Pedagogy as a philosophy as well as science of teaching


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Pedagogy as a philosophy as well as science of teaching

  1. 1. According to Susan Wallace in her dictionary of education; Pedagogy as a professional practiceand as a field of academic study, it encompasses not only a practical application of teaching orpedagogical skills but also curriculum issues and the body of theory relating to how and whylearning takes place. Because it derives from a Greek expression referring to the education of theyoung, pedagogy is sometimes taken to be specifically about the education of the young peopleand children. Whereas the more recently coined term Androgogy is used in relation to educationof adults.There are facts that shows how pedagogy is related to science as well as philosophy, these areshown as follows:-PEDAGOGY AS A SCIENCEThe science of thinkingThe science of thinking is generally known as cognitive psychology. Physicists who have hardlystepped out of their own discipline, especially those over 50, may have some doubt that cognitivepsychology qualifies as a science,In the last three decades cognitive psychology has undergone a major revolution in severaldirections at once. (1) The development of information processing theories and (2) The consolidation of developmental psychology.It cannot be overstressed, however, that there is much research along other lines with importantimplications for a science of teaching. Cognitive psychology is in a period of great ferment andrapid development, with diverse schools and research programs from which, nevertheless, theoutlines of a comprehensive theory of cognitive processes has begun to emerge. Information processing (IPS)Models of a thinking human being as an Information Processing System (IPS) have evolvedalongside the modern computer. Both the computer and the human being can be regarded asdifferent species of the genus IPS. Both can operate on input with a well-defined symbolicstructure to produce an equally well-defined output. The performance of each is determined byits hardware (physical structure) and its software (programming). Comparison of the two kindsof systems has vastly improved our understanding of both. On the other hand, computer sciencehas developed a language that makes it possible to describe the processing powers of humanswith a precision previously unknown to cognitive psychology. The general structure of thehuman IPS is indicated in relation to Philosophy Philosophers had identified its majorcomponents long ago by introspection. Thus, the old concept of consciousness refers to theShort-Term Memory (STM) while the Long-Term Memory(LTM) had been identified as an unconscious component of mind. These components of mindcan now be described with some precision and detail, Developmental psychologyJean Piaget is the Charles Darwin of developmental psychology. He gave the subject its firstcomprehensive theory of cognitive growth and compiled a mountain of facts to support it.Piaget’s theory is no more the last word on cognitive growth than Darwin’s theory was the lastword on evolution. Piaget has identified a sequence of four major stages or levels of cognitive
  2. 2. development, called the Sensorimotor, the Preoperational, the Concrete Operational, and theFormal Operational level. Each level is characterized theoretically by a set of specific cognitiveprocesses and empirically by a set of Piagetian tasks to detect those processes.Teachers should become sensitive to the cognitive levels of their students, so they can matchtheir methods to the capabilities of their students. They should become adept at recognizingreasoning skills required to process written materials and complete assignments so they cananticipate where students are likely to have difficulty. Most students in high school and collegereason at the concrete or formal level, so it is especially important for science teachers torecognize the role of concrete and formal processes in understanding science.To determine specific educational implications of Piaget’s theory, we must examine the role ofspecific reasoning patterns in learning. Surely proportional reasoning is one of the mostimportant reasoning patterns in science; one can hardly get started in physics and chemistrywithout it. It is commonly believed that proportional reasoning is taught in high school algebracourses when students are introduced to the formula a/b= c/d. On the contrary, Piaget’s theoryimplies that a student cannot comprehend the formula unless he is already capable ofproportional reasoning. Proportional reasoning is carried out by programs in the LTM whichcoordinate a system of functional relations.No programs, no reasoning.Educational researchIn our brief review of cognitive psychology we have noted several steps that the individualscience teacher can take to improve his effectiveness. He can further refine his insight into theteaching process by becoming familiar with research journals such as Science Education and theJournal for Research in Science Teaching. However, the teaching effectiveness of an individualis limited as much by the state of his profession as by his own ability and initiative. The teachercan no more develop effective new curricula and teaching techniques on his own than he candiscover the basic principles of the science he teaches. If the profession of teaching is ever totranscend the folklore state of Gilbert Highet, it must be guided and supported by a program ofprofound educational research. What should be the domain of science education research? Itshould embrace at least the following three kinds of activities(1) Structural analysis. The structure of science must be analyzed from both logical andpsychological points of view to identify the essentials that need to be taught and what it takes tounderstand them. Cognitive growth is a process of progressive differentiation and integration ofmental structures (schemes). Accordingly, scientific knowledge must be organized into a seriesof well-defined levels of increasing complexity and sophistication if it is to be taught efficiently.(2) Methodological analysis. The development and the application of science require a varietyof problem-solving techniques. The problem-solving strategies used by scientists must beidentified and classified before they can be taught systematically. It is especially important todistinguish strategies with broad applicability from special techniques devised for particularproblems. A study of problem solving in mathematics has been made by Polya, but without
  3. 3. attention to the psychological aspects considered by Newell and Simon. There is no comparablestudy of problem solving in physics or any of the other sciences.(3) Curriculum development. To be maximally effective, science curricula must be designed inaccordance with sound scientific and psychological principles. The design must include teachingstrategies as well as the selection and organization of subject matter; it must be concerned withthe details of student and teacher activities. A specific curriculum is a kind of instructionalmodel; it must be tested and compared with alternative models to determine its adequacy. Asformulated here, science education research is obviously an interdisciplinary enterprise, so a fewremarks on the roles of various disciplines are in order. A structural and methodological analysisof science should certainly be classified as philosophy of science. The philosophers have muchto say about this. However, they have not developed an integrated view of the logical andpsychological components or carried out the analysis in the detail that is necessary to determineits educational implications. The details cannot be worked out without the insight of the scientistand the psychologist, but they cannot be coordinated without a broad philosophical perspective.In educational applications philosophy of science may find the relevance to scientific activitythat it has lacked in the past. We have seen that cognitive psychology has much to offer, butmuch less than what is needed for a satisfactory theory of scientific thinking. The teachers can’twait for a better theory, nor should science education researchers leave the development of sucha theory up to the psychologists. Scientists and science teachers know a great deal about effectivereasoning strategies that have not yet been incorporated into psychological theory. Indeed, themain ingredients of Piaget’s theory are concepts which have been taken over from biology,mathematics, and physics. Physics is ideal for studying reasoning and learning strategies becausethe subject matter is well-defined and the concepts involved vary widely in kind and complexity.It would be most difficult for a psychologist to acquire the scientific insight needed for a deepstudy of scientific thinking. It is easier for a scientist to learn the relevant results and methods ofpsychology. Science education research is needed to link psychology with the natural sciences.Mathematics has been called "the language of science." A science can certainly not be separatedfrom its language. The cognitive processes in science have so much in common with those inmathematics that it would be foolish not to integrate research in science education with researchin mathematics education. Such specialists exist and they have formed a professional society, theNational Association for Research in Science Teaching. Unfortunately, most of these specialistsare located in schools of education so they are cut off from the well-spring of their discipline, thevarious scientific disciplines themselves. Consequently, their research suffers in quality, and islimited primarily to the teaching of science to young children. Science education research willnot come of age until it is recognized and actively supported in the universities by
  4. 4. PEDAGOGY AS PHILOSOPHYPedagogy is a philosophy in a sense that every instructor or teacher has his/her own beliefs ofinstruction. There are ideas that one belief that when he/she applies in teaching he/she canbecome very successful in his/her lesson and students will easily catch up the materials. Thesephilosophical beliefs should be habored and governed by the students by student’s backgroundknowledge and situation, experience and environments as well as the learning goals set bystudents and their teachers. Different philosophers gave out their views and philosophical beliefson pedagogical skillsSocratesThe Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, eclectic method, Socratic irony, orSocratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry anddebate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questionsto stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving anoppositional discussion in which the defense of one point of view is pitted against the defense ofanother; one participant may lead another to contradict him in some way, strengthening theinquirers own point.The Socratic methods is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypothesesare found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. The Socraticmethods searches for general, commonly held truths that shape opinion, and scrutinizes them todetermine their consistency with other beliefs. The basic form is a series of questions formulatedas tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about sometopic, exploring the definitions or logoi (singular logos), seeking to characterize the generalcharacteristics shared by various particular instances. The extent to which this method isemployed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors beliefs, or to help them furthertheir understanding, is called the method of maieutics. Aristotle attributed to Socrates thediscovery of the method of definition and induction, which he regarded as the essence of thescientific method.The term Socratic questioning is used to describe a kind of questioning in which an originalquestion is responded to as though it were an answer. This in turn forces the first questioner toreformulate a new question in light of the progress of the discourse.Socratic questioning is disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in manydirections and for many purposes, including: to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth ofthings, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, todistinguish what we know from what we dont know, to follow out logical implications ofthought, or to control the discussion. The key to distinguishing Socratic questioning fromquestioning per se is that Socratic questioning is systematic, disciplined, and deep, and usuallyfocuses on fundamental concepts, principles, theories, issues, or problems.
  5. 5. Socratic questioning is referred to in teaching, and has gained currency as a concept in educationparticularly in the past two decades. Teachers, students, or indeed anyone interested in probingthinking at a deep level can and should construct Socratic questions and engage in thesequestions.PedagogyWhen teachers use Socratic questioning in teaching, their purpose may be to probe studentthinking, to determine the extent of student knowledge on a given topic, issue or subject, tomodel Socratic questioning for students, or to help students analyze a concept or line ofreasoning. Students should learn the discipline of Socratic questioning so that they begin to use itin reasoning through complex issues, in understanding and assessing the thinking of others, andin following-out the implications of what they, and others think.In teaching, then, teachers can use Socratic questioning for at least two purposes: To deeply probe student thinking, to help students begin to distinguish what they know or understand from what they do not know or understand (and to help them develop intellectual humility in the process). To foster students abilities to ask Socratic questions, to help students acquire the powerful tools of Socratic dialogue, so that they can use these tools in everyday life (in questioning themselves and others). To this end, teachers can model the questioning strategies they want students to emulate and employ. Moreover, teachers need to directly teach students how to construct and ask deep questions. Beyond that, students need practice to improve their questioning abilities.Socratic questioning illuminates the importance of questioning in learning (indeed Socrateshimself thought that questioning was the only defensible form of teaching). It illuminates thedifference between systematic and fragmented thinking. It teaches us to dig beneath the surfaceof our ideas. It teaches us the value of developing questioning minds in cultivating deep learning.Integrating Socratic questions this is the following manner in the classroom help develop active,independent learners: 1. Getting students to clarify their thinking e.g., ‘Why do you say that?’, ‘Could you explain further?’ 2. Challenging students about assumptions e.g., ‘Is this always the case?’, ‘Why do you think that this assumption holds here?’ 3. Evidence as a basis for argument e.g., ‘Why do you say that?’, ‘Is there reason to doubt this evidence?’ 4. Alternative viewpoints and perspectives
  6. 6. e.g., ‘What is the counter argument for?’, ‘Can/did anyone see this another way?’ 5. Implications and consequences e.g., ‘But if what happened, what else would result?’, ‘How does...affect...?’ 6. Question the question e.g., ‘Why do you think that I asked that question?’, ‘Why was that question important?’, ‘Which of your questions turned out to be the most useful?’Critical thinkingThe art of Socratic questioning is intimately connected with critical thinking because the art ofquestioning is important to excellence of thought. What the word "Socratic" adds to the art ofquestioning is systematicity, depth, and an abiding interest in assessing the truth or plausibility ofthings.Both critical thinking and Socratic questioning share a common end. Critical thinking providesthe conceptual tools for understanding how the mind functions in its pursuit of meaning andtruth; Socratic questioning employs those tools in framing questions essential to the pursuit ofmeaning and truth.The goal of critical thinking is to establish an additional level of thinking to our thinking, apowerful inner voice of reason, that monitors, assesses, and reconstitutes—in a more rationaldirection—our thinking, feeling, and action. Socratic discussion cultivates that inner voicethrough an explicit focus on self-directed, disciplined questioning.John Dewey (1858-1952) is just one of many educational leaders who recognized that acurriculum aimed at building thinking skills would be a benefit not only to the individual learner,but to the community and to the entire democracy. Dewey believes in participatory methodsrather than traditional methods of teaching and learning which were mainly subject based,curriculum and teacher dominated education.The key to seeing the significance of critical thinking in academics is in understanding thesignificance of critical thinking in learning. There are two meanings to the learning of thiscontent. The first occurs when learners (for the first time) construct in their minds the basicideas, principles, and theories that are inherent in content. This is a process of internalization.The second occurs when learners effectively use those ideas, principles, and theories as theybecome relevant in learners lives. This is a process of application. Good teachers cultivatecritical thinking (intellectually engaged thinking) at every stage of learning, including initiallearning. This process of intellectual engagement is at the heart of the Oxford, Durham,Cambridge and London School of Economics tutorials. The tutor questions the students, often ina Socratic manner (see Socratic questioning). The key is that the teacher who fosters criticalthinking fosters reflectiveness in students by asking questions that stimulate thinking essential tothe construction of knowledge.
  7. 7. Therefore he proposed more diversified curriculum that opposed to method that only allowedtime tabling of few subjects at the expense of others. Dewey’s ideas on the role of the teacherwere intended to enhance participatory method. REFERENCEAllen, N and Herbert, S. (1972), Human Problem Solving, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.G. Polya, (1978), How To Solve It (Princeton, NJ, 5th printing,); Mathematics andPlausible Reasoning, 2 Vol., (Princeton, NJ, 1975).Gilbert Highet, (1950), The Art of Teaching, Alfred A. Knopf, New York.Thungu, J, et al,(2008), Mastering PTE Education, Oxford University Press.Wallace S. (2008), Oxford Dictionary of Education, Oxford University Press Inc, New York.