This week I was asked, not for the first time, why I use the term pedagogy in my sessions. “Why don’t you use the word andragogy?” My answer as always was brief – “because I don’t want my session to become a futile search for semantic resolutions” (well – words to that effect). Some teachers, especially those who teach teachers, can become incensed that we use a word which is rooted in the education of children. Some actually find the word offensive, for reasons they never seem to vocalise

Malcolm  Knowles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Knowles, asserted that andragogy (Greek: “man-leading”) should be distinguished from the more commonly used pedagogy (Greek: “child-leading”). I’ve never really ‘got’ Knowles’ theory and believe it to be a fatuous argument. But, that’s personal opinion, which may change as this paper unfolds.

I’d actually prefer it if we had a completely different word to describe the science of teaching and learning, never mind the age of the learner. In reality I’d probably prefer two words – one for the science of teaching and another for the science of learning: one could be a sub-set of the other, but I won’t suggest which.

Anyway, having arrived home after what otherwise was a brilliant day, which saw me deliver two sessions on the ‘Potential of ‘M’ tools and technologies’ [https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/blooms/] I raised this subject with my wife (MSc Multimedia and e-Learning) and her sister who is visiting from the USA (Brown [Ivy-League] taught, ancient world classicist, 2 words short of her doctoral thesis). We all agreed that the semantics of this argument were irrelevant, perhaps a smokescreen to hide a deeper fear of new technology. Gail (Sis-in-law) however, was incensed that words were being bandied about that had no actual root in ancient Greek.

She said:

In Greek, a “π?????????”  (pedagogue) was a slave who led a child to and from school. The term π????? ?????? literally means “child escort” or “one who leads/guides a child.” By extension, “?v?r??????” would mean “leading a man” or, as I prefer, “walking a man.” [but] It should be noted that this word does not exist in ancient Greek. [?????? = Greek alphabet unintelligible to WordPress]

I the checked other places and found this on the Excellence Gateway:

‘Pedagogy literally means the art and science of educating children and often is used as a synonym for teaching. More accurately, pedagogy embodies teacher-focused education. In the pedagogic model, teachers assume responsibility for making decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, and when it will be learned. Teachers direct learning’.

‘Andragogy, initially defined as “the art and science of helping adults learn,” currently defines an alternative to pedagogy and refers to learner-focused education for people of all ages. In other words an andragogic approach is all about putting the learner in the driving seat.’

Conner, M. L. “Andragogy and Pedagogy.” Ageless Learner, 1997-2004.

I completely disagree with these views. I think that they are damaging and have no relevance in today’s learning arena. The simple fact that Conner asserts pedagogy to be teacher focussed and that androgogy is learner focussed goes against anything I’ve studied before. As we try to instil the idea that we are the guides by the side (“Sage-on-the-stage” to “Guide-by-the- side” (Stinson, Milter, 1996) we should strive to not get bogged down by ‘words’ because ‘words’ are more powerful than we imagine and can distill other, more important messages.

The penultimate word for now comes from Gail:

“If one is looking for ancient terms to apply to modern teaching/educational practices, perhaps ??????????/ ?????????  (to act as a guide/one who guides, explains) is preferable. i.e. kath-eh-gay-oh-my (well, that’s the verb). kath-ey-gay-tays (the one who teaches/guides)”

“Problem is, kathegogy isn’t quite right if you want a word that means the science of teaching/guiding. Maybe katheology. I’d have to give it some thought.”

So will I!








Stinson, J. Milter, R.  (1996).  “Problem-based Learning In Business Education: Curriculum Design and Implementation Issues”.  In Wilkerson, LuAnn and Gijselaers, Wim (Eds.), Bringing Problem-Based Learning to Higher Education:  Theory and Practice.  Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA. (found on http://pbl.tp.edu.sg/Facilitation/Articles/SimWee.pdf: downloaded 27/02/10)

IPD – 2

Many thanks to those of you that read my previous IPD post and special thanks to those of you that took the trouble to comment. The time and effort you took to respond is much appreciated.

Each comment is blog-worthy in itself.

I did say, at the end of that post that I might do a part-two to IPD and so here it is.  After those thoughtful and constructive comments made by technical experts in the field, I will try to be more conciliatory than I might otherwise have been.

Throughout, I use the word ‘I’ as a composite of personal experience and those experiences related to me by various teaching practitioners up and down the land.

What is it about ‘builds’, or ‘disk images’ that is so hard to manage? I’m sure there’s a reason, but it’s not clear to me what it is. As Col said in his comment: “[we] … don’t always have a realistic insight into the roles of other departments”.

I know that this is a contentious subject – I used to have frequent discussions with colleagues about it but I’m not a systems guy and therefore find it hard to understand. “We can’t add that piece of software because we’ve finished that build now” or “sorry, it’s not part of the disk image”. Another favourite is “oo – you’ll have to wait until half term for that”. I understand the words, I hear the sounds – but not the reason and it just doesn’t translate. Why can’t I have Audacity downloaded and installed on my computer for next week? Really – why?

Somewhere on the institution’s VLE or IntRAnet there will be a software policy. I wonder when was this last updated in collaboration with people who teach or (whoa – what are you about to say??) people who learn? When was there any actual discussion about the policy?

We send our teacher colleagues out on staff development (CPD – maybe eCPD) sessions, often at great expense and during these sessions they become enthused by new tools and techniques they see and become aware of the potential for them and their learners. They then return to base where “no” is the first answer and “not until blah blah blah” is the last one.

De-motivated, the teacher resorts to chalk and talk or worse.

Management, often advised by ill informed IPDs, frequently issue diktats that result in sites being banned – I know I touched on this before but how do we move forward from the stalemate?

I was at a college recently, where Facebook had been banned. The safety of learners and teachers was the reason (in a nutshell). This seems to fly in the face of informed opinion. E.g. “Pupils given a greater degree of freedom to surf the internet at school are less vulnerable to online dangers in the long-term, [ofsted] inspectors say.”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8505914.stm

The thing that is missing from all of the scenarios on both IPD and IPD-2 is discussion, mediation and decision. The three parties involved should be teachers (informed by and in collaboration maybe, with learners), technicians imbued with the remit for systems safety and management. No one or two of these parties should be able to make unilateral (or bi-lateral?) decisions. This needn’t be an arduous or long winded procedure.

It would seem that Louise http://loujak78.wordpress.com/ and Col http://mindmug.wordpress.com/ have this cracked in their institutions and that Ben http://homepage.ntlworld.com/armaitus/work.htm would be a welcome (if underpaid) leader of any institutional systems team.

So – are you prepared to talk?