Tag Archives: term of art

Term of Art: Tracking

“tracking: A common instructional practice that assigns students to courses or curriculum programs with others who have similar academic goals or skills. Tracking often occurs as a result of student self-selection into programs or courses of varying levels of difficulty. In the past, tracking referred to the two separate paths that students chose to follow: college or a vocation. Currently, however, the term tracking is used to almost interchangeably with the term ability grouping and applies to all grade levels. As currently used, it refers to a decision by the school to place students in different classes according to their ability levels, the rationale being that it enables teachers to provide the same level of instruction to each group. This practice is criticized, however, by those who fear that students in low-level ability groups (or tracks) never gain access to challenging instruction.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Term of Art: Visual Perception

“visual perception: The ability to recognize and interpret visual information provided to the brain. Difficulties in visual perception are separate from and unrelated to impairment in the visual system that may diminish visual acuity or result in visual impairment or blindness. Visual perception involves the determination and discrimination of spatial information, as well as performance on tasks such as the discrimination of letters and words, geometric designs, and pictures.

Visual perception is an essential component of learning, especially in regard to reading development and to acquiring classroom information. Difficulties with visual perception may significantly affect and individuals ability to discriminate letters and words, and to work with mathematical information.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Term of Art: Relevant

“relevant: An adjective usually attached to an activity or reading assignment to show that it has some relationship to students own lives. Relevance has become very important in modern education, on the assumption that students want to learn mostly about ideas, events, and processes that they can connect to their personal experiences. The belief that whatever is studied must relate directly to students’ own lives ignores the fact that students need extensive background knowledge on which to build new understandings. If students learn only what is directly connected to their own lives, their universe of learning will be severely limited and dependent on their family and community resources.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Term of Art: Substitution

“substitution: A reading error made when an individual replaces the written word with a different word based on structural or semantic cues.

A structural substitution is when the reader guesses a word based on its visual structure. For example, a reader reads the word stipulate as stimulate because they look similar.

A semantic substitution occurs when a reader replaces a word that means the same thing. For example, a reader might add ‘Then they went to her house’ as ‘Then they went to her place,’ replacing house with place.

Substitution is common in the oral reading of all students and by itself should not be considered as evidence of a reading disability. Tracking reading errors through error analysis can help determine reading patterns and problems.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Term of Art: Suggestopedia

“Suggestopedia: A method of foreign-language instruction developed by Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov in the 1970s that uses the power of positive suggestion. Teachers trained in Suggestopedia’s techniques create a calm physical classroom environment that relaxes the students and lowers their affective filter, or resistance to learning. The teacher first introduces the words and grammar of the lesson, Then, during a concert session, students listen to the teacher read the lesson while Baroque music plays in the background. Other forms of art, such poetry, drama, and puppetry, are also employed to stimulate students’ perceptions. The students sing songs and play games, using what they have learned, and then interact with one another in the new language, without correction. The method is also referred to as desuggestopedia to reflect advances in its theoretical development.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Term of Art: Thinking Skills

“thinking skills: The way in which an individual acquires, interprets, organizes, stores, retrieves, and applies information, also known as cognitive skills.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Term of Art: Thematic Initiative

“thematic initiative: A program that is organized around a common idea or theme.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Term of Art: Task Analysis

“task analysis: A teaching strategy in which a learning activity is broken down into small sequential tasks. It is an effective strategy used to teach students with a learning disability because it takes a large learning activity and breaks it down into smaller, more easily accomplished tasks. Task analysis is also used as an assessment tool to see precisely at what stage a skill breakdown is occurring. For example, if a student is given an assignment to define 10 vocabulary words, a task analysis might include the following steps:

  1. understand, record, and remember the assignment
  2. read/decode the vocabulary words
  3. use a dictionary/textbook
  4. paraphrase the definition
  5. write the definition

Breaking an assignment into the five steps can make a difficult and overwhelming project become more manageable.

Similarly, task analysis can be used for instruction where larger skills are broken down into subskills and each subskill taught until mastery.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Term of Art: Text-to-Text Connection

“text-to-text connection: The act of comparing one reading passage with another.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Term of Art: Word-Attack Skills

“word attack skills: The ability to read a word using phonetic, structural, or context cues. Word attack skills using phonetic cues require a child to understand the sound-symbol relationship. Phonetic word attack skills can be assessed by asking a child to read nonsense words (such as ‘thrump’).

Word attack skills using structural cues require individuals to identify prefixes, suffixes, and roots, or to break up a word by syllables. These skills are assessed by asking a child to divide a word into syllables (such as com/pre/hend) or break a word into meaningful word parts (such as un/happy).

Good readers use contextual cues when they rely on the context of a sentence to decode a word. Poor word attack skills are one of the most common reading problems among children with a learning disability; therefore, poor word attack skills are often improved by using phonics-based word attack instruction.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.