Definitions

education)

technical education

Academic and vocational preparation of students for jobs involving applied science and modern technology. It emphasizes the understanding and practical application of basic principles of science and mathematics, rather than the attainment of proficiency in manual skills that is properly the concern of vocational education. The goal of technical education is to prepare graduates for occupations that are classified above the skilled crafts but below the scientific or engineering professions. People so employed are frequently called technicians. Seealso employee training.

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Education for students (such as the physically or mentally disabled) with special needs. An early proponent of education for the blind was Valentin Haüy, who opened a school in Paris in 1784; his efforts were followed by those of Louis Braille. Attempts to educate deaf children predate Haüy, but not until Friedrich Moritz Hill (1805–74) developed an oral method of instruction did teaching to the deaf become established. The development of standardized sign languages further advanced instruction of the deaf. Scientific attempts to educate mentally retarded children began with the efforts of Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard (1775–1838) to train a feral child known as the Wild Boy of Aveyron; Itard's work influenced such later theorists as Édouard Séguin (1812–80) and Maria Montessori. Children with motor disabilities, once considered subjects for special education, are usually integrated into the standard classroom, often by means of wheelchairs and modified desks. Children with learning disabilities and speech problems usually require specialized techniques, often on an individual basis. For children with behavioral and emotional disorders, special therapeutic and clinical services may be provided.

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Traditional second stage in formal education, typically beginning at ages 11–13 and ending usually at ages 15–18. The distinction between elementary education and secondary education has gradually become less marked, because of the proliferation of middle schools, junior high schools, and other divisions.

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Movement that took form in Europe and North America during the late 19th century as a reaction to the alleged narrowness and formalism of traditional education. A main objective was to educate the “whole child”—that is, to attend to physical and emotional as well as intellectual growth. Creative and manual arts gained importance in the curriculum, and children were encouraged toward experimentation and independent thinking. Progressive educational ideas and practices were most powerfully advanced in the U.S. by John Dewey. Seealso Summerhill School.

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or primary education

Traditionally, the first stage of formal education, beginning at age 5–7 and ending at age 11–13. Often preceded by some form of preschool, it usually includes middle school, or junior high school (ages 11–13), though this is sometimes regarded as part of secondary education. Nearly all nations are committed to some form of elementary education, though in many developing countries many children are unable to continue full-time studies past the age of 10 or 11. The elementary curriculum usually emphasizes reading and writing, arithmetic, social studies, and science. A basic teaching strategy involves moving the student from the immediate and familiar to the distant and unfamiliar, an approach first formulated by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

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Childhood education during the period from infancy to age five or six. Institutions for preschool education vary widely around the world, as do their names (e.g., infant school, day care, maternal school, nursery school, crèche, kindergarten). The first systematic theory of early childhood pedagogy was propounded by Friedrich Froebel, the founder of the kindergarten. Other influential theorists include Maria Montessori and Jean Piaget. Of major concern in preschool education is language development; teachers often conduct listening and language games. Seealso elementary education.

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Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. They also include teacher-training schools, community colleges, and institutes of technology. At the end of a prescribed course of study, a degree, diploma, or certificate is awarded. Seealso continuing education.

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Training in physical fitness and in skills requiring or promoting it. In the U.S. it is required in most primary and secondary schools. It generally includes calisthenics, gymnastics, various sports, and some study of health. College majors in physical education have been available since the early 20th century. Most teaching is done in gymnasiums, though outdoor sports are also emphasized.

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Education offered institutionally by a religious group. The curriculum usually includes both religious and general studies. In the U.S. and Canada, parochial education has referred primarily to elementary and secondary schools maintained by Roman Catholic parishes, but it can also apply to schools operated by Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist organizations, among others.

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Application of philosophical methods to the theory and practice of education. Among the topics investigated in the philosophy of education are the nature of learning, especially in children; the purpose of education, particularly the question of whether the chief goal of educators should be imparting knowledge, developing intellectual independence, or instilling moral or political values; the nature of education-related concepts, including the concept of education itself; the sources and legitimacy of educational authority; and the conduct of educational research. Major figures in the history of the philosophy of education include Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Dewey.

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or adult education

Any form of learning provided for adults. In the U.S. the University of Wisconsin was the first academic institution to offer such programs (1904). Empire College of the State University of New York was the first to be devoted exclusively to adult learning (1969). Continuing education includes such diverse methods as independent study; broadcast, videotape, online, and other forms of distance learning; group discussion and study circles; conferences, seminars, and workshops; and full- or part-time classroom study. Remedial programs, such as high-school equivalency and basic literacy programs, are common. In recent years the variety of subject matter has expanded greatly to include such topics as auto repair, retirement planning, and computer skills. Seealso Chautauqua movement.

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Voluntary association of U.S. teachers, administrators, and other educators associated with elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities. Founded in 1857 as the National Teachers Assn., it is among the world's largest professional organizations. Operating much like a labour union, it represents its members through numerous state and local affiliates. It seeks to improve the schools and working conditions, advance the cause of public education, promote federal legislation, and sponsor research.

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Short-lived utopian experiment in communal living (1841–47) in West Roxbury, Mass. (near Boston), founded by George Ripley. The best known of the many utopian communities organized in the U.S. in the mid-19th century, Brook Farm was to combine the thinker and the worker, to guarantee the greatest mental freedom, and to prepare a society of liberal, cultivated persons whose lives would be more wholesome and simpler than they could be amid the pressure of competitive institutions. It is remembered for the distinguished literary figures and intellectual leaders associated with it, including Charles A. Dana, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Horace Greeley, James Russell Lowell, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Ralph Waldo Emerson (though not all of them were actual members). It was also noted for the modern educational theory of its excellent school. Seealso Oneida Community.

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