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A Guide to Pedagogy

March 27, 2014
0 minutes

A broad definition for pedagogy might be the actual method or philosophy by which a student is taught. Yet there are others who would say that this view is too simplistic and that the way a student should be taught depends on the perspective the student brings to the classroom.

The concept of a teacher or ‘pedagogue’ who guides and teaches young people goes at least as far back as ancient Greece, and likely before then in cultures all around the world. Pedagogical history and theories are constantly evolving, and there are many different perspectives on the best way to nurture the intellectual, emotional, and moral growth of a student.

Pedagogical theories all fall somewhere on a spectrum between teacher-centered learning (emphasis on teacher lectures and rote memorization) and student-centered learning (emphasis on group work and discussion).

Today, most teachers will use a blend of many teaching strategies based on their own experiences and the needs of their students. This guide will outline ways in which pedagogy influences teaching methods, and how the Gynzy online whiteboard can help teachers educate and connect with students like never before.

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Pedagogy in the Context of Teaching & Education

We can all recognize the stereotype of a teacher lecturing, assigning lots of quizzes and tests, and generally depersonalizing the educational process. But the role of a teacher who is fully engaged in refining their pedagogical process is broader than such a narrow definition.

Today it’s recognized that teaching is about preparing young people for life, as much as it is about teaching them to get good grades or test scores. For one, a quality education helps students relate to other people, and this process of socialization is surely one of the most important elements of education. One of the benefits of putting students in groups or pairs is that they learn to work together towards a common goal.

Contextualization, or relating academic subjects to the real world, is another important part of the pedagogical process. Relating subjects back to real-world examples helps students understand why they are learning what they’re learning. This is critical because while learning is a valuable pursuit in its own right, a primary goal of education is to give students the skills they need to be successful in their adult lives.

Another clear goal of pedagogy is to help students develop literacy. This goes beyond teaching  a student to read and write, although this is obviously important. The broader goal is to teach students how to be literate in many topics, so that they can be successful in their lives. Our wide selection of standards-aligned lesson plans help teachers develop an appropriate curriculum for any student.

Connecting School to Student Life

By relating education to the world around us, teachers can help stimulate students’ natural curiosity and help them understand why it’s important to learn in the first place. Constantly working to connect school to life can also help students understand the way different subjects affect our world.

Throughout adult life students will be faced with unexpected challenges that will require emotional intelligence and critical thinking. By constantly looking for ways to connect lessons with obstacles that we face in life, teachers can encourage students to take an active interest in the material being studied.

To do this effectively, it is helpful to start with concepts the student is already familiar with. As students grapple with new information, teachers should consider the students’ life experiences and interests to help them relate to the material.

Encouraging Collaboration

Although teacher lectures make up at least some part of most pedagogical approaches, student collaboration is essential. Group classroom activities help students learn how to work with one another. Group work also gives students a productive space in which to relate to one another and form new friendships. It also gives students an opportunity to speak freely amongst themselves and to see firsthand how others work through concepts they may personally be struggling with.

Having students work together doesn’t imply that the teacher disappears from the classroom. Rather, educators can use this time to guide student discussions and provide assistance where needed to help students continue on their assignment. This need not take the form of directly answering a student’s question, but rather helping to see a problem from a different perspective and help develop critical thinking skills.

Developing Literacy in Multiple Subjects

One of the most universal qualities of pedagogy or teaching is the growth that students show over the course of a year. As basic competencies are developed in core subjects such as ELA, Math, Science, and Social-Emotional Learning, students can develop their own interests as they learn about the world around them.

Teaching students to be literate in reading and writing allows them to pursue their interests in other fields. Different fields come with different historical reference points, writing styles, and academic backgrounds.

Literacy is about more than learning to analyze a text or write a paper or email, but about giving students the tools they need to absorb new information and relate it to prior knowledge. By building a solid foundation of knowledge with standards-aligned lesson plans in a variety of subjects, students will grow in their literacy and critical thinking.

Applying Pedagogy in the Classroom

There have been many theories on what the best pedagogical approach to take with students is. Teachers all throughout history and all over the world have developed their own unique strategies to best educate, relate to, and guide the students they teach.

Gynzy hopes to be a partner with educators as they develop their technique. Our online whiteboard is loaded with standards-aligned lessons which are enriched with images and videos, educational games and activities, and classroom management tools to keep your students on track.

About the author Michael Wickham
Michael Wickham
Michael is passionate about elementary education and the role of interactive whiteboards as a teaching resource in the classroom.

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