Education has gone through a lot of transformation over many decades. It is within the reach of more learners than before. Education is available in many disciplines of learning and for all kinds of learners. It is now deliverable through technology enabled channels also. This has been possible because the manner of imparting education has also evolved. This manner of imparting education to students is pedagogy. Pedagogy helps define the methods adopted for conducting teaching-learning sessions. It includes the various strategies and approaches adopted by teachers to ensure meaningful and fulfilling learning sessions for students. The demand for quality education is at an all time high today. Effective pedagogical approaches are of critical importance in providing quality education.
Importance of Pedagogy in Teaching
Employing effective pedagogical approaches helps students achieve learning outcomes. It also helps students realize their full educational potential. Quality pedagogy provides strong foundations of learning. It helps students develop advanced concepts and abilities. The right pedagogy also helps instructors observe the academic progress of their students. The points enlisted below highlight the importance of pedagogy.
A thoughtfully developed pedagogy improves the quality of teaching. It makes the student more receptive during learning sessions. This improves the student’s level of participation in the teaching-learning process.
Appropriate pedagogy helps impart education to students with different learning styles/abilities. Students develop a deeper understanding of subject matter. This in turn, helps achieve the learning outcomes of a program.
The correct pedagogical approach is helpful for students with special needs. It encourages them to be a part of mainstream learning community. Such a pedagogical approach also helps students from disadvantaged groups, viz. females or minorities.
Thoughtfully developed pedagogy makes students advance and develop higher level cognitive skills, viz. analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Knowledge, comprehension and application are lower order cognitive skills in Bloom’s taxonomy.
Factors Affecting Pedagogy
Various factors influence the pedagogy adopted in a teaching-learning process. Some obvious factors are: subject, curriculum, motivation to learn and competence of instructor. Additionally, learning styles of students and availability of infrastructure also influence the pedagogy. The following points elaborate some of these factors.
Competence of the instructor: A competent teacher keeps the students motivated, interested and eager to learn. Such an instructor employs a judicious blend of skills, abilities and knowledge.
Learning styles of the students: An idea of students’ learning styles helps instructors adopt an appropriate pedagogical approach . A pedagogical approach that complements students’ learning styles helps accelerate the learning process. It keeps students motivated and interested in learning.
The field of study: The field of study also influences the choice of pedagogy. For instance, physics requires a balance of theory and laboratory sessions. Political science, does not need laboratory sessions. Architecture requires field visits besides theory and laboratory sessions.
Availability of additional resources: Projectors, virtual laboratories, etc. help widen the scope of the teaching-learning process. The realm of learning expands beyond the limits of the classrooms. Such educational resources keep the learning sessions alive and students engaged.
Education System: Policies of an education system, curriculum standards, etc. also influence the pedagogical approach. For instance, an exam that tests the ability of a student to memorize and recall facts discourages the instructor to employ a pedagogy that develops higher order thinking.
Types of Pedagogical Approaches
Effective pedagogical approaches help in effective delivery of knowledge to learners. The choice of a particular pedagogy depends on many factors, some discussed above. Pedagogy relates teachers, students and learning with each other. It helps achieve academic outcomes. Teachers are often advised by educationists to develop their own unique pedagogical approach. Some pedagogical approaches described below are more general and ubiquitously adopted.
This approach puts the student at the center of the learning process. The student develops new ideas and concepts on the basis of existing and past knowledge. The instructor merely facilitates the process by developing activities. Students discover and learn by solving problems. Learning might happen at a slower pace with limited conversations with the instructor.
Under the reflective approach, instructors keep a regular check on their teaching pedagogy. They observe and check the suitability of their pedagogy in a teaching-learning set-up. This approach is more suited to serve as a model approach for trainee teachers.
The collaborative approach requires students to work together in small teams. The students may have different levels of ability. The reason: isolated learners do not learn as much as students working together in a team. In a research-oriented set-up, this small team may also comprise of a teacher and a researcher.
The integrative approach relates classroom education with real-world applications. The students thus find the classroom teaching more meaningful and relevant. The students learn with a goal to improve their knowledge in a subject. This approach helps kindle the interest of students in mathematics and science.
Inquiry Based Approach:
This approach puts the student at the center of the learning process. Students ask questions and use reasoning and problem-solving skills to reach a solution. Inquiry based approach may be four types: confirmation, structured, guided and open. The figure presented here summarizes the descriptions of the different inquiry-based approaches.
Additional Pedagogical Approaches
There are other ways of classifying pedagogical approaches. A simple classification is: teacher-centered pedagogy, learner-centered pedagogy and learning-centered pedagogy. Regular classroom lectures and chorus answering are activities under teacher-centered pedagogical approach. Presentations, experiments and case studies done by students are activities under learner-centered pedagogy. There are several more ways to classify pedagogical approaches. For an enthusiastic reader, more literature is available on the internet.
Development of human civilization brings transformations in education. These transformations lead to new challenges in teaching-learning process. These challenges in turn, lead to evolution of more effective pedagogical approaches.
The reference sources for the content presented in this article are enlisted below. These sources also offer further insight into various aspects related to pedagogical approaches.