What is


Pedagogy, pronounced “peh-duh-gow-jee,” is a term that refers to the method of how teachers teach, in theory and in practice. Pedagogy is formed by an educator’s teaching beliefs and concerns the interplay between culture and different ways to learn. In order to help students build on prior learning, meaningful classroom relationships must exist. There are several small pedagogical adjustments that educators can make to improve student engagement and persistence.

What is the history of pedagogy? Pedagogy describes the art and science of teaching students. The term comes from the Greek word ‘paidagogos,’ a combination of ‘paidos’ (child) and ‘agogos’ (leader). The advent of writing circa 3000 B.C. led to a form of education that was more self-reflective and concerned with skills and knowledge building. It was also around this time that Plato supported an instructional system that made use of the Socratic method that uses questions to help students derive meaning. Henry Giroux, scholar, cultural critic and one of the pioneers of public pedagogy and cultural studies, writes that, “pedagogy is not about training, it is about critically educating people to be self-reflective, capable of critically addressing their relationship with others and with the larger world.”

What are the different types of pedagogy? There are several pedagogical approaches to engage students and meet their needs. The five most common ones are as follows.

Social pedagogy: Education is seen as crucial to supporting social development as well as a student’s wellbeing and psychological safety. An example of social pedagogy involves asking students to examine common social issues such as food insecurity and its disproportionate toll on certain demographic groups.

Constructivist pedagogy: Students form their own knowledge through direct experiences versus passively ingesting material. An example of constructivist pedagogy would be asking students to complete a simulation dissecting a mouse—versus asking students to read about this procedure in their textbook.

Critical pedagogy: Students engage with course material through a social justice lens, critically deconstructing normative perspectives and examining power structures. An example of critical pedagogy would be analyzing song lyrics that speak to societal themes such as wealth and corporate success.

Culturally responsive pedagogy: Educators celebrate and acknowledge the diverse cultural backgrounds of their students through relevant class activities. An example of culturally responsive pedagogy would be including scholars of all ethnicities on an assigned reading list.

The Socratic Method: Students are taught through continuous questioning and discussion. The Socratic Method prioritizes collaboration and self-discovery as a means of learning and building social skills. An example of this pedagogy would involve getting finance students comfortable with the basics of compound interest to prepare them for their lives beyond academia.

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