Appendix E: Glossary of Terms

Active Learning

An approach to learning where the student is actively engaged in their learning process, rather than passively receiving information. This can include both hands-on learning as well as minds-on learning, especially in online learning. Activities for active learning online may include, but are not limited to, simulations, games, writing, problem solving, reflection, discussion, debate, and more.

Assessment for Learning

Collecting moment-by-moment and day-by-day data aligned with learning goals with the goal of improving learning and informing instruction.

Assessment as Learning

Engaging students in self-assessment of the learning goals often using success criteria.

Assessment of Learning

Analyzing information about learning to make judgments about student performance and achievement at the end of a period of instruction.

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning occurs without direct, simultaneous interaction of participants such as videos featuring direct instruction of new content students watch on their own time.1 Asynchronous learning can happen within a structured schedule (e.g., weekly deadlines within a course). Asynchronous learning might include collaborating with others, completing formative assessments, consuming content (e.g., watching videos), participating in discussion boards, or project-based learning.

Blended Learning

Combination of in-person and distance instruction2 and integrates both activities to create a comprehensive learning experience (Horn & Staker, 2014).

Culturally and Linguistically Responsiveness Teaching

An approach that leverages the strengths that students of color bring to the classroom to make learning more relevant and effective. A major goal of Culturally and Linguistically Responsiveness Teaching is to reverse patterns of underachievement for students of color. Culturally Responsive Teaching requires teachers to recognize the cultural capital and tools that students of color bring to the classroom and to utilize their students’ cultural learning tools throughout instruction.3

Digital Citizenship

Signifies the attributes needed to engage with technology for the betterment of society as a whole. Includes responsible legal and ethical use of technology, online etiquette or netiquette, appropriate behavior for self and with others, digital identity, and more.

Digital Literacy

Includes the ability to find, evaluate, use, share, analyze, create, and communicate using digital technologies in a safe and secure way. More broadly, it can also stand for the ability to use digital technologies to learn and work in society.

Distance/Online Learning

Instruction in which the pupil and instructor are in different locations and pupils are under the general supervision of a certificated employee of the local educational agency. Distance learning may include but is not limited to all of the following:

  • Interaction, instruction, and check-in between teachers and pupils through the use of a computer or communications technology
  • Video or audio instruction in which the primary mode of communication between the pupil and certificated employee is online interaction, instructional television, video, telecourses, or other instruction that relies on computer or communications technology
  • The use of print materials incorporating assignments that are the subject or written or oral feedback (EC 43500(a)4

Distance learning can take on many forms, but in this context, distance/online learning programs are facilitated formal learning experiences that are institutional-based (not self-study programs) that include interactive communication (online or otherwise) where students and teachers are physically separated from each other (Rice, 2006).

Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning is used to describe situations in which students learn part-time with a teacher in a physical school classroom and part-time online.

Information Literacy

The access of information efficiently and effectively by reading and understanding essential content of a range of informational texts and documents in all academic areas. See California’s Model Library Standards for more information.5

Learner Agency

Students’ autonomy of their learning experience. This involves providing students with voice and choice based on their passions and interests, which allows them to take ownership and have more buy-in, investment, motivation, and engagement in what they are learning. In an online environment, teachers can support students in learning ways to advocate for themselves by using communication tools.

Learning Management System

A software platform that manages delivery of instructional content, tracks assignments, and reports progress.

Relationship Skills

One of the CASEL 5, relationship skills, is the ability to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed. Some additional components that fall under relationship skills include the following:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Developing positive relationships
  • Demonstrating cultural competency
  • Practicing teamwork and collaborative problem-solving
  • Resolving conflicts constructively
  • Resisting negative social pressure
  • Showing leadership in groups
  • Seeking or offering support and help when needed
  • Standing up for the rights of others

Responsible Decision-Making

One of the CASEL 5, responsible decision-making, is the ability to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being. Some additional components that fall under responsible decision-making include the following:

  • Demonstrating curiosity and open-mindedness
  • Learning how to make a reasoned judgment after analyzing information, data, and facts
  • Identifying solutions for personal and social problems
  • Anticipating and evaluating the consequences of one’s actions
  • Recognizing how critical thinking skills are useful both inside and outside of school
  • Reflecting on one’s role to promote personal, family, and community well-being
  • Evaluating personal, interpersonal, community, and institutional impacts

Restorative Practices

Includes alternative, non-punitive strategies for behavior management that emphasize inclusiveness, problem-solving, and relationship building. These may include mindfulness strategies, meditation, yoga, and reflection, as well as student and educator spaces, such as zen zones, calm corners, or wellness rooms. Restorative practices can help students whose trauma responses caused by adverse experiences may cause them to behave in ways that can be seen as out of the usual.


One of the CASEL 5, self-awareness means the ability to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose. Some additional components that fall under self-awareness include the following:

  • Integrating personal and social identities
  • Identifying personal, cultural, and linguistic assets
  • Identifying one’s emotions
  • Demonstrating honesty and integrity
  • Linking feelings, values, and thoughts
  • Examining prejudices and biases
  • Experiencing self-efficacy
  • Having a growth mindset
  • Developing interests and a sense of purpose


One of the CASEL 5, social awareness, is the ability to understand the perspectives of and the ability to empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports. Some additional components that fall under social awareness include the following:

  • Identifying and using stress management strategies
  • Exhibiting self-discipline and self-motivation
  • Setting personal and collective goals
  • Using planning and organizational skills
  • Showing the courage to take initiative
  • Demonstrating personal and collective agency

Social Awareness

One of the CASEL 5 is social awareness, which is the ability to understand the perspectives of and the ability to empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports. Some additional components that fall under social awareness include:

  • Taking others’ perspectives
  • Recognizing strengths in others
  • Demonstrating empathy and compassion
  • Showing concern for the feelings of others
  • Understanding and expressing gratitude
  • Identifying diverse social norms, including unjust ones
  • Recognizing situational demands and opportunities
  • Understanding the influences of organizations and systems on behavior

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Student Engagement

A students’ commitment, effort, and investment in learning. Includes subcategories of behavior, cognition, and emotion (Henrie, Halverson, & Graham, 2015).

Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning takes place in real-time, with delivery of instruction and/or interaction with participants such as a live whole-class, small group, or individual meeting via an online platform or in-person when possible.6 It involves students and teachers interacting with content and each other at the same time during live sessions. Synchronous learning might include text-based chat, live discussions, or video conferencing sessions (e.g., Google Meet, Zoom).

Transformative SEL

Transformative SEL is a process whereby young people and adults build strong, respectful, and lasting relationships that facilitate co-learning to critically examine root causes of inequity and develop collaborative solutions that lead to personal, community, and societal well-being. This form of social and emotional learning (SEL) is aimed at promoting social justice through increased engagement in school and civic life. It emphasizes the development of identity, agency, belonging, curiosity, and collaborative problem solving within the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework.

Trauma-informed Practices

Trauma-informed practices in education include having an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact that trauma can have on the learning process. These practices emphasize physical, psychological, and emotional safety, including cultivating a learning environment that builds trust, empowerment, choice, and voice, and acknowledges and combats cultural, historical, and gender issues. Also included is a sense of support and belonging from peers (Hopper et al., 2010). Understanding trauma starts with acknowledging events, experiences, and their effects on body, mind, and psyche. Also important is a knowledge of the four R’s of trauma:

  • Realize the impact of trauma and what can be done to help those impacted;
  • Recognize signs and symptoms that result from trauma;
  • Respond by bringing together policy, procedures, and practices that are aligned with trauma-informed approaches; and 
  • Resist Re-traumatization by knowing students and potential triggers.


A mental, physical, or emotional state of health and contentment.