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Pedagogy or paedagogy (pronounced /ˈpidəɡɒdʒi/) is the art or science of being a teacher. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction.[1]

Pedagogy is also sometimes referred to as the correct use of teaching strategies. For example, Paulo Freire referred to his method of teaching adults as "critical pedagogy". In correlation with those teaching strategies the instructor's own philosophical beliefs of teaching are harbored and governed by the pupil's background knowledge and experiences, personal situations, and environment, as well as learning goals set by the student and teacher. One example would be the Socratic schools of thought.[2]


The word comes from the Greek παιδαγωγέω (paidagōgeō; from παίδ paíd: child and άγω ágō: lead; literally, "to lead the child"). In Ancient Greece, παιδαγωγός was (usually) a slave who supervised the education of his master’s son (girls were not publicly educated). This involved taking him to school (διδασκαλείον) or a gym (γυμνάσιον), looking after him and carrying his equipment (e.g. musical instruments).[3]

For lessons on the topic of Pedagogy, follow this link.

The Latin-derived word for pedagogy, means good learning styles. Education,[4] is nowadays used in the English-speaking world to refer to the whole context of instruction, learning, and the actual operations involved therein, although both words have roughly the same original meaning. In the English-speaking world the term pedagogy refers to the science or theory of educating.[5] The late Malcolm Knowles reasoned that the term andragogy is more pertinent when discussing adult learning and teaching. He referred to andragogy as the art and science of teaching adults.

Academic degree

An academic degree, Ped. D., Doctor of Pedagogy, is awarded honorarily by some American universities to distinguished educators (in the US and UK earned degrees within the education field are classified as an Ed. D., Doctor of Education or a Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy). The term is also used to denote an emphasis in education as a specialty in a field (for instance, a Doctor of Music degree in piano pedagogy).


A number of people contributed to the theories of pedagogy, among these are

  • James Moffet
  • Maria Montessori
  • Rudolf Steiner

Criticism of the concept of pedagogy

Some critics of today's schools, of the concept of learning disabilities, of special education, and of response to intervention, take the position that every child has a different learning style and pace and that each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding.

Sudbury Model democratic schools assert that there are many ways to study and learn. They argue that learning is a process people do, not a process that is done to people; they affirm this is true of everyone and is a fundamental principle.[6] The experience of Sudbury model democratic schools, they adduce, shows there are many ways to learn without the intervention of a teacher being imperative. They maintain that in the case of reading, for instance in the Sudbury model democratic schools, some children learn from being read to, memorizing the stories and then ultimately reading them. Others learn from cereal boxes, others from game instructions, others from street signs. Some teach themselves letter sounds, others syllables, others whole words. Sudbury model democratic schools adduce that in their schools, no one child has ever been forced, pushed, urged, cajoled, or bribed into learning how to read or write, and they affirm they have had no dyslexia. They also assert that none of their graduates are real or functional illiterates, and claim that no one who meets their older students could ever guess the age at which they first learned to read or write.[7] They also claim that in a similar form students learn all the subjects, techniques and skills in these schools. The staff are minor actors, the "teacher" is an adviser and helps just when asked.[8][9]

Describing current instructional methods as homogenization and lockstep standardization, alternative approaches are proposed, such as the Sudbury Model of Democratic Education schools, an alternative approach in which they affirm children, by enjoying personal freedom thus encouraged to exercise personal responsibility for their actions, learn at their own pace and style rather than following a compulsory and chronologically-based curriculum.[10][11][12] Proponents of unschooling have also claimed that children raised in this method learn at their own pace and style, and do not suffer from learning disabilities.


  1. from the National Science Foundation
  2. Analysis of Pedagogy
  3. Etymology Site on-line (pedagogue)
  4. Greenberg, D. (1987) The Sudbury Valley School Experience Back to Basics. Accessed November 26, 2008.
  5. Greenberg, D. (1987) Free at Last, The Sudbury Valley School, Chapter 5, The Other 'R's.
  6. Greenberg, D. (1987), Free at Last, The Sudbury Valley School, Chapter 19, Learning.
  7. Greenberg, H. (1987) The Sudbury Valley School Experience, The Art of Doing Nothing. Accessed November 26, 2008.
  8. Greenberg, D. (1992), Education in America, A View from Sudbury Valley, "Special Education" -- A noble Cause Sacrificed to Standardization.
  9. Greenberg, D. (1992), Education in America, A View from Sudbury Valley, "Special Education" -- A Noble Cause Run Amok.
  10. Greenberg, D. (1987), Free at Last, The Sudbury Valley School, Chapter 1, And 'Rithmetic.

External links