Brief Overview

The theory of approach to teaching or instruction. According to the Oxford dictionary, "the profession, science, or theory of teaching".

Formal Definition

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Most definitions of the word tend "pedagogy" tend to designate it automatically as "teacher-centred" or Socratic approaches to teaching, as the term itself is of Greek origin and means, literally, the study of teaching, or the leading of a child. More recently, however, the term has tended to be applied a bit more loosely to the broader idea of education. The term is generally prefaced by another term which suggests a specific theoretical or philosophical approach to teaching. A handful are outlined below:

CRITICAL PEDAGOGY This term was popularized by Paolo Friere and concerns power relations in teaching and learning (1). Henry Giroux defines it as follows: "[Critical] pedagogy . . . signals how questions of audience, voice, power, and evaluation actively work to construct particular relations between teachers and students, institutions and society, and classrooms and communities. . . . Pedagogy in the critical sense illuminates the relationship among knowledge, authority, and power" (2). It concerns who has power in the teaching relationship, and to what purpose or for what benefit that power is exerted.

SILENT PEDAGOGY A term applied to those aspects of teaching that cannot necessarily be appreciated in verbal teaching. Ros Ollin suggests, as an example, the pedagogical views of how and when a teacher might intervene or react in a given classroom situation. This may provide insight beyond the established idea of education as the teacher talking and the learner listening.

BLACK PEDAGOGY Black pedagogy concerns the overcoming of oppression, and idea of reestablishing meaning and building bridges in education in order to be emancipated through "discovering their identity by throwing off the shackles of domination" (5).

ANDROGOGY Malcolm Knowles suggested this term in the early 1980s to represent the pedagogical approach to adult education. It considers the idea that adult learners must understand why they are learning what they are learning, and must be able to relate their new learning to past experience (3, 4).

(1) (2) Giroux, H. A. (1994). Disturbing pleasures: Learning popular culture. New York: Routledge. (3) Cranton, P. (1989) Planning Instruction for Adult Learners. Toronto: Wall & Emmerson INc. (4) (5) Haymes, S. (1995) Race, Culture, and the City: A Pedagogy for Black Urban Struggle. New York: SUNY Press.

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