societal inequalities such that the ability and talent of minorities or the disadvantaged may remain unrecognised ignored or suppressed.


a technique or procedure for summarising or collating the results of  research studies which cover the same or similar topics (see systematic review).


thinking about thinking awareness of one's thinking and cognitive processes. It has recently been suggested as an important aspect of successful learning.


the branch of philosophy which deals with first principles such as the nature of what there is and what we can know (see ontology epistemology). It is also used as a general term for outlooks which are influenced by idealism as opposed to empiricism.


in teaching the principles practices and procedures which are employed (see pedagogy). In educational research it refers to a justification of the principles practices and procedures informing the construction of and employed in the research project.


the practices of teaching or research. They can be observed whereas methodology involves some kind of principled justification.

micro teaching

a scaled-down version of teaching in controlled conditions used for analysing teaching techniques and developing new skills. It often involves videotaping of lessons for the purpose of review and discussion.

middle class

the social division associated with professional and managerial employment but also reflecting differences in terms of economic standing and culture (see working class).

middle school

an institution in England covering the ages from 8 to 12 or 9 to 13 - typically the upper stages of primary and lower stages of secondary.

minority ethnic

any recognisable ethnic group distinct from the main ethnic grouping(s) of a community or society especially one suffering disadvantage or discrimination.

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