"If beginning teachers are to be successful, they must wrestle
simultaneously with issues of pedagogical content (or knowledge) as
well as general pedagogy (or generic teaching principles)" (Grossman,
as cited in Ornstein, Thomas, & Lasley, 2000, p. 508).
There are a set of general skills for working in classrooms.
There is also a way of knowing your discipline that is needed in
Pedagogical Content Knowledge
"the most useful forms of representation of [topics], the most
powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations, and
demonstrations - in a word, the ways of representing and
formulating the subject that make it comprehensible to others ...
Pedagogical content knowledge also includes an understanding
of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult:
the conceptions and preconceptions that students of different
ages and backgrounds bring with them to the learning of those
most frequently taught topics and lessons." (Shulman, 1986).
Students work differently - we know this intuitively and there
are lots of theoretical explanations. I am an advocate of
Gardner, but there are others.
It follows that we need to know a range of pedagogical
We need to be mindful of the broader purposes in the teaching
and learning exchange too:
Enjoyment of learning
Respect for others and environment
Skills and values
Examples of Teachers displaying PCK
Knowledge of Evident when the teacher:
Teaching Strategies Discusses/Uses general or specific approaches to
teaching a concept or skill
Student Thinking Addresses student ways of thinking about a
concept, recognises typical understandings
Student Misconceptions Uses methods to address and challenge common
Cognitive Demand of Identifies aspects of the task that that affect its
Knowledge of Examples Uses an example that highlights a concept or
Knowledge of Uses resources that support teaching
And the Big Ones
Explains how the topic fits in the curriculum
Explains why the topic is in the curriculum in the first place.
Explain how to cater for needs based on diversity.
Planning this in STS
The Mahara Template takes you beyond a lesson plan.
Feel free to play with it - it is a tool to make your
pedagogical reasoning visible.
You are not expected to record this level of analysis with
every lesson on prac, but you should go through the