Pedagogy: making sense of the complex relationship between teaching and learning

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56 Citations (Scopus)


It is uncommon for an academic to be asked to review ideas developed in his own books (with a particular focus on Loughran, 2006, 2010; Loughran, Berry, Mulhall, 2012). However, considering the focus of the journal, the editor was interested in pursuing the theme encapsulated in these works?the notion of pedagogy. As this review illustrates, pedagogy is a major construct in education that has been defined, interpreted and used in many ways in the educational literature. In much of the literature, pedagogy is portrayed as a synonym for teaching; something this article suggests is narrow and superficial. In this article, pedagogy is understood as being embedded in the relationship between teaching and learning. Therefore, how the teaching?learning relationship is understood, recognized and developed in the educational enterprise is important. Two examples of how the complexity of pedagogy plays out in practice become starkly evident when considering pedagogical content knowledge and a pedagogy of teacher education. As this article explains, through a deep and rich understanding of pedagogical content knowledge and a pedagogy of teacher education, our understanding of pedagogy is substantially enhanced. The article concludes that pedagogy needs to be conceptualized as rich, complex and sophisticated, and in so doing, highlights why it must be viewed as much more than a synonym for teaching. Pedagogy is a term that attracts much attention in the educational literature. For example, a simple ERIC search throws up 3,147 hits for the use of the term in the title of publication types (January 2012). Like many key terms and ideas in education, pedagogy has been interpreted, used and understood in a variety of ways. As such, because the term is widely used, it is important to grasp how it is being applied in a given situation to fully understand that which is intended and the subsequent implications of its use. This article reviews the notion of pedagogy and argues that developing a deeper understanding of pedagogy is embedded in better recognizing and understanding the relationship between teaching and learning. The article therefore sets out to examine the nature of pedagogy and then to examine the importance of a deeper understanding of pedagogy through exploring two important constructs to which pedagogy is central: pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and a pedagogy of teacher education. The article begins with an examination of pedagogy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118 - 141
Number of pages24
JournalCurriculum Inquiry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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