Pedagogy 1

Thorndon School 2010

•What is pedagogy?

•Are you a pedagogue?

Definitions of pedagogy

• teaching method: the principles and methods of instruction

• teaching: the profession of a teacher; "he prepared for teaching
while still in college"; "pedagogy is recognised as an important profession"

• education: the activities of educating or instructing;
activities that impart knowledge or skill;
"he received no formal education"; "our instruction was carefully programmed";
"good classroom teaching is seldom rewarded"

Etymology of pedagogy

•The word comes from the Greek in which (país, genitive paidos)
means "child" and (ágog) means "lead";
so it literally means "to lead the child".


Yes we are all pedagogues
and we all practise pedagogy.

However, as Dr Graeme Aitken points out:

much of what we know about teaching and learning is
implicit and tacit.
In other words, as teachers we tend to operate instinctively and we are not
often asked to articulate what what we are doing and, more importantly,
why we are doing it.

(Mental link Ariki Project).
(We will come back to Graeme Aitken later.)

Community of Learners
If we are going to be a community of learners,
we need to make our understandings about pedagogy
more explicit so we can reflect critically
and enter into debate that will further improve our practice.


In order to bring some of our underlying assumptions to the fore,

and so we can get some sense of what is already accepted tacitly,

we are going to carry out a few activities.

Activity 1

1.Could you list the names of any educational thinkers who may

have influenced your thinking about teaching or our general

thinking about education. (This is not a test.)

2.Add the names of any educational theories you are familiar with

or even just vaguely aware of.

Activity 2

Returning to Aitken: What else did you get from this paper?

Discuss in groups of 3 or 4. Poster.

Report to meeting.

Individual Teaching

Much of our individual teaching is idiosyncratic
-having a stuffed monkey in your class -
something that you find works for you, but isn’t
necessarily transferable. ( It won’t necessarily
work for someone else.)
Some of the techniques you use may work with one
group of students but not with another. Some of the
approaches you use may work at one age level but not

Transferable Pedagogies
However there can be certain pedagogies
that can have more general application.
Research has shown them to be effective
in multiple contexts - as Aitken might say
they have ‘competent warrants’.
These should form a common core to our
thinking about teaching, but we need to remain

Critical Perspective
•There is no Bible, no Gita, no Koran, No Talmud for teaching.
•Just because an approach has a certain authoritative branding (be it Inquiry, Multiple Intelligences, Reciprocal Teaching),
it doesn’t mean that that it will always work and that we need to accept it on faith. We need to maintain a critical perspective.
We need to check it against our intellect and our practice. This is Teacher Inquiry.

•If we are given a piece of research and we file it in our folder, it doesn’t mean the work is done.
We have to construct our own understanding.
(What theory is being employed here?)
•If we are going to work together, we need to cross-check our understandings between ourselves
so we can co-construct a shared understanding.
(You might like to think about our discussion of National Standards in this respect.).


Egg Metaphor
This is all leading somewhere.
I would like you to consider the following
metaphor for what teaching
in this school might
look like:
a poached egg.
The Yoke

At the centre, the yoke, we have a set of shared
understanding about pedagogy. Things we commonly
agree on.

We could say that for now that space is empty, because
everything is up for consideration. However, implicitly
we already do have some shared approaches, like our
inquiry model.


The White
In this model the outer area, the egg white,

is also of crucial importance. It is what

allows us to be individuals. It is the

idiosyncratic part of our teaching. What

works for us. It gives us autonomy and

ensures we are not clones of each other:
Bex’s interest in photography,

Krista’s cooking, Alwyn’s strength in and affinity for

Maori ….(to name a few).

If we squeeze too much into the yolk, the centre, there
is less and less room for the idiosyncratic aspects of
teaching. So we have to be careful that our shared
commitments are more than a grab-bag of untested
They need to be things that we are all really committed
Also they also need to be compatible with our statutory
commitments. The NZ Curriculum will always need to
be in the centre. However we can configure it in our

own way.

Next Session
Hattie and the importance of innovation.