Pedagogy Pie

'Pedagogy’ – how children learn and how teachers teach - is meant to be about “the science and art of teaching”.

Any new pedagogy, after being thoroughly informed by findings from research, should explain to teachers how students learn something. That’s the ‘science’. This is crucial information if we are to have any certainty that our teaching will get results. But pedagogy should be more than this. It should inform teachers how the science can be applied in the classroom in creative and engaging ways. You could call this ‘learning design’. This is the art part. Without the art, we only have half of the pedagogy pie.

Like a pendulum, our pedagogies have swung from too much art and too little science (eg de Bono and Gardner) to a 21st century fixation on the science at the expense of the art (eg Hattie and Marzano).

Overly artful pedagogy might be fun at first but it might not get the results we hope for. But any pedagogy that is all science has no soul. Teaching from an artless pedagogy feels less human and is uninspiring (for both teachers and students).

What if we were to take the bland-tasting and uninspiring 21st century “evidence-based” models and added some creative flair and design, and re-served them as a total and delicious learning experience for our students?

After all, teaching is both a science and an art.

I want the whole pie.

James Phelps
Researcher and Learning Designer

Put the ‘art’ back into pedagogy:

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