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Some thoughts on pedagogy

Collins English Dictionary defines pedagogy as "the study and theory of the methods and principles of teaching". Personally I think that is too teacher centric, so I am going to use pedagogy to mean the theory and practices of (effective) ways to support human learning.

Coming as I do from a sociocultural perspective I view learning as the process of identify formation. It is about becoming a member of an enduring collection of people mutually engaged in a shared endeavour – it is about participation within a community that has a shared purpose and shared ways of working.

From my sociocultural perspective knowledge is the ability to act in valued ways within such a community of practice – it is about agency and the application of information and understanding in specific contexts.

Within this perspective people are intrinsically motivated to learn. Learning is unavoidable, it is ongoing, it is personally meaningful and it is socially situated.

This feeds directly into my views about about effective ways to support human learning in schools.

It suggests that learning in schools should be:

    • sustained, not divided into 50-minute chunks
    • interdisciplinary, not divided into discrete subjects
    • collaborative, and not constrained by the age of the learner

The role of ‘the teacher’ should be to induct children into valued ways of being, orchestrating activities and connecting them to mature practices in the world.

School learning should be authentic – real work that is meaningful to the learner.

Critically, teaching should be based on trust - not coercion.

Of course, you can't sensibly think about pedagogy without considering the curriculum. How you teach should reflect what you are teaching. However, that is the focus of another post ...

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