Glossary


accountability: Requirement that schools and teachers be responsible for students’ performance through frequent and systematic use of achievement tests.

alienation: Feelings of estrangement from social structures, from other people, or even from oneself.

apprenticeship of observation: Informal and often unconscious acquisition of skills, dispositions, and beliefs by observing our teachers when we are students.

authority: Legitimate power exercised by teachers who have earned the trust, respect, and willing compliance of students.

back-stage: Term used to describe a setting in which our actions are hidden from view and which is presumed to be the site of our more authentic selves. See also front-stage.

bandwagon: Idea, cause, or theory that people support because it is fashionable or seems likely to succeed; fad.

bonding: Close inward-looking relations between like-minded individuals with similar interests and goals; a dimension of social capital.

boy crisis: Moral panic caused by belief that boys are systematically disadvantaged in school and at risk of being surpassed by girls in all areas of human endeavour.

brain-based teaching: Teaching approaches that are based on recent research about the structure and functioning of the brain.

bridging: Broad outward-looking relations between people with different interests and goals; a dimension of social capital.

character education: Conscious inculcating of a defined set of core virtues (for example, trustworthiness, respect, and a sense of responsibility) as a means of counteracting moral problems of society.

commonplaces of education: Common reference points for understanding education; includes students, teachers, subject matter, and context or milieu.

confirmation bias: Tendency to look for information that confirms our beliefs or theories and that discounts anything that contradicts them.

constructivism: Belief that students learn best by constructing their own knowledge with others.

criterion-referenced test: Test that is designed to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills, in contrast to standards-referenced tests, which are designed to measure what students should know and are able to do in different subjects at various grades.

cyberbullying: Anonymous use of social media to send harassing, intimidating, or threatening messages.

digital divide: Gap that some people believe exists between those who grow up with technology (“digital natives”) and those who come to technology later in their lives (“digital immigrants”).

distributed (blended) learning: Use of a variety of delivery formats (print and digital) and media (online and face-to- face) allowing instructors, students, and course content to be located in different, non-centralized locations.

encyclopedia of knowledge: Body of knowledge accumulated through research and scholarship.

encyclopedia of mythology: Body of knowledge acquired through personal stories and anecdotes.

entity theory: Belief that intelligence is a fixed and unchangeable trait.

ethnicity: Person’s cultural inheritance, including language, values, customs, beliefs, and cultural identity.

extrinsic motivation: Willingness to do something because it may lead to a desirable outcome or a reward.

folk devil: Targeted group of people or ideas that are perceived as threats to society.

foundations of education: History, philosophy, and sociology of education.

full-inclusion: Practice of including all children in the regular, or “mainstream” classrooms.

front-stage: Term used to describe a setting in which our actions are visible. See also back stage.

gamification: Application of strategies and principles developed in popular gaming software to re-design learning activities for various kinds of learners.

gender expectations: Social norms that shape our beliefs about what behaviour is appropriate for each gender.

groupthink: Tendency of individual members of groups to think alike, regardless of available evidence, as a way of preserving social dynamics and promoting group harmony.

habits of mind: Set of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills and dispositions that are used to confront a problem whose resolution is not immediately apparent.

hidden curriculum: Socializing processes implicitly transmitted through school rules, procedures, structures, and covert norms rather than taught formally or explicitly as part of the academic curriculum.

historical mindedness: Interpretation and understanding of current events through familiarity with the past.

ideal type: Sociological tool that aids understanding by purposefully exaggerating a certain aspect of reality.

identity: A person’s conception and expression of individuality or group affiliation. See also professional identity.

implementation dip: Point at which an innovation is often abandoned after the initial enthusiasm for the innovation has worn off and there are no immediate or visible signs of progress as a result of its implementation.

impression management: Self-presentation techniques used to influence others to view us favourably.

incremental theory: Belief that intelligence is a malleable and boundless trait.

intrinsic motivation: Desire to do something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable.

issue attention cycle: Model that illustrates the volatility of public interest and attention over time.

learned helplessness: Sense of powerlessness often associated with the belief that success is a matter of chance or luck rather than personal effort.

loose coupling: Characteristic of systems that are composed of separate, idiosyncratic, and weakly related components, which therefore make them resistant to standardization and relatively unchanged by external influences.

marginalization: Voluntary or involuntary exclusion from one or more spheres of life in which one is expected to participate.

meaninglessness: Sense that the unintelligibility of complex affairs makes predictions about future results of one’s actions extremely difficult or even impossible.

moral entrepreneur: Individual, group, or formal organization that launches a campaign promoting laws or policies that are consistent with strongly held moral beliefs.

moral panic: Socially constructed, widespread, and unsupported fear about perceived threats to the safety and well-being of society.

multiculturalism: Belief that all cultures are equally valuable and have the same right to be encouraged and accepted in society.

myth: Unexamined assumption that underlies one’s actions.

neuroplasticity: Ability of the human brain to change throughout life in response to changes in its environment.

normal child: Term referring to those children who are believed to share common desirable traits and against whom all others can be judged as deviant or undesirable.

normlessness: Inability to identify with the dominant values of society, leading individuals to rely more often on their own judgment than conform to social norms.

open classroom: Architectural and pedagogical arrangement that was popular in the 1970s which grouped students of varying grades in a single, large classroom with several teachers.

power: Using coercion, threats, and sanctions to force students to comply with the rules of the school or classroom.

powerlessness: Sense that one does not have the means to achieve one’s goals.

presentism: Error of interpreting past accounts of events as if they had happened today.

professional identity: Internalizing of the values, beliefs, and attitudes of one’s profession.

secularism: Belief that religion should have no place in laws, government policies, or public institutions.

self-estrangement: Feeling of having become a stranger to oneself or to some parts of oneself.

self-fulfilling prophecy: An expectation about something or someone that comes true because we believe or have acted as if it is true.

single-sex education: Organization of education based on the belief that boys and girls learn best when they are placed in boys-only or girls-only settings.

social capital: Benefits that accrue to individuals by virtue of their relationships and networks in the communities of which they are a part. See also bonding and bridging.

social inclusion: Social arrangements by which all socio-economic, racial, and ethnic groups are equally valued.

social isolation: Feeling of being segregated from and disaffected with one’s community.

social media: Synchronous and asynchronous technologies (such as cell phones, web sites, and applications) that are used by individuals and groups to communicate with one another.

socio-economic status: Sociological term for the social standing of an individual or group as measured by a variety of indicators, such as level of parents’ education and family income.

sociological ambivalence: State of uncertainty that results from conflicting role expectations associated with different social structures to which one belongs.

standard: Benchmark used to measure achievement.

standardization: Process of requiring schools to adopt a common set of benchmarks in the belief that this will improve achievement and raise the quality of education.

technopanic: Emotional response that pathologizes young people’s use of computer-mediated technologies.

tracking (streaming): Practice of channelling students into certain courses on the basis of measures of intelligence or achievement in order to create homogeneous groups for teaching and learning.

unwarranted certainty: Socially constructed and usually unconscious belief that is immune to reasoned arguments or disconfirming research; examples are myths, bandwagons, and moral panics.

virtues of teaching: Ideal attributes and dispositions of teachers, such as empathy, humility, judgment, and courage.

whole-language: Holistic method of reading instruction, popularized in the 1970s, that emphasizes meaning and the integration of all language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and context and that de-emphasizes decoding and spelling.

youth culture: Values, beliefs, styles of self-presentation, and tastes in entertainment shared by adolescents that often evoke suspicion, if not outright fear, in adults.