Teaching Quality is the Big Factor in Student Learning

Some reflective Questions
If you are asked the following questions by a teaching colleague, what would be
your response?:
• What exactly is Pedagogy?
• What teaching/pedagogic approach should I use for this module?
• What are the most effective teaching methods and why?
• Are there different types of pedagogies?
• What a signature pedagogy and how is this different from other pedagogies?
• How might I decide what are the best instructional methods to use?
There definitely is an
Educational Psychologists Picnic Basket
Teaching Styles
Learning Experience
Differentiated Instruction
Signature Pedagogy
Pedagogic Approach
Teaching Approach
Teaching Philosophy
Learning Design
Instructional Strategy
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Learning Styles
Many of these terms are often used interchangeably; some may not
even be useful in todays context – we need to have
a Best Common Understanding and Language for SP’s context
Educational Philosophy. Aims & Curriculum
• Educational Philosophy & Aims (are essentially concerned with the desired outcomes of
education; often reflect view s on ‘the good society’, ‘educated person’, ‘citizenship’)
• Our Vision and Mission, Holistic Education and Graduate Attributes are very much philosophy and aim orientated, as
they reflect valuations about what our students should be like to be productive citizens (in Singapore)
• Curriculum is essentially ‘an educational offering’ created to meet desired educational aims at outcome
level – (e.g., Competencies, Learning outcomes, Objectives – all similar in meaning):
• All curriculum offerings typically involve the following components (Learning Outcomes, Content Knowledge,
Instructional Strategy, Assessment , Learning Spaces, Supporting Resources), which are systematically organized to
meet the Learning outcomes in the most effective and efficient ways
• Curriculum can be framed at a macro level (e.g., secondary school curriculum), programme level (e.g., science
curriculum) or micro level (e.g., short course on home safety for domestic helpers in Singapore)
• The design of a curriculum often reflects philosophy as noted above – hence a range of Curriculum Models have
been developed across a range of educational contexts. However all will have these key components, though the
form and emphasis may vary greatly, based on philosophy, aim and context – illustrated in the following slide
Broad Curriculum Models: Guiding the Curriculum design
• Curriculum models help designers to systematically map out the rationale
for the use of particular teaching, learning and assessment approaches
• The curriculum is then structured based on the key principles of the model
The main curriculum models fall into two broad categories:
• Product Models:
 focus on clear out comes (e.g., Outcomes based, Standards based, Competency based)
• Process Models:
 Focus on the process of learning, types of activities and experiences (e.g., Inquiry-based
learning, PBL, CBL)
• Our CDIO curriculum Model (this can also be called a framework – which is
a term typically used for a large scale curriculum model), combines both a
focus on product and process. It also reflects our educational philosophy
and aims – captured in our Vison, Mission and Graduate Attributes.
Making sense of Pedagogy and related terms: Historically there has
been much change and confusion in the use of the term
• The term pedagogy is derived from the Greek words paid, meaning “child” and agogus meaning “leader of.”
Essentially it refers to the teaching of children.
• More recent definitions have dropped the reference to child and applied it more generically to “the principles,
practice, or profession of teaching” or “the activities of educating or instructing.”
• Pedagogy has also been contrasted with the term andragogy (Knowles (1973), which focuses on the
teaching of adult learners.
• The better evidence suggests that Andragogy has limited uses – while there are differences its more motivationally and
experience level based (e.g., adults have a clear focus on what they want to learn and why: kids are told to learn stuff) than
differences in the actual learning process (well after 15 years of age – post cerebral maturation)
• Pedagogy has also evoked much debate over the decades in terms of adequate definition. Approaches
to pedagogy have gone through various phases, focusing on such aspects as ‘teaching styles’,
‘paradigms of learning’, ‘models and methods of teaching’ and ‘the context of teaching’. As Mortimore
(1999) pointed out:
“Pedagogy has been seen by many within and outside the teaching profession as a somewhat vague
concept” (p.228)
• He suggests that pedagogy is most usefully conceived as:
“…any conscious activity by one person designed to enhance learning in another” (p.3)
A Suggested operational definition of Pedagogy
The science and art that informs how we create optimal learning experiences for
the students we teach
This involves organizing the key curriculum components (e.g., learning outcomes,
content knowledge, instructional system, assessment, learning spaces, and
supporting resources) based on:
Validated knowledge on how human learn best
Research on what methods work best, how and in what contexts (e.g., what the
best teachers actually do in terms of their human conduct and interactions with
NOTE: while there are universal principles here, they must always thoughtfully
contextualized to the profile of the learning group and situated context
Health Warning: Conflation
• A deep read through the literature and surfing the net (“The Cult of the
Amateur” – as Andrew Keen wrote) shows massive conflation of these
terms: hence we do what?
• Some key terms include the following:
• Teaching strategy; Instructional strategy; pedagogic strategy, Learning Design
• Teaching methods; Instructional methods; teaching techniques
and tools
Teaching styles, Learning styles (ok you can get rid of these –
not valid or useful in the modern context)
• Make some thoughtfully choices and agree their coverage and scope – but
recognize that some may be used interchangeably
Instructional Strategy (Teaching Strategy/Pedagogic Strategy, Learning
Design/ Instruction methods, techniques and tools)
• This refers to the overall plan for creating the student learning experience to
promote the desired outcomes for a learning group.
It typically involves a pedagogically driven selection and combination of Instructional Methods,
Learning Activities and Learning Resources.
• Instructional methods are, in the broadest sense, teacher directed planned structures for creating a particular type
of learning experience, directed towards meeting certain learning outcomes. The main feature of any method is
that it provides the ‘how to’ for achieving the acquisition of certain knowledge or skills.
• Learning activities are specific performance-based tasks used to engage students actively in the learning process,
again with the intention of contributing to the attainment of desired learning outcomes. Activities are usually used
in unison with methods, and can sometimes refer to the same thing. For example, cases are considered a method
of instruction, but the actual case is an activity in itself.
• Learning Resources are essentially anything else beyond specific methods and activities that are used to support
the learning process. At a more macro level, this will involve Learning Spaces and all the facilities and equipment
necessary for supporting desired learning, e.g., classrooms, laboratories, online facilities, etc., as well as everyday
teaching and learning aids such as presentation slides, multimedia and hand-outs)
• NOTE: Teaching techniques and Tools (e.g., mnemonics, mind-mapping, thinking tools) are often used
interchangeably. I tend to frame them under the umbrella term of resources They are sometimes thrown in with
methods or strategies – but then we are back in the conflation problem
Example: Unpacking PBL as Method
• Teaching Philosophy, Aim & Curriculum (e.g., desired educational purpose and beliefs about
learning, curriculum design)
• Good thinking and working collaboratively in solving real world problems are key requisites for work and citizenship
• Students learning is best attained through focusing on the development of key cognitive processes and learning skills rather
than the more formal acquisition of content knowledge (e.g., structured instruction in the traditional forms of knowledge)
• The curriculum is progressively structured around key problems that frame the professional field
• Using the method as an Instructional Strategy
There is no absolute way of using PBL , but the following features are typical of how the process of the method is conducted:
Presentation of problem as a simulation of professional practice or a ‘real life’ situation
Generation of questions and use of thinking skills and tools to explore the problem and plan a course of action that will lead to its
Collaborative research activity to access and explore information sources in order to build up a knowledge base of relevant resources
relating to the problem
Presentations of information found, peer teaching and application of the learning to the problem situation
Review of the problem in relation to new knowledge and evaluation of the learning process
• NOTE: when PBL becomes the main/only pedagogy (e.g., Signature Pedagogy’- such as at RP) the method
takes on the characteristics of a full blown educational philosophy . We should be very cautious of this –
what is RP doing now?
The Basis for Designing Effective Instructional
• “There are systematic and principled aspects of effective teaching, and there is a
base of verifiable evidence of knowledge that supports that work in the sense
that it is like engineering or medicine”
(Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2006, p.12)
“..it is teachers using particular teaching methods, teachers with high expectations for all students,
and teachers who have created positive student-teacher relationships that are more likely to have
the above average effects on student achievement” (p.126)
(From Visible Learning, John Hattie, 2009)
Pedagogic Approach: Evidence-based Practice
“It is hard to conceive of a less scientific enterprise among human endeavours. Virtually
anything that could be thought up for treatment was tried out at one time or another, and,
once tried, lasted decades or even centuries before being given up. It was, in retrospect,
the most frivolous and irresponsible kind of experimentation, based on nothing but trial and
error, and usually resulting in precisely that sequence” (p.159)
The medical profession before the drive for evidence-based practice
(Thomas, 1979, p.159)
Teaching, if it is to have any real credibility as professional activity,
must adopting a similar evidence-based approach to practice
Evidence-based practice is consistent with the operational definition of
pedagogy outlined in Slide 6 – and constitutes a highly defendable best frame on
Pedagogic Approach.
Example of how some methods have high effect sizes on
Student Attainment (Hattie’s meta-analysis )
Mean effect
Students getting feedback on their work from the teacher or from
themselves (self-assessment or from peers or some other sources.
Note: some feedback has more effect than others. For example, peer
assessment is 0.63 and self-assessment is 0.54
Whole-class interactive teaching (direct instruction)
A specific approach to active learning in class, which is highly teacher led, but
very active for students. This involves summaries reviews and a range of
active learning methods, including questioning
Strategy training
Explicit teaching of subject-specific and general study and thinking skills,
integrated into the curriculum
Cooperative learning
Specific teaching methods such as jigsaw that give students responsibility for
learning and teaching each other
Challenging goals for students
Giving students a summary in advance and a purpose for the learning
Good Pedagogy and ‘Signature Pedagogies’
While we are now in a position to design Instructional Strategies from a strong evidence-base, the
choice of what are the most appropriate methods (or combination of methods) depends on a
number of key factors (e.g., the types of learning outcomes to be developed, the maturity and prior
knowledge of the student group, resource availability)
As Bransford (1999) pointed out:
“Asking which teaching method/technique is best is analogous to asking what tool is best – a hammer, a
screwdriver, a knife, or pliers. In teaching, as in carpentry, the selection of tools depends on the task at
hand and the materials one is working with” (p.22)
Hence for some programmes, there may be a dominant method (or methods combination), that is most
appropriate for structuring the instructional strategy as it reflects what professional do in real work contexts
(e.g., case-based learning; studio-based learning). It has become vogue in some quarters to refer to this as
‘Signature Pedagogies’.
However, this is always underpinned by good pedagogy (evidence-based) and the creative design and
competence of teachers to make it work in practice.
Cake Analogy
Signature Pedagogies
Pedagogic Literacy

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