Teacher Trainer

1. Pedagogy as decision-making

Key Concept: Pedagogy

Our broad definition of pedagogy is that it describes how teachers explain the decisions they make in relation to a particular curriculum or body of knowledge (in this case occupational science, engineering and technology) and in relation to a particular student or group of students. It is not 'just what teachers do'.

Pedagogy is about informed decision-making.

Watch our introduction to pedagogy as decision-making

Our definition of pedagogy

Watch the animation, which introduces and illustrates our definition of pedagogy.

More specifically our definition of pedagogy has four elements:

  • content: the knowledge, skills and attributes that students are given the opportunity to learn
  • process: what happens in educational environments to bring about learning
  • knowledge: the knowledge that teachers have about pedagogical content, processes and their possible outcomes, including knowledge about their students and the context in which they are learning
  • decision-making: the processes and actions that help teachers decide what will happen in their classrooms for what purpose.

It is important to be aware that the precise nature of these four elements depends on the context in which a teacher is operating (for instance, their institution or discipline). Teachers must reflect on the importance of context and the impact of their own values on the decisions they make. Pedagogy is not ‘just what teachers do’. They have to be able to explain the decisions they make in relation to a particular curriculum or body of knowledge and in relation to a particular group of students.

The research literature identifies the following six components of effective pedagogy. In order of decreasing strength of supporting evidence these are:

  • content knowledge that is, subject material and how students think about it, including misconceptions;
  • quality of instruction including questioning and assessment, scaffolding;
  • classroom climate for instance student resilience to failure;
  • classroom management including behaviour and resource use;
  • teacher beliefs such as why teachers adopt particular practices and what their theories of learning are; and
  • professional behaviours for example reflection and undergoing professional development.


How does this definition help you evaluate your role as a teacher?

What do you have to prioritise in your teaching for any particular group?