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Pedagogy (pronounced  /ˈpɛdəɡɒdʒi/ or /ˈpɛdəɡoʊdʒi/) is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction.

Pedagogy is also occasionally referred to as the correct use of instructive strategies (see instructional theory). For example, Paulo Freire referred to his method of teaching adult humans as " critical pedagogy". In correlation with those instructive strategies the instructor's own philosophical beliefs of instruction are harbored and governed by the pupil's background knowledge and experience, situation, and environment, as well as learning goals set by the student and teacher. One example would be the Socratic schools of thought.


The word comes from the Greek παιδαγωγέω (paidagōgeō); in which παῖς (país, genitive παιδός, paidos) means "child" and άγω (ágō) means "lead"; so it literally means "to lead the child". In Ancient Greece, παιδαγωγός was (usually) a slave who supervised the instruction of his master’s son (girls were not publicly taught). This involved taking him to school (διδασκαλεῖον) or a gym (γυμναστήριον), looking after him and carrying his equipment (e.g. music instruments).

The Latin-derived word for pedagogy: child-instruction, is in modern use in English to refer to the whole context of instruction, learning, and the actual operation involved therein, although both words have roughly the same original meaning. In English the term pedagogy is used to refer to instructive theory; trainee teachers learn their subject and also the pedagogy appropriate for teaching that subject. The introduction of information technology into schools has necessitated changes in pedagogy; teachers are adopting new methods of teaching facilitated by the new technology. The late Malcolm Knowles reasoned that the term andragogy is more pertinent when discussing adult learning and teaching. He referred to andragogy as the art and science of teaching adults.

Academic degree

An academic degree, Ped. D., Doctor of Pedagogy, is awarded honorarily by some U.S. universities to distinguished teachers (in the U.S. and U.K. earned degrees within the instructive field are classified as an Ed. D., Doctor of Education or a Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy). The term is also used to denote an emphasis in education as a specialty in a field (for instance, a Doctor of Music degree in piano pedagogy).


A number of people contributed to the theories of pedagogy, among these are

  • Caleb Gattegno
  • Benjamin Bloom
  • John Dewey
  • Celestin Freinet
  • Paulo Freire
  • Friedrich Fröbel
  • Eugenio María de Hostos
  • Kurt Hahn
  • Gloria Jean Watkins (bell hooks)
  • Jan Amos Komensky
  • Janusz Korczak
  • William G Perry
  • Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
  • Jean Piaget
  • Simon Soloveychik
  • Rudolf Steiner
  • Lev Vygotsky
  • Henry Giroux
  • Peter McLaren
  • Maria Montessori
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Joseph Jacotot
  • Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
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