Best Practice

Art, craft, or science: What does pedagogy mean to you?

Teaching is often called a ‘craft’, but it is also an ‘art’ and the move to research-informed practice makes it a ‘science’ as well. So what exactly is effective pedagogy in the modern classroom? Andrew Jones explores this engaging question
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Discussion on what pedagogy is goes back a long way. In ancient Greece, Plato suggested pedagogues were “ who by age and experience are qualified to serve as both leaders (hëgemonas) and custodians (paidagögous)” of young learners (Longenecker, 1982).

In On Pedagogy, published in 1803, the philosopher Immanuel Kant stated that pedagogy “...includes the nurture of the child and, as it grows, its culture” (1900). And, in a similar vein, the American philosopher John Dewey argued that “the question of the relation of subject-matter to experience is the central problem of pedagogy” (1938).

Within this milieu of definitions and views, perhaps pedagogy – or teaching and learning – is best seen as a tradition of specialist practice built upon theoretical knowledge, autonomy, and collective responsibility (Danaher et al, 2000).

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