Pedagogy is a term used in business and education with various interpretations and meanings. For example, it could refer to the act, art, and science behind teaching, or it could mean educational processes, methods, and how teachers cover the curriculum areas and subjects in a classroom. Pedagogy also covers teaching strategies, psychology, the theory of education, and

When we talk about pedagogy, we mean teaching itself that has different approaches influenced by social, historical, and economic backgrounds. The term is about teaching, from studying the profession to planning and running lessons and tracking and assessing progress. It includes teaching styles, feedback, and personal and professional development. It’s also not limited to its professional capacity; teachers shape young minds and hearts by looking out for their pupils’ mental and physical health and encouraging them to be exemplary citizens.

What does the word ‘pedagogy’ mean?

The word itself comes from the Greekπαιδαγωγία (paidagōgia), which roughly means a teacher leading a child.

Pedagogy in education can be more teacher-centered or pupil-centered. While the former focuses on the knowledge and experience of the teachers, resulting in a dryer and more rigid way of teaching, the latter builds more on the learners’ existing knowledge and ways of thinking.

Although both practices are present today, the consensus is that it’s best to find the balance between the two by providing a platform for teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and encouraging children to be independent learners. Many factors can influence the style, method, or efficiency of teaching, from the class’s size, age, or enthusiasm to the space and appliance/tools available for teachers and students. For example, teachers can do their best to implement digital learning into their lessons if the school does not have enough computers for children.

History of pedagogy

The idea of pedagogy came from Ancient Greece and was further developed throughout history. The act of teaching has changed quite a bit over the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Enlightenment and has been shaped differently by historical and political effects.

However, the bases of a role of a teacher and the aim of education were laid down in the 5th century BC with Socrates. Carers accompanied children to school, and the position of educator grew from that later on. Children were taught art, literature, maths, music, and politics.

School in the UK appeared around 590 AD, and pupils learned about grammar, logic and rhetoric, arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music. Though there was already some emphasis on having dialogues with children and developing critical thinking, pedagogy took off in the late 1700s. It was when larger classes started learning together, covering various topics. Later on, graduate colleges opened, and the education of teachers started. Upon finishing their studies, the new practitioners were given certificates, too.

Nowadays, thousands of studies, books, findings, and methods revolve around pedagogy. Depending on the country, teachers go to colleges or universities, some becoming teachers for everything, others getting qualifications for specific subjects.

In modern pedagogy, teachers study various styles, methods, and approaches to implement the most suitable one for their classes. Knowing these, alongside the national curriculum and different pedagogical principles, help teachers shape their practices, judgment, and strategies.

What is the Socratic method?

The Socratic questioning or method is a type of dialogue-based questioning and answering that encourages the learner to adopt critical thinking. By having children question everything and look for new ideas, they can find the right answers quicker and easier. It also helps them understand a problem or topic more deeply because they challenge it with their questions.

It, of course, is named after the famous Greek philosopher Socrates.

Pedagogical approaches

While several pedagogical approaches are influenced by cultural, political, economic, or practical contexts, we can separate a couple of important and influential approaches. First, however, remember that even these can be built together and tailored to individual or class needs.

As we mentioned, one of my major differences in teaching methods and approaches is the emphasis on the teacher and learner’s knowledge and experience. When the education is teacher-centered, the lessons are more one-sided, focusing on the teacher talking about the topic. The interactions, in this case, are limited, although there typically is dedicated time for questions. This method works well in higher education, with hundreds of students listening to an academic lecture.

But when teaching younger children, it’s always a better option – if circumstances allow it – to make the process more learner-centered. Actively involving children in the lesson improves independent and critical thinking and encourages them to find connections and hidden meanings and reevaluate what they hear and read.

Now let’s see some pedagogical approaches that are popular in education.


Behaviourism is a good example of teacher-centered pedagogy, where teachers lead the lessons with direct presentations, instructions, and lecturing. The approach is built on teachers being authority figures who pass on their knowledge to the more passive audience. Everything taught during a lesson using behaviorism is visible and direct. The only time pupils get to be the center of attention is when they demonstrate their new-learned knowledge.


An opposite to this is constructivism, where the focus is shifted to the children. The lessons mostly revolve around group and project work, requiring pupils to think independently and reflect on their existing knowledge and experience. This approach is called the invisible or hidden pedagogy since it uses physical activities, creative tasks, and abstract methods and ideas to help children understand and memorize the curriculum subjects and topics.

Social constructivism

We got to the approach that combines the two above, aka is both teacher- and learner-centered. It blends the two most effective characteristics by allowing educators and children to shape the learning experience.

Dialogic learning

Since the beginning of the teaching, having dialogues with learners has been a successful way of passing on knowledge and improving critical thinking. Looking for valid arguments when discussing a topic with someone else supports having a deeper understanding and open mind.


This approach is heavily shaped by liberal ideas and aims to bring democracy into the classroom. Pupils’ opinions and ideas are implemented into the process of teaching. Smaller group works are frequent to guarantee that everyone’s voice gets heard.

Of course, all of these can be blended or used differently if certain standards are met that are typically set out by official parties. For example, in July 2011, the English Department of Education introduced a guide for school leaders, school staff, and governing bodies defining the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers. The detailed document starts with a teacher getting their teaching status.

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