Pedagogy – what is this thing?

December 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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Ever since I started my teacher training back in 2000, I’ve wondered what this pedagogy word really was. Everyone I was studying with appeared to have a good understanding of this word, but I didn’t. I was too shy to say so, and just kept on as if nothing was wrong.

Over the past 2 years I’ve been studying towards my PGDipEd while teaching. And this word that get’s bandied around by teachers, academics and the like, kept coming up. It wasn’t until I had to write something about pedagogy in an assignment that I actually stopped and asked my online class and lecturer what this word actually means. I had Googled it (like any studious person) and had come up with a range of definitions! After reading quite a few I decided on a definition:

Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching

I had a few responses from my online class, but was still a bit unsure. Actually I still am unsure!

Last week I attended an eLearning Futures conference and this word pedagogy was thrown around some more. Interestingly, most people attending this conference were from tertiary institutions. The reason I say this is interesting is that my Dad (also a teacher) pointed out to me that the ‘ped’ actually relates to a child! Pedagogy is about teaching children.

The Online Etymology Dictionary states that a Pedagogue is a teacher of children. Pedagogy relates to teaching children. So many people seem to mention pedagogy when they are referring to teaching adults!

I still don’t have a good definition of this word. I’m going to stick with mine for now and add a little bit:

Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching children.

I would really like to know how many people use this term without really understanding what it means. I have asked others what they think it means and I’ve struggled to get a good, straight, clear answer. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you to help expand my understanding of this well used educational term!

Angry Birds & Education – it doesn’t have to be about Math!

October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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This is going to be short and sweet. Angry Birds is often discussed in terms of mathematics and projectile motion, however in this blog post Dan Meyer takes a different view. This post is well worth a read if you want some good, quick and simple tips about teaching and instructional design.

Check it out: Five Lessons On Teaching From Angry Birds That Have Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Parabolas

Creativity is important in teaching…

September 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Education | 6 Comments
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This is not a new idea by a long shot! Creativity helps teachers stay fresh. Creativity helps motivate students and keep them on their toes – they won’t know what’s coming next. Creativity could be the difference between a student engaging in a lesson or becoming (staying?) disengaged through boredom.

The problem is… I’m not creative.

A colleague said to me the other day that I’m good at starting with someone else’s work and editing it – making it better… but if I start with a blank page, I don’t know what to do.

She was right. I couldn’t write about a topic like the original author had, but I could work with something that had already been started.

Does being creative make a great teacher? – I would say that it definitely could (if the creativity is focused in on teaching and learning).

Does not being creative make a poor teacher? – I would argue that, no, it doesn’t have to.

There are many creative teachers in the world. Many! Teaching is about sharing knowledge, skills, understandings, character and more. Many of these creative teachers also share their ideas, resources and skills with other teachers. And so they should! We all know that we shouldn’t ‘reinvent the wheel’.

One thing that makes a good teacher (there are many!), is that they don’t give up. If they try something and it doesn’t work, they might try it again after tweaking it, or they will try something else. They find what works for them and their students.

My advice (for what it’s worth), is that if you’re like me, and don’t feel particularly creative in your teaching, then do more of what you’re doing now! Find education/teaching blogs and read them. Learn from them. Be like a sponge and soak up everything they’ve got to offer. Jump onto twitter and follow some of the 1000s of teachers that are sharing and reflecting on what they’ve tried with their students. Get along to education conferences and soak it all up as well as getting to know others who just want to learn so that they can be a better teacher too!

Now, for those of us who don’t feel creative – we’ve got other things to offer! Figure out what they are (if you don’t already know) and give back!

What do parents want their children to know when they leave school?

March 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Education | 5 Comments
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My wife and I have 5 children and I asked her this question late last night. Do you know what she didn’t say? She didn’t say, “I want them to know lots of stuff”.

Why am I telling you what she didn’t say? Because the ‘stuff’ is still what our curriculum seems to be full of. The ‘stuff’ is what I still feel like I need to get into my students’ heads so that they can achieve this standard or that standard. At the end of the day, in order for our students/children to succeed by gaining a qualification, they need to know ‘stuff’. Yes, I realise they need to be able to apply it in different situations, but ultimately, we as teachers have all these things we need to teach our students before they finish the year or sit the final assessment/examination.

So what did she say that she wants our children to know when they leave school? Here is some of what she (and I – since we happen to fortunately be in agreement on this!) said:

  • we want our children to be confident and competent in basic literacy and numeracy
  • we want our children to be able to think for themselves
  • we want them to be able to work successfully both independently and collaboratively
  • we want them to be able to communicate confidently, clearly and effectively (this could be orally, or by pen or technology – text message, IM, facebook or similar etc)
  • we want our children to know how to learn
  • we want our children to be critical thinkers and to be able to ask effective questions
  • we want them to know how to search for answers to their questions

There was probably more and if I’ve missed anything crucial my wife will add to this list I’m sure.

I guess, if I was going to put it in one sentence:

When our children leave school we want them to be prepared for their future, having the skills to survive and succeed, and knowing how to think and learn in order to overcome challenges that may come their way.
What do you think? If you have any views or opinions on this, it would be great to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.

MeeGenius! – Read kids books online

June 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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MeeGenius! is a site that has a range of kids books online. You can read them online of have them read to you. You can personalize them and share them with others.

This could be a great resource for teaching reading – especially at a distance.

Some of the titles include:

The Princess and the Pea
The Tale of Tom Kitten
The Three Little Pigs
The Ugly Duckling

If you’re a teacher of reading – check it out.

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