Glossary of Education Terms (A–C) - A


  • Academia: A collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole. The word comes from the akademeia just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning.
  • Academic degree: A degree is any of a wide range of status levels conferred by institutions of higher education, such as universities, normally as the result of successfully completing a program of study.
  • Academic dress: (or academical dress, also known in the United States as academic regalia) Traditional clothing worn specifically in academic settings. It is more commonly seen nowadays only at graduation ceremonies, but in former times academic dress was, and to a lesser extent in many ancient universities still is, worn on a daily basis.
  • Academic institution: An educational institution dedicated to higher education and research, which grants academic degrees.
  • Academic publishing: Describes a system of publishing that is necessary in order for academic scholars to review work and make it available for a wider audience. The "system," which is probably disorganized enough not to merit the title, varies widely by field, and is also always changing, if often slowly. Most academic work is published in journal article or book form.
  • Active learning: A process whereby learners are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than "passively" absorbing lectures. Active learning involves reading, writing, discussion, and engagement in solving problems, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Active learning often involves cooperative learning.
  • Activity theory: (AT) A Soviet psychological meta-theory, paradigm, or framework, with its roots in socio-cultural approach. Its founders were Alexei Nikolaevich Leontyev, and S. L. Rubinshtein (1889–1960). It became one of the major psychological approaches in the former USSR, being widely used in both theoretical and applied psychology, in areas such as the education, training, ergonomics, and work psychology.
  • Additional Support Needs: In Scotland, children who require some additional support to remove barriers to learning in any respect are deemed to have Additional Support Needs. This definition abolished the previously used term Special Educational Needs and was set out in the 2004 Additional Support for Learning Act.
  • Adult education: The practice of teaching and educating adults. This is often done in the workplace, or through 'extension' or 'continuing education' courses at secondary schools, or at a College or University. The practice is also often referred to as 'Training and Development'. It has also been referred to as andragogy (to distinguish it from pedagogy).
Educating adults differs from educating children in several ways. One of the most important differences is that adults have accumulated knowledge and experience which can either add value to a learning experience or hinder it.
  • Adultism: A predisposition towards adults, which some see as biased against children, youth, and all young people who aren't addressed or viewed as adults. Adultism is popularly used to describe any discrimination against young people, and is distinguished from ageism, which is simply prejudice on the grounds of age; not specifically against youth.
  • Advanced Placement Program: (commonly known as Advanced Placement, or AP) A United States and Canada-based program that offers high school students the opportunity to receive university credit for their work during high school.
  • Agricultural education: Instruction about crop production, livestock management, soil and water conservation, and various other aspects of agriculture. Agricultural education includes instruction in food education, such as nutrition. Agricultural and food education improves the quality of life for all people by helping farmers increase production, conserve resources, and provide nutritious foods.
  • Aims and objectives: An aim expresses the purpose of the educational unit or course whereas an objective is a statement of a goal which successful participants are expected demonstrably to achieve before the course or unit completes.
  • Alternative education: (also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative) Describes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than traditional publicly- or privately-run schools. These approaches can be applied to all students of all ages, from infancy to adulthood, and all levels of education.
  • Analysis: The action of taking something apart in order to study it.
  • Andragogy: A theory of adult education proposed by the American educator Malcolm Knowles (April 24, 1913—November 27, 1997).
Knowles held that andragogy (from the Greek words meaning "man-leading") should be distinguished from the more commonly taught pedagogy (Greek: "child-leading").
  • Anti-bias curriculum: An active/activist approach in education that challenges interlocking systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, ableism/disablism, ageism, homophobia, and all the other -isms.
The objective of this approach to teaching is to eliminate bias found in various institutions. This approach attempts to provide children with a solid understanding of social problems and issues while equipping them with strategies to combat bias and improve social conditions for all.
The anti-bias curriculum serves as a catalyst in the critical analysis of various social conditions. It is implemented as a proactive means to eradicate various forms of social oppression with the ultimate goal of social justice in mind.
  • Applied academics: An approach to learning and teaching that focuses on how academic subjects (communications, mathematics, science, and basic literacy) can apply to the real world. Further, applied academics can be viewed as theoretical knowledge supporting practical applications.
  • Apprenticeship: A traditional method, still popular in some countries, of training a new generation of skilled crafts practitioners. Apprentices (or in early modern usage "prentices") built their careers from apprenticeships.
  • Art education: The area of learning that is based upon the visual arts—drawing, painting, sculpture, and design in such fine crafts of jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics, etc., and design applied to more practical fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings.
The term "arts education" implies many things, but it is defined as: Instruction and programming in all arts disciplines—including but not limited to dance, music, visual art, theater, creative writing, media arts, history, criticism, and aesthetics. "Arts education" encompasses all the visual and performing arts delivered in a standards-based, sequential approach by a qualified instructor as part of the core curriculum. The most common courses provided in schools include Art (visual art), Band, Drama, and Choir.
  • Assessment: The process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.
  • Asynchronous learning: A teaching method using the asynchronous delivery of training materials or content using computer network technology. It is an approach to providing technology-based training that incorporates learner-centric models of instruction. The asynchronous format has been in existence for quite some time; however, new research and strategies suggest that this approach can enable learners to increase knowledge and skills through self-paced and self-directed modules completed when the learner is prepared and motivated to learn.
  • Autodidacticism: (also autodidactism) Self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact, also known as an automath, is a mostly self-taught person - typically someone who has an enthusiasm for self-education and a high degree of self-motivation.

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