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definitions for the CEPD 4101 midterm

Brofenbrenner's Theory

Views the child as developing within a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment (family - neighborhood/community - state/province/country)


an organized group of similar actions or thoughts that are used repeatedly in response to the environment


process of dealing with a new event in a way that is consistent with an existing scheme


movement from equilibrium to disequilibrium and back to equilibrium, a process that promotes development of more complex thought and understandings

Preoperational stage

Piaget's second stage of cognitive development in which children can think about objects and events beyond their immediate view but do not yet reason in logical, adultlike ways

Preoperational egocentrism

inability of children in Piaget's preoperational stage to view situations from another person's perspective


realization that if nothing is added or taken away, amount stays the same regardless of alterations in shape or arrangement

Concrete operations stage

Piaget's third stage of cognitive development in which adultlike logic appears but is limited to concrete reality

Formal operations stage

Piaget's fourth and final stage of cognitive development in which logical reasoning processes are applied to abstract ideas as well as to concrete objects


process of talking to oneself as a way of guiding oneself through a task

Zone of proximal development

range of tasks that a learner can perform with the help and guidance of others but cannot yet perform independently


support mechanism that helps a learner successfully perform a task within his or her zone of proximal development


set of rules that one uses, often unconsciously, to put words together into sentences


knowledge about culture-specific social conventions guiding verbal interactions


smallest unit of sounds to make up words, there are 44 in the English language


characteristic ways in which an individual behaves in a wide range of circumstances


genetic predisposition to respond in particular ways to one's physical and social environment


strong, affectionate bond formed between a child and a caregiver


process of molding a child's behavior and beliefs to be appropriate for his or her own culture group


belief that one is capable of executing certain behaviors or reaching certain goals

Erikson's Theory

proposed that most people achieve an overall sense of identity by the end of adolescence

Social cognition

process of thinking about how other people are likely to think, act, and react

Aggressive behavior

action intentionally taken to hurt another either physically or psychologically

Kohlberg's morality

six stages of moral reasoning grouped into three levels of morality - preconventional morality, conventional morality, and postconventional morality


behaviors and belief system of a long-standing social group

Ethnic group

people who have common historical roots, values, beliefs, and behaviors and who share a sense of interdependence


form of a language that has certain unique pronunciations and grammatical structures and is characteristic of a particular region or ethnic group

Personal space

personally or culturally preferred distance between two people during social interaction

Wait time

length of time a teacher pauses, after either asking a question or hearing a student's comment, before saying something


rigid, simplistic, and erroneous caricature of a particular group of people

Gender schemas

self-constructed, organized body of beliefs, about the traits and behaviors of males or females

Socioeconomic status

one's general social and economic standing in society; encompasses family income, occupation and education level

Students at risk

student with a high probability of failing to acquire minimal academic skills necessary for success in the adult world


ability to apply prior knowledge and experiences flexibly to accomplish challenging new tasks

IQ score

score on an intelligence test, determined by comparing a student's performance on the test with that of others in the same age group, for most tests it is a standard score with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15

Students with special needs

students different enough from their peers that they require specially adapted instructional materials and practices

Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA)

US legislation granting educational right from birth until age 21 for people with cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities

Least restrictive environment

most typical and standard educational environment that can reasonably meet the needs of a student with a disability

Individual education program (IEP)

written description of an appropriate instructional program for a student with special needs

Learning disabilities

deficiencies in one or more specific cognitive processes but not in overall cognitive functioning

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

disorder marked by inattention, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, or some combination of these characteristics

Speech and communication disorders

impairments in spoken language or language comprehension that significantly interfere with classroom performance

Emotional and behavioral disorders

emotional states and behaviors that consistently and significantly disrupt academic learning and performance

Autism spectrum disorders

disorders marked by impaired social cognition, social skills, and social interaction, as well as by repetitive behaviors; extreme forms often associated with significant cognitive and linguistic delays and highly unusual behaviors

Intellectual disability

student with general delays in cognitive and social functioning

Physical and health impairments

general physical or medical conditions that interfere so significantly with school performance that special accommodations are required

Cognitive process

particular way of mentally responding to or thinking about information or an event

Information processing theory

theoretical perspective that focuses on the specific ways in which learners mentally think about, or process, new information and events


theoretical perspective proposing that learners construct, rather than absorb, a body of knowledge from their experiences


ability to save something mentally that has been previously learned; also the mental "location" where such information is saved

Sensory register

component of memory that holds incoming information in an unanalyzed form for a very brief period of time (2-3 seconds at the most, depending on the modality)


focusing of mental processing on particular stimuli

Working memory

component of memory that holds and actively thinks about and processes a limited amount of information

Rehearsal maintenance

cognitive process in which information is repeated over and over fairly quickly as a possible way of learning and remembering it

Long-term memory

component of memory that holds knowledge and skills for a relatively long time

Declarative knowledge

knowledge related to "what is" that is, to the nature of how things are, where, or will be

Procedural knowledge

knowledge concerning how to do something

Rote learning

learning information in a relatively uninterpreted form, without making sense of it or attaching much meaning to it


cognitive process in which learners expand on new information based on what they already know

Concept maps

diagram of concepts and their interrelationships; used to enhance the learning and memory of a topic

Prior knowledge activation

process of reminding learners of things they already know relative to a new topic


memory aid trick designed to help students learn and remember a specific piece of information

Situated learning and cognition

knowledge, behaviors, and thinking skills acquired and used primarily within certain contexts, with limited or no transfer to other contexts


ability to respond quickly and efficiently while mentally processing or physically performing a task

Retrieval cue

hint about where to look for a piece of information in long-term memory

Distributed cognition

process whereby learners think about an issue or problem together, sharing ideas and working collaboratively to draw conclusions or develop solutions


overly broad view of the objects or events that a concept includes


overly narrow view of the objects or events that a concept includes

Conceptual understanding

meaningfully learned and well-integrated knowledge about topic, including many logical connections among specific concepts and ideas

Authentic activities

classroom activity similar to one that students are apt to encounter in the outside world

Confirmation bias

tendency to seek information that confirms rather than discredits current beliefs

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