## Blog

#### Pedagogy

Education has gone through a lot of transformation over the past many decades. It is within the reach of more learners than before. Today, formal education is available in many disciplines of learning, for various categories of learners and deliverable through technology enabled channels. This has been possible because the manner of imparting education has also evolved. This manner of imparting education to students is pedagogy. Pedagogy defines the methods adopted for conducting teaching-learning sessions. It includes the various strategies and approaches adopted by teachers to ensure meaningful 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.

For a more detailed idea of pedagogy, readers may refer the article, Pedagogy: What Educators Need to Know at TOPHAT.

#### Importance of Pedagogy in Teaching

Employing effective pedagogical approaches helps students achieve learning outcomes and realize their full educational potential. Quality pedagogy provides strong foundations for learning. It aids students in developing advanced concepts and abilities. The right pedagogy enables instructors observe the academic progress of their students.  The points enlisted below highlight the importance of pedagogy.

1. 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.
2. An appropriate pedagogy helps impart education to students with different learning styles/abilities. Students develop a deeper understanding of subject matter. This, in turn, ensures the achievement of the learning outcomes of a program.
3. A correct pedagogical approach is required for students with special needs students from disadvantaged groups, viz. females or minorities. It encourages them to be a part of mainstream learning community.
4. A thoughtfully developed pedagogy makes students 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.

1. 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.
2. Learning styles of the students: An idea about the students’ learning styles helps instructors adopt the appropriate pedagogical approach.  A pedagogical approach that complements students’ learning styles helps accelerate the learning process. It keeps students motivated and interested in learning.
3. 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, on the other hand, does not need laboratory sessions. Architecture requires field visits, besides theory and laboratory sessions.
4. Availability of additional resources: Projectors, virtual laboratories, etc. help widen the scope of the teaching-learning process. Such educational resources keep the learning sessions alive and students engaged.
5. Education System: The 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 are crucial 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.

##### Constructivist Approach:

This approach puts the student at the center of the learning process. The student develops new ideas and concepts on the basis of their 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 owing to limited conversations between the student and instructor.

##### Reflective Approach:

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 reader may refer to the article: Reflective Teaching Pedagogy As Innovative Approach In Teacher Education Through Open And Distance Learning at ResearchGate to develop a deeper understanding of the topic.

##### Collaborative Approach:

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 a teacher and a researcher. The articles, Collaborative Pedagogy Researcher and Teacher Learning Together at JSTOR;  and Collaborative pedagogy in architectural design studio by Emam, Taha, Sayad at Science Direct offer further insight into the topic of collaborative learning.

##### Integrative Approach:

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 kindles the interest of students in mathematics and science.

##### Inquiry Based Approach:

This approach puts the student at the centre of the learning process. Students ask questions and use reasoning and problem-solving skills to reach a solution. Inquiry based approach may be of four types: confirmation, structured, guided and open. The figure presented here summarizes the descriptions of the different inquiry-based approaches. The web page All About Inquiry-Based Learning: Definition, Benefits and Strategies at Prodigy offers more insight into inquiry based approach to learning.

There are other ways of classifying pedagogical approaches. The webpage, classifies pedagogical approaches into three main types: 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. More examples of student entered instructional approaches are available at the teachthought webpage: 28 Student-Centered Instructional Strategies. For an enthusiastic reader, in-depth literature on the classification of pedagogical approaches 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 the evolution of more effective pedagogical approaches. This article is part of a series of articles on Pedagogy. For more, visit the blog pages at Evelyn Learning.

1. Role of Pedagogy in Effective Teaching by Bhowmick1, Roy2, Banerjeeat Basic Research Journals.
2. Factors that Influence Academic Teacher’s Acceptance of E-Learning Technology in Blended Learning Environment at IntechOpen.
3. Integrative Pedagogy by Jouni Enqvist at Hame University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

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For further reading related to pedagogy and education standards, please visit the blog pages at Evelyn Learning.

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