27 education buzz words you need to know in 2022

Education buzzwords are constantly changing so it is time for an update of my 2019 25 Buzz words you need to know post. The buzz words below are in addition to the 2019 buzz words so make sure you check out that post as well.

If you are a student of education, getting ready for interviews, or a veteran teacher pursing National Board Certification, you should be ready to use and define any of these terms.

Asynchronous learning

Given the COVID-19 pandemic and global shutdown of schools asynchronous learning has become a buzz word (or phrase I suppose). Asynchronous learning is when teachers provide instruction students can work through at their own pace on their own time. Instruction is not provided in real time. IE: The teacher and the student are not present at the same place at the same time. Not even over Zoom/Google Meet/etc.

An example of asynchronous learning would be recording a Loom video (like this) that students can watch anytime anywhere. At the end of the video, the teacher asks the students to do a reflection on what they just learned, or practice a skill, or do some related research. The student does that anytime, anywhere.

This does not mean that assignments cannot have due dates. It just means that the student can access the lesson and do the assignments anytime, anywhere before that date. Most asynchronous learning is provided online.

Asynchronous learning provides flexibility. A student can be anywhere in the world and access the learning. It also helps students work around job schedules and responsibilities at home. That flexibility was essential at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. Some courses are remaining completely asynchronous, particularly at the college level.

Data Driven Teaching

The idea behind data driven teaching is that we are constantly assessing our students (formally & informally, formatively & summatively) and using that data to inform instruction. We plan based on what we are confident our students know and are able to do, which is based on the data we have collected.

Data may come from test scores, rubrics, informal discussion, just about any thing that helps you understand what students know and are able to do.

Equality vs Equity

Let’s be very clear. Equal ≠ Equitable. Equal means everyone gets the same. Equitable means that each person gets what they need to reach a certain goal and each person’s needs may differ significantly. Angus Maguire, with the Interaction Institute for Social Change, recreated the well used visual example of equity vs. equality seen below.

#equality but I still don’t know” (CC BY 2.0) by  leighblackall 

As you can see, the “equal” boxes do not help each person achieve the goal of seeing the game. On the equity side, each person gets the support they need to reach the goal. So what does this look like in a classroom? Some students may need more support than others (more scaffolding, organizers, one-on-one or small group support).  What each student needs to be successful will be different and in order to be equitable we need to provide the correct supports to help each student succeed.               


At it’s most basic, to empower students means to give them the environment, guidance, and tools to direct their own learning or at least make more choices in their learning. Project based learning and student driven inquiry empower students. If you are interested in this topic, I highly recommend you read Empower: what happens when students own their own learning by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani.

Growth Mindset

Growth mindset and grit go hand in hand. Growth mindset is essentially the belief that our skills aren’t fixed. We can always learn and grow. Just because we aren’t good at math right now doesn’t mean we can’t work hard and become good at math. It’s worth checking out Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck on YouTube.


To have grit, you must be able to figure out what your true goals are and then voraciously pursue those goals through failure, setbacks, and hardship. If you are interested in learning more about grit I highly encourage you to read Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Higher Order Thinking

Higher order thinking goes beyond observation, memorization, and regurgitation. Bloom’s taxonomy is a good representation of the levels of cognition. The higher up on the triangle, the higher the level of thinking.

“Bloom’s Taxonomy” by Vandy CFT 


Individualized Education Program. What this means for you is that a student has been legally determined to have special needs. That might mean that the student needs to sit in the front of the class.  It might mean that the student gets extra time on tests.  It might mean that the student works with a Special Education Teacher for part of the day. You are legally obligated to comply with what the IEP says. You should get a copies of the IEPs for your students at the beginning of the school year. You may even have to sign off that you’ve received them. 


Generally, the term inclusion is used when students who receive special education services are in the same classes as students who do not receive special education services. In a class with a large number of special education students an “inclusion teacher” or a special education instructor may also be present in the classroom for support.


In education, we use the word innovative in relation to a teacher who is willing to take calculated risks in their lessons; trying new things in the hope that students will achieve deeper learning or greater engagement and empowerment. Innovation is inherently connected to continuous improvement and exploration of new practices.


Rather than the teacher disseminating the information while students passively absorb it, the inquiry method of teaching is a student centered approach to learning in which the teacher poses (or the students themselves pose) a question related to the content and then students explore it through various means.


To iterate means to say or do something over and over, but the way iterate is generally used in education refers to the act of trying something multiple times, reflecting critically on that experience, and improving instruction based on that reflection.

Learning Management System (LMS)

A learning management system is a software application that makes your life easier by providing a webspace for you to deliver content. Generally a school system purchases a learning management system that all schools in that district will use.

For example, my school system currently uses Schoology as a learning management system. Our accounts are automatically uploaded with all of our classes and all of our students. We can post materials, messages, assignments on the platform. We can score assignments on rubrics in the platform.

Other common learning management systems are Canvas and Blackboard.

Mastery based grading

Mastery based grading connects with grit and growth mindset. A mastery based grading system assumes that not every student will excel at every skill right away and that it will take time and work to master those skills. In a class based on a mastery based grading system, grades are connected to skills and achievement of objectives rather than particular assignments. Mastery based grading can remove “behavior grades” like participation and turning assignments in on time because grades are based entirely on the achievement of objectives. This allows learners to focus on the process. A low score at the beginning of a term may morph into a high score after hard work by the end of the term when the student has attained the skills necessary for a particular objective.


Paying attention to the given moment. More and more teachers and schools are teaching students mindfulness techniques that can help them deal with stress, as well as improve their performance in school. The Positive Psychology Program has a great article on 31+ Ways of Teaching Mindfulness in Schools. It might be worth a read before your interview. You can also check out my posts on bringing mindfulness into your classroom:

Mindfulness in schools (an opinion)

Students AND teachers need mindful moments

How to bring mindful moments into your classroom part 1: meditation

How to bring mindful moments into your classroom part 2: reading

How to bring mindful moments into your classroom part 3: writing

Mindful moments in your classroom part 4: drawing/coloring

Mindful moments in your classroom part 5: yoga

Objective/Learning Target

The goal for our students/what we want them to learn.  In most states, objectives are based on standards that were originally required by NCLB.  We’re talking Common Core in most states. With ESSA now in place, standards could be changing on a state-by-state basis, but you need an objective every day for every class. Students should be aware of the objective for the day and it should be visible somewhere in the room. I put it on the board. I used to just have it in my PowerPoints, but there is a big push for a “clear and measurable objective” to be visible in the classroom at all times.

Performance based assessment (PBA)

This is a really hot one right now.  Huge bonus points if you use it correctly in your interview. Performance based assessment is sort of a euphemism for a test, but it’s a special kind of test. It is a test that asks students to apply what they know often using a task that reflects a real world skill.  For example, if students just learned about ethos, pathos, and logos they may demonstrate that knowledge by hypothetically becoming a real estate agent, finding a house online, and “selling” it to the class using ethos, pathos, and logos rather than taking a multiple choice or short answer test where they identify ethos, pathos, and logos.

Personalized learning

It is impossible to customize every lesson to each individual student, but as good teachers we attempt to personalize learning as much as possible. By this I mean we try to meet each student’s unique learning needs and plan lessons that target our student’s specific interests.


A PLC is a professional learning community. In a high school, a PLC may consist of all of the English 9 teachers or all of the Chemistry teachers for example. A PLC meets regularly to plan together, share ideas, and support each other. A PLC may share data and plan in response to that data.

Project Based Learning (PBL)

Similar to project based assessments, but with the focus more on the learning process and less on the final assessment. Students explore the subject by using the inquiry process to attempt to answer an essential question or come up with a solution to a real-world problem.


Basically, is the work hard enough or are we just giving students busy work? Rigor means that we’re setting high standards and expecting all students to achieve those standards. Rigor means that we’re really making them think.  This goes hand-in-hand with higher order thinking.

Self Paced

A self-paced lesson allows students to learn on their own schedule.- There is usually a serious of objectives students need to meet and each student can work towards each objective at their own pace, moving on when they are ready. Many asynchronous lessons are self-paced.

Social and emotional learning (SEL)

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a process of developing self-awareness on a multitude of levels. This includes, but is not limited to understanding and coping with emotions, interpersonal skills, and self-control. When we embed SEL in our lessons that means that are lessons are helping students learn social and emotional skills. In order to do this in a classroom, students must feel safe physically and emotionally which requires an excellent classroom environment.

Student choice/voice

These two are pretty much self-explanatory, but I wanted to include them to remind you how “buzzy” they are right now. Student choice and voice are all about giving students options in the classroom and allowing them to play a part in determining what those options are.  This may take the form of students choosing (or having some say in) what topics they want to explore, how they want to show their understanding, and how they will be assessed.

Student centered learning/learner centered education

An inquiry based project is an example of student centered learning. A lesson is student centered if the focus is more on the student finding the answers to relevant content related questions, rather than the teacher telling them those answers. In addition to that, a student centered lesson goes the additional step of giving students some choice in what it is they want to explore and how they will show what they have learned through that exploration. This often also involves student setting, assessing, and reflecting on their own learning targets or goals. A student centered classroom requires students to be active participants in their own learning and giving them choice.

This connects to inquiry based learning and problem based assessment. Empower: what happens when students own their own learning can help you better get handle on how to make your classroom more student centered.

Synchronous learning

Synchronous learning is the opposite of asynchronous learning. During synchronous learning students are present in class with the teacher at a given time together. That does not mean they need to physically be in the classroom. A synchronous class can occur over zoom or other interface as long as the teacher and students are present together at the same time.


When someone uses the term 504, they are referring to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act ensures that students with physical disabilities have the same opportunities as other students.

A 504 is a legal document similar to an IEP, except 504’s are usually given to students who have physical, rather than intellectual disabilities. A student in a wheel chair may have a 504 that requires the school to provide them with a wheel chair accessible desk. Students who are very heavy may have a 504 stating that they need a desk with a non-attached chair. In recent years, I’ve seen more 504’s providing accommodations for students with anxiety and depression. A student with anxiety may have a 504 accommodation that requires the teacher to allow them to step outside into the hallway (or go to the nurse) when they are experiencing high levels of anxiety.

If you found this post helpful, check out some of my other posts:

Keeping track of parent contact

25 Buzz words you need to know

Recommended reading for future/new teachers

Or Start Here to check out my posts curated by theme.

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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