Pass Notes: What is a Pedagogue?

OK then class, who can define the word ‘Pedagogy’ for me?

No? Anyone? Have a guess?

Is it something to do with teaching?

Yes, well you are on the right track, but single word answers aren’t going to get you very far in your ‘academic’ GCSE examination – unless of course it’s a multiple choice question. Can anyone help him?

Sir, Sir, Please Sir!

Yes, the boy at the back reading from his iPhone online dictionary app that he doesn’t think I can see him hiding under the desk…

Well, according to this it says that ‘pedagogy’ is ‘the method and practice of teaching children’. In fact, if one can believe anything one reads on Wikipedia, it comes from the Greek and literally means to ‘lead the child’.

Yes, that’s quite correct – well done that web-site – award it an A*. And there is some endless fun to be had debating whether the second g in ‘pedagogic’ should be pronounced  hard or soft.

So, next question then, ‘What’s a Pedagogue’?’

Dunno – somewhere you go to pray that you’ll get a good teacher once in a while?

No, No! A pedagogue is of course someone who contributes to the theories of pedagogy, such as John Dewey, Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori.

Oh, I thought they all played for Portsmouth?

Silence, boy.

Please Sir?


Does that make you a pedagogue, only I thought they weren’t allowed in schools anymore?

No, stupid boy, that’s a paedophile. See me after when the others are gone and I’ll explain properly. Let’s move on quickly. Next question, what does the term ‘Andragogy’ mean?

Something to do with robots? Or perhaps a new mobile phone from pedagoogle?

Alas not. Just as pedagogy means the teaching of children, so andragogy means the art and science of teaching of male and female adults, a term coined as recently as 1833.  Now as all you Greek scholars are doubtless about to tell me, both pedagogy and andragogy actually refer to the teaching of boys and men, because in those days, women were not publicly educated. So what with Women’s Lib and all that stuff, we now use the word to mean both men and women. There, see, Quite Interesting isn’t it? And just to make things clearer, andragogy shouldn’t of course be confused with ‘androgyny’ which means ‘genderless’.


Yes Leslie – or is it Lesley, I can’t quite tell?

Well, I was just thinking. Perhaps the continued use of out-dated, unpronounceable academic terminology that no-one knows the meaning of merely serves to further mystify and exclude the public, and that as a result you really shouldn’t be surprised when people tend to develop ineffective, technology-led, so-called educational products and resources when they have little grasp of the scientific and artistic processes of teaching and learning appropriate to life in the 21st century? Perhaps you should start by coming up with some new terms that will help the profession start to change the way it does things?

Somewhat fortuitously at this very moment the bell rings, and so sadly we shall never know the answer…

Don’t say:

  • Pedagoogoo were a popular singing group from the 1980’s made up of former university professors of education.
  • A pedometer is used to measure exactly how pedantic a pedagogue is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.