Top 25 Education Buzzwords Explained

In education there is never a shortage of acronyms and buzzwords that educators are required to use. Yes, they change often, just to keep you on your toes, so if you are feeling a little quivery in the knees and are unsure of some, keep reading for the top 25 most common buzzwords used in education today.

  1. ADD/ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

2. Formative Assessment: Evaluates student learning at the beginning or during a unit. Provides information for the teacher and learner about what needs to be covered/adjusted. There are many helpful formative assessment tools to check for understanding and alter your teaching to better guide students in their learning.

3. Summative Assessment: Evaluates student learning at the end of a unit. This could be a final exam or essay, but there are also many benefits to providing alternative summative assessments.

4. EAL/ESL/ESOL: English as an Additional Language/English as a Second Language/English for Speakers of Other Languages. 

5. Growth Mindset: Dr. Carol Dweck invented the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” to explain the beliefs people have about their ability to learn and grow. Students with a growth mindset believe that they can improve through hard work, thrive on challenge, and see failure as an opportunity to do better. For teachers, there are many ways you can build a growth mindset.

6. GT/G&T: Gifted and Talented.

7. LA: Less Able, Lower Ability, Lower Attaining.

8. IEP: Individualized Education Plan — a personalized document that is developed for an individual student who needs access to special education services.

9. Scaffolding: An instruction method where a teacher models or offers supports and then steps back to allow students to try it on their own. “For example, in teaching a child to ride a bike, the training wheels serve as one scaffold. The adult running alongside the bike serves as another. In other words, the adult handles the harder parts temporarily, while allowing the child to try out the easier parts,” according to Guided Instruction by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.

10. STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Read more about the importance of art and humanities in STEAM.

11. STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Learn about the history of STEM.

12. Data-driven teaching: Making use of school and pupil data to plan and teach effectively. Find out more about data driven instruction.

13. CPA: Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract approach to learning. The Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach is a system of learning that uses physical and visual aids to build a child’s understanding of abstract topics. Pupils are introduced to a new mathematical concept through the use of concrete resources (e.g. fruit, Dienes blocks etc). Find out more about this approach to teaching maths.

14. CPD: Continual Professional Development is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. Find some CPD courses that might interest you here.

15. AL/MFL/ESL/EFL: Additional Language/Modern Foreign Language/English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language

16. INSET: In-service training. Schools close to pupils on INSET days, but staff attend.

17. Critical thinking: Critical thinking is a term used by educators to describe forms of learning, thought, and analysis that go beyond the memorization and recall of information and facts.

18. SEN/SEND: Special educational needs also known as special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the United Kingdom refers to the education of children with disabilities. Currently, a child or young person is considered to have SEN if they have a disability or learning difficulty that means they need special educational provision. Special educational provision means that the child needs support that would not generally be provided to a child of the same age in a mainstream school.

19. HOTS: Higher Order Thinking Skills are the cognitive processes that require thinking at a more complex, higher level. High potential learners often master the lower order tasks very quickly and need to think more deeply about topics. Find out more here.

20. Hands-on learning: Hands-on learning is a form of education in which children learn by doing instead of simply listening to a teacher.

21. IEP: Individualized Education Program. An IEP lays out the special education instruction, supports, and services a student needs to thrive in school. Read more about IEPs.

22. Remote/Distance learning: Remote learning is the practice of moving a formerly in-person learning process online, usually temporarily. It’s where the student and the educator, or information source, are not physically present in a traditional classroom environment.

23. Mastery approach: At its core, mastery learning enables students to move forward at their own pace as they master knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The mastery approach is a Chinese way of teaching Maths that involves breaking down larger, complex learning goals into smaller, more granular steps. It mostly originated in South Asia and is particularly common in Shanghai and Singapore. Watch a video on mastery learning.

24. SDL: Synchronous Distance Learning is a type of distance education that connects students and instructors via real-time communication.

25. SLT/MLT: Senior Leadership Team/ Middle Leadership Team

These are just some buzzwords used in education today.

Leave a comment below with one or more key words that are not on the list above.

Like and share this post.

Till next time…

Photo by Karolina Zuraw on Unsplash

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