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#33387 - 02/16/06 06:27 PM Towards a Philosophy of Teaching
Jason Moderator Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
The word pedagogy comes from the Greek “paidagogos” (παιδαγωγός), a word used to describe a person who led children to and from school. A good teaching philosophy is then a statement of where and how you intend to lead your students.

One teacher may see a love of music and fellowship as the goal, so that person’s teaching would incorporate group activities and exposure to a wide range of musical styles. Another teacher may see music as a means of personal expression, so that person may concentrate on developing performance and compositional skill. Yet another approach may see art as a discipline with a rich tradition and history that usually involves some kind of training regimen.

While all good teaching will probably touch on all aspects of the above, your teaching will undoubtedly focus more on some aspects than others. Much of this might also be a result of where you yourself have been – after all, one cannot lead someone to a place they do not know. If you’ve not experienced strict conservatory training, then you might have difficulty prescribing the kind of regimen necessary to prepare a student for one. This is not to say that only concert performers can teach people to perform; after all, one of the most famous and well-respected violin teachers of the 20th century, Dorothy DeLay, was not herself a concertizing violinist. But Dorothy DeLay was intimately familiar with the world of professional classical violin playing. Likewise, you wouldn’t necessarily need to be an adept improviser to teach jazz effectively, but you would need an avid listener and be familiar with the styles and basic techniques.

Another question we might as is: Who are we leading? Teaching a 5-year old beginner is different than teaching a 35-year old beginner. Teaching a child whose parents are looking for enjoyable enrichment is different than teaching a child whose parents are interested in building discipline and skill. Teaching one person is different than teaching eight, and so on…

So there you have it – the beginnings of a good philosophy. Who are you leading and where are you leading them? The answer depends on who you are, who your students are, and who you’d like to help them become.

Now that we’ve explored the who and the where, we have to tackle the question of how. I hope to visit that question in a few weeks with “The Tools of Pedagogy.” Until then, happy teaching!


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

#33388 - 02/17/06 08:11 AM Re: Towards a Philosophy of Teaching
Musical Mom Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 07/26/05
Posts: 70
Loc: Dakotas
Thank you Jason for this insightful thread. I look forward to hearing more in the tools of pedagogy!

#33389 - 02/17/06 08:56 AM Re: Towards a Philosophy of Teaching
keynote88 Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/30/03
Posts: 328
Me too! I can't wait! Thanks for the information on pedagogy! I appreciate it!



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