Pedagogy broader view of pedagogy encompasses not only

Pedagogy is a contested term used in education which teachers
must have a secure understanding of; nevertheless, there remain many
ambiguities of what the term means and how it informs teaching and learning.
Pedagogy is often used as a synonym for teaching being derived from the Greek paidag?ge? which means ‘to lead the children’. However, the
two terms are not interchangeable: teaching involves ‘what to teach’ whereas pedagogy focuses on ‘how to teach’

Simon
(2005) described pedagogy as ‘the science of teaching’. This simplistic definition
argues that teaching and learning can and should be approached as a science. Each
year strategies and theories, informed by research, are published which have shown
to be effective in enhancing learning. Teachers should use this research to
inform their practice. Personally, I can clearly see the application of
scientific method in my own teaching; on a daily basis I collect data by
observing and assessing children to see if learning is taking place and adapt
my teaching where necessary to address individual needs and
misconceptions.  This is recognised by Johnson
(2017) who states that, like scientists, teachers experiment with new
techniques or strategies to see how they work.

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However,
during my teacher training I found that little emphasis was placed on the science and theory of
teaching. Academics such as Piaget and Vygotsky became a footnote to
demonstrate that I had met a teaching standard. In actual fact, my perception
of what made a ‘good teacher’ was acquired through feedback and observation of professional
mentors and teachers. This form of practice is contested by Simon (1981) in his
article Why no pedagogy in
England? He argues that the ‘science’
of teaching is very much a focus on the how rather than reflexively sharing
best practice. Furthermore, he expresses his concern about how teachers are trained
and prepared for the classroom and criticizes that science of learning takes
less significance in comparison to pragmatism and practicality.

Alexander defines pedagogy as ‘the act
of teaching together with its attendant discourse of educational theories, values,
evidence and justification’ (Alexander 2008:29).  This
broader view of pedagogy encompasses not only the science of teaching but reflects
wider values and beliefs within the learning relationship. By attendant
discourse Alexander refers to the interdependent factors that help shape
decisions within the classroom: children, learning, teaching and the
curriculum. Working in an Inner London School, I can relate to this definition
as it is paramount that I comprehend my pupils’ characteristics, background,
needs and differences in order to contextualise my pedagogy. This echoes the
words of James and Pollard (2011:280) who explain
‘pedagogy expresses the contingent relationship between teaching and learning
and does not treat teaching as something that can be considered separately from
an understanding of how learners learn’.

Nonetheless, working
with this definition, it is important to note that Alexander positions the
curriculum as subsidiary to pedagogy. In his commentary ‘Still no Pedagogy’ (2004) he criticises the government for telling
teachers how to teach through the curriculum
and argues that a prescriptive pedagogy is not appropriate as it negates
children from the centre of the learning process. For me, this implies that
pedagogic discourse is essential whereby teachers initiate conversation around
pedagogy and evaluate, critique and reflect upon their own style of teaching.
First and foremost, this requires schools to instil greater trust in their
teachers and allow capacity for experimentation and lesson studies. Moreover,
it poses the question of how newly qualified teachers will be supported through
this process with an apparent lack of knowledge, experience or application of educational
theory. Finally, if teachers are to adopt a more reflective approach to teaching,
greater emphasis should be placed on the skills of being responsive, creative
and intuitive which Pollard refers to as the art of teaching.

The most critical problem viewing pedagogy as solely a science or art is that a divide is placed on the teacher
and emphasis is installed on what is happening at the front of the class rather
than the students. In my opinion, the most effective teaching is
that which helps students learn to the greatest extent possible. It is for this
reason that I have defined pedagogy as ‘a
collaborative approach to teaching which places the learner at the centre. It
not only encompasses the science and art of teaching but embodies the experience,
values and moral purpose that help shape decisions within the classroom.  Pedagogy is not a fixed state but a developing
process which requires constant reflection and evaluation’