Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
social reconstructionism

a theory of education which sees social reform as a key goal or which seeks to enable learners to become empowered to effect such change.

social science

the study of human society and social relationships including such subjects as economics and politics.

social welfare

social services provided for citizens by government. It includes such things as national insurance unemployment benefits pensions health care disability payments.

social work

any of several professions providing services to those with a variety of needs in society such as children the poor those with mental health problems the elderly and the vulnerable.


the process whereby individuals come to act in a way which is acceptable to and in tune with their society. It is sometimes used in a less general sense referring to behaviour within institutions (such as schools) and professions (such as teaching).


belief in or the fact of collective ownership of the means of production and distribution in contrast with capitalist notions of private ownership profit and competition. The term encompasses a wide range of theories.

socially constructed

of an idea concept or term indicating that it is not an empirically observable fact but simply a way of understanding the world as developed by human thought within a shared cultural perspective (see social construction).


social mode of life the customs and organisation of a civilised nation.


the study of the biological evolutionary aspects of social behaviour in animals and humans.

socioeconomic status

position of an individual or group in terms of their social and economic standing. It is a key factor in educational outcomes: the higher the status the better chance of good outcomes the lower the status the greater chance of poorer outcomes.


the study of language in its social context especially as affected by social class.


science of the development and nature of human society.


of an approach to behaviour management and relationships which focuses on finding solutions to problems as opposed to punitive action.

special education

educational provision designed for those with particular needs beyond those possessed by the majority of learners of the same age. It may be aimed at meeting particular needs related to cognitive physical sensory emotional social or psychological issues. The word 'special' has lost favour and more neutral terms such as 'additional support' may be used.

special needs

see special education.

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