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ability-oriented learning – learning that is accomplished by activities that tend to highlight differences in students’ abilities and achievement. When performing well is the goal, students often lose sight of what they are learning – focusing instead on the easiest or shortest way to earn the grade and be deemed successful. (Ames, 1992; Eccles et al., 1998; Urdan 1997).
active in-depth learning – learning that “begins with the disciplines” and “engages students in doing the work of writers, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, sculptors, and critics” (Darling-Hammond, 1997, p. 107-108).
advance organizers – ideas or strategies used at the beginning of a lesson or activity to prepare students for new material.
amnesia – forgetting. It occurs when information has not been learned in memorable, usable ways (Shulman, 2001, interview).
articulation – the work the teacher does to encourage students to verbalize their own knowledge and thinking or problem-solving strategies.
assessment-centered – school practices and structures that address the question, “What kinds of assessments will help me know what students understand and how they learn?”
authentic performance – curriculum and assessments that are integrated around meaningful performances in real-world contexts. Performance-based assessments use multiple criteria to determine how students are thinking and learning, as well as what they know and can do.
automaticity – learning of a task or skill so well that retrieval is automatic or requires little conscious effort.
behaviorist – a description of theories that suggest learning is based on practicing specific skills and receiving positive reinforcement.
bodily-kinesthetic intelligence – the ability to use one’s body to create products or solve problems.
central modes of inquiry – how experts in each discipline construct knowledge and critique and revise knowledge that was once thought accurate and is now questioned. The manner in which experts in the discipline determine if something counts as evidence or is held to be true (Schwab, 1978; Shulman, 2001, interview).
coaching – a process in which the “master” teacher guides, supports, and oversees the work of novices in ways that help support the development of skills and understanding.
cognitive apprenticeship – an instructional paradigm (not a formal teaching method) used in teaching complex thinking and complex skills. It is designed to make the thinking and understanding of the “master” teacher accessible to the novice.
cognitive processing – the work the brain does to take in, organize and make sense of new information.
cognitive psychologists – scientists who study how individuals process information, build knowledge, and develop as problem solvers.
community-centered – school practices and structures that address the question, “How can I construct a community of learners in the classroom and school to support students’ learning?”
conceptual understanding – understanding of the underlying ideas and relationships in a body of knowledge or facts.
constructivist – a description of theories that suggest that learning is based on making meaningful connections with the world, as well as interacting with other people.
content integration – “the extent to which teachers use examples, data and information from a variety of cultures and groups to illustrate key concepts, principles, generalizations, and theories in their subject area discipline.” (Banks, 1993, p. 5).
core ideas – the central concepts in a discipline and how they connect with one another (Schwab, 1978; Shulman, 2001, interview).
cultural expectations and knowledge – prior understandings based on cultural experiences.

culturally responsive teaching – practices that demonstrate:

  • respect for students and belief in their potential as learners
  • caring environments and personal connection
  • cultural congruity between home and school
  • active, direct teaching and authentic assessment
developmentally appropriate - strategies that respond to a student's cognitive, emotional, social, physical, or other developmental stage. 
developmental pathways - ways that a child is growing: physically, socially, emotionally, cognitively, linguistically, psychologically, and ethically/morally.
emotional intelligence - the ability to manage feelings and relationships.
emotionally safe classroom -a classroom in which students feel they can take intellectual risks without harsh penalties for failure, because their teacher has structured the learning environment to be supportive.
empowering school culture – “restructuring the culture and organization of the school so that students from diverse racial, ethnic and social-class groups will experience educational equality and cultural empowerment.” (Banks, 1993, p. 7).
equity pedagogy – instructional practices that makes knowledge accessible to all students.
expectations for success – the degree to which students believe they will accomplish a task or master a skill successfully.
expert knowledge – information organized around core concepts or big ideas that guide thinking and encompass a large number of interrelated facts and formulas. Experts are particularly adept at recognizing patterns and recalling information because of the ways they chunk and organize information.
exploration – letting students explore open-ended topics and develop competency by choosing their own paths toward problem solving.
fading – the process of removing support structures as the novice becomes more skilled, giving him or her more and more responsibility.
fantasia – a misconception or a set of misconceptions about ideas taught; a distorted grasp of a concept (Shulman, 2001, interview).
formative assessment – feedback provided by a teacher or a learner herself in the midst of an activity.
general transfer – (also called far transfer) the application of knowledge or general principles to a more complex, novel situation.
graduated prompting – providing just enough information or help to a student so she succeeds in transferring knowledge from one situation to a new one. The fewer prompts a student needs to apply his or her knowledge in a new situation, the more deeply the student has understood the structure of the knowledge domain, as well as the information or skill itself.
hierarchical presentation strategy – Presenting new information beginning with simple, concrete ideas and later advancing to more complex, abstract concepts and principles.
inertia – the absence of transfer; a situation in which students understand the ideas, but they can’t apply them outside of the immediate context in which they learned them. (Shulman, 2001, interview).
interpersonal intelligence – an awareness or sensitivity to others’ feelings and intentions.
intrapersonal intelligence – the ability for people to “distinguish among their own feelings, to build accurate mental models of themselves, and to draw on these models to make decisions about their lives” (Kreshevsky & Siedel, 1998, p. 20).
joint productive activity – a task or tasks in which an expert and novice work together.
knowledge-centered – school practices and structures that address the question, “What kind of knowledge am I trying to develop?”
knowledge construction – a process in which “teachers help students to understand how knowledge is created and how it is influenced by the racial, ethnic, and social-class position of individuals and groups” (Banks, 1993, p. 6).
learner-centered – school practices and structures that address the question, “How am I drawing on students’ interests and strengths?”
learning communities – classrooms or schools in which students learn through carefully structured collaboration as they participate in a shared practice, or a group project, in a setting that resembles a real-life situation (Wenger, 1998). It can also describe schools in which teachers and administrators share goals of continuously improving professional practices to raise student achievement.
linguistic intelligence – the ability to communicate and use language in a variety of ways – through speaking, writing, and reading.
logical-mathematical intelligence – the ability to order objects, assess their quantity, and make statements about the relationships among them (Gardner, 1985).
managed discourse – an instructional conversation which is guided by a teacher using purposeful questions and listening carefully to achieve an academic purpose – providing intellectual, cognitive, social and emotional growth.
mapping – the creation of graphic organizers; visual and verbal diagrams of the knowledge to be remembered (Lambiotte et al., 1989, cited in Gage and Berliner, 1998).
mediation – “the process of creating meaningful links between apparently unrelated items or ideas” (Gage & Berliner, 1998, pg. 288). The goal of mediation is to help make the second idea in a pair more memorable by linking it to the first idea in some meaningful way.
mental models – the explanations for facts that individuals carry around in their heads; they can be described as “constructed working models of the world used in the service of understanding” (Medin & Ross, 1992, pg. 359).
metacognitive knowledge – awareness of one’s knowledge, thinking, and thinking strategies.
metacognitive regulation – the use of metacognitive knowledge to direct or regulate one’s learning. This kind of metacognition is also referred to as executive control.
modeling – a process in which teachers and advanced students serve as models for novices working to develop skills and understanding.
musical intelligence – a sensitivity to pitch (melody), rhythm, and the qualities of a tone (Gardner, 1985).
naturalistic intelligence – the ability to recognize and classify species and other aspects of their environment.
neuroscientists – scientists who study how the brain changes as individuals learn and experience new things.
novices’ knowledge – information organized around relatively unrelated facts or patterns. Novices often get distracted by apparently important, but often irrelevant aspects of the problem.
overlearning – the process of continuing to study and practice material after it has been mastered.
pathway – the form of intelligence that learners are using at any given moment to acquire knowledge and skills.
pedagogical content knowledge – the special expertise that teachers have about subject matter and how to teach it (Shulman, 2001, interview).
point of entry – the way a new topic or set of new ideas in a lesson is introduced, e.g. watching a movie to begin a lesson about history could be considered an aesthetic point of entry.
prejudice reduction – “interventions to help students to develop more positive racial attitudes and values” (Banks, 1993, p. 6).
prior knowledge – what students already know about a topic.
reciprocal teaching – a specific strategy for teaching reading comprehension that involves students working on the deep reading of text using four expert strategies: questioning, clarifying, summarizing, and predicting (Palinscar & Brown, 1984). The term is also used generically to express the idea that students can learn by taking responsibility for acquiring knowledge and teaching it to others (e.g. the expert jigsaw).
reflection – thinking about academic work or tasks that enables students to compare their performance or understanding with others or with their own previous performance or understanding.
scaffolding – the work the “master” teacher does to provide just enough support, depending on the needs of the student, to move the novice student’s skills and understanding forward.
schemas – an association of words, concepts, and ideas. Schemas are general knowledge structures used for understanding and for memory storage. Schemas consist of information, in an abstract form, of the associations we have with a word, concept, or idea, and they in turn connect with other schemas.
self awareness -the ability to recognize one's own thoughts and feelings, and to understand why they are thinking or feeling a certain way.
self-regulation – the ability to monitor and control one’s own thinking and learning.
spatial intelligence – the ability to perceive a form or object (either visually or through touch), remember visual or spatial information, and recognize and imagine objects from different angles (Gardner, 1985).
specific transfer – (also called near transfer) the application of knowledge to a specific, very similar situation.
spiral curriculum – teaching strategies that introduce central concepts in the disciplines early in a child’s education and revisit these concepts again and again in the later grades in more sophisticated ways (Bruner, 1960).
structure of the discipline – how knowledge is organized and pursued in a particular subject area.
supportive learning environment – a classroom that emphasizes learning and encourages risk-taking, not just getting the right answers, stresses improvement over time and provides opportunities for revision, and minimizes competition and comparison (Blumenfeld, Puro, & Mergendoller).
task-oriented learning – learning that is accomplished by activities designed to help students understand concepts, improve their thinking and analytical skills, and concentrate on a particular topic. Students get concrete specific feedback and revise their work until they achieve mastery (Ames, 1992; Eccles et al., 1998; Urdan 1997).

theory – an idea that is a coherent explanation of a set of relationships. If the idea survives rigorous testing and research, that theory is said to have empirical grounding.

  • A theory is developed from practical experience as well as research.
  • A theory is modified over time based on the insights of practioners as well as the work of researchers.
  • Theories are interconnected.
top-down presentation strategy – Presenting new information with advance organizers, or a set of general concepts describing how ideas are grouped or structured.
transfer – the ability to extend what one has learned in one context to new contexts.
zone of proximal development - the information or skills that can be considered a logical "next step" for a child, based on where she/he is developmentally .  Teaching in the zone of proximal development means giving students learning tasks that challenge them, but are not so far beyond their present skills that they become discouraged.

Glossary references
Ames, C. (1990). Motivation: What teachers need to know. Teachers College
Record, 91(3) 407-421.
Banks, James (1993). Multicultural education: Historical development, dimensions, and practices. In L. Darling-Hammond (ed.), Review of research in education, volume 19, pp. 3-49. Washington, D.C.: American Education Research Association.
Blumenfeld, P., Puro, P., and Mergendoller, J. (1992). Translating motivation into thoughtfulness. In H. Marshall (Ed.), Redefining student learning: Roots of educational change (pp. 207-239). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Bruner, J. (1960). The process of education. (Chapter 2: The importance of structure (pp. 16-32). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Chapter 4. Teaching and Learning for Understanding.
Eccles, J. S., Wigfield, A., & Schiefele, U. (1998). Motivation to succeed. In W. Damon (Ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology Vol. 3. Social, Emotional and Personality Development (pp. 1017-1094).
Gage, N.L. & Berliner, D.C. (1998). Educational psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Chapter 7: Cognitive learning: Processes and strategies to make meaning.
Gardner, 1985
Kreshevsky & Siedel, 1998
Lambiotte, J.G., Dansereau, D.F., Cross, D.R., & Reynolds, S.B. (1989). Multirelational semantic maps. Educational Psychology Review, 1, 331-368.
Medin, D.L. & Ross, B.H. (1992). Cognitive psychology. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.
Palincsar, A. & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction 1(2), p. 117-175.
Shulman, Lee, President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Interview on May 11, 2001.
Schwab, J. (1978). Education and the structure of the disciplines. In Westbury, J. & Wilkof, N. (Eds.), Science, curriculum, and liberal education. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Urdan, T. C. (1997). Achievement goal theory: past results, future directions. In M. Maehr & P. Pintrich (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement (Vol. 10, pp. 99-141). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc.
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

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