"Pedagology:" A New Science of Education for Today's Learners and Schools
"Pedagology" is my name for a new science of education. And it's good for what ails U.S. students, and for what's most lacking in today's schools. It's actually called "Pedagogics," and comes to the resistant shores of U.S. education from the least likely wave-making institution of higher learning in the world, but is none the least significant and paradigm shifting, the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
Dr. George Yonge, Education Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis, has been translating for the last 20 years the groundbreaking research educators at the University of Pretoria have been conducting since 1960, literally building the foundations for a standalone science of education.
Instead of researching education from the perspective of psychology, sociology, biology, and other foundational science-based disciplines, researchers in Pretoria sought to establish the study of education as a foundational study of its own. And over the last 57 years, a set of education-based essential structures and processes have been identified with respect to educating children to adulthood.
The term "pedagogic," as opposed to the more familiar American expression, "pedagogy," refers to the essentials pertaining to the activity of educating, while "pedagogical" refers to the actual study of that activity. The more commonly used term "pedagogy" most often refers to anything pertaining to strategies of teaching. Such general use of this Greek-based term, however, overlooks pre-requisite relationship structures and processes, and ultimately undermines a true understanding of this basic human effort, and renders its chances of success as largely happenstance, the trial and error inconsistency teachers in the trenches have been experiencing for years.
Yonge found what schools of education have always referred to as the "foundations of education," as wholly inadequate for providing fundamental and therefore useful insights into the true nature of properly educating or guiding children to adulthood. He longed for something more than what psychology, sociology, biology, and other traditional "foundations" of education, had to offer.
The emerging qualitatively-grounded studies of education out of South Africa caught his attention and left no doubt in his mind that this new human science called Pedagogics was exactly what he was looking for. In short, he dedicated his career to bringing this new discipline to the attention of the educational world. And as an autonomous science, its findings could then be used to train educators more effectively on how this thing we call schooling should really be done.
Pedagogy: Trust, Understanding, and Authority
As the true foundation of education, Pedagogics' researchers found an essential relationship and process structures that characterize universally every successful teaching-learning/adult-child-education effort. In order for any teaching-learning to be fully successful, these structures not only had to be paid attention to but also developed and maintained specifically over time as well.
The universal essence of every pedagogical event is a set of three mutual-but-qualitatively-different relationship structures: trust, understanding, and authority. Universally present is also a process through which these basic structures are developed and maintained, and every educational event thereafter carried out: association, encounter, engagement, intervention, return to association, and breakaway.
As we embrace these basic roots of truly educating our kids in the years ahead, how we teach, how we run our classrooms and schools, and how we conduct any other means of teaching this next generation (technologically-assistive personalized learning, etc.) will fundamentally change...for the better.
Imagine what our teaching and our classrooms and schools will look and operate like if we pin our educational understandings on Pedagogics, instead of what other disciplines of study have to offer about the phenomenon we think we know so well. Worldwide, our kids will be emotionally and mentally healthier, and our resulting adult workforce will be more stable and productive in their educational efforts.
More on the details of this new science later. In the meantime, check out Yonge's translations of Van der Stoep, Mentz, Roos, Sonnekus, Landman, and Oberholzer. You will be amazed. Your eyes will be opened. And how you go about teaching will be changed forever. But, don't take my word for it, check for yourselves.