Pedagogy see if learning is taking place and adapt

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. It is what one needs to know, and the skills one needs to command, in
order to make and justify the many different kinds of decisions of which
teaching is constituted’ (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- understanding: 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 is 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 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 an essential whereby teachers initiate conversation around pedagogy and evaluate
and critique 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 about how newly qualified
teachers will be supported through this process. Finally It leads me to
question if the skills if the skills of responsive, creative and intuitive=
art  repotorie of skills and practice=
craft