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Teaching Resource Center

What is pedagogy?

What is Pedagogy?

Pedagogy most simply is the act of teaching, "the art, science, or profession of teaching," according to Mirriam-Webster's Dictionary.  The meaning of the word pedagogy is derived the both Ancient Greek and Latin meaning "to lead" or "leader", to "teacher or trainer of boys," and later "children" .  Pedagogy encompasses the theory and practice of teaching and is shaped by the teacher's beliefs both cultural and teaching practices and methods.  Social, political, and cultural factors influence the theory and practice of pedagogy but most simply it is the study of different teaching methods.

There are different approaches to teaching and learning approaches and are often used in conjunction with one another.  A few examples:

  • Constructivist: Constructivism is ‘an approach to learning that holds that people actively construct or make their own knowledge and that reality is determined by the experiences of the learner’ (Elliott et al., 2000, p. 256).
  • Collaborative:  This approach involves students working together on activities or learning tasks where everyone ideally participates. Students in the group may work on separate tasks contributing to a common outcome, or work together on a shared task. 
  • Inquiry-Based:  "Inquiry-based instruction is a student-centered approach where the instructor guides the students through questions posed, methods designed, and data interpreted by the students. Through inquiry, students actively discover information to support their investigations." from Inquiry Based Instruction on Edutopia
  • Liberationism "is a critical pedagogy developed by the Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire. Freire was the Director of the Department of Education, and developed an approach of teaching where he was able to teach illiterate adults to read in just 45 days. Freire focussed on removing the two barriers to learning: poverty and hunger. Freire was then imprisoned following a military coup. Once he was released, he wrote a book called ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ where Freire wrote about the dehumanisation of students in schools, and argued for cooperation and unity. A liberationist approach is one where the student voice is placed at the centre, and a democracy is put into the classroom. Value is placed on having the teacher as a learner, and the class discovering subjects together."  From "What is Pedagogy?" in Tes Magazine.

This guide serves as a launching spot to learn more about higher education pedagogy, teaching, and learning strategies.  However, you are encouraged to visit the Teaching Resource Center on the third floor of Wiggins Library to browse our collection or to contact the library for any topic or additional resources.  

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