Historizing Pedagogy

Pedagogy or ‘Pädagogik’? On the differing trajectories of educational scholarship in the English-speaking and German-speaking world – and why they matter

Dr. Gert Biesta, University of Luxembourg

July 31, 2013


The rise of a language of learning in education, supported by constructivist theories of learning, has radically changed our understanding of teaching and of what it means to be a teacher. From a conception of education that, in a sense, was teacher-centred, we are now in a situation where teachers have literally been side-lined as they have been redefined as facilitators of learning, as designers of learning environments, and orchestrators of learning experiences. In my presentation I will raise a number of questions about this development, arguing that we may have ended up in a situation where we are no longer able to understand what it means to teach and what it means to be a teacher, and are therefore prevented from enacting a conception of education in which teaching matters. In response to this I will argue that there is a need to give teaching back to education. I will not only discuss why this might be so, but will also give a number of suggestions for how we might return teaching to education.


Gert Biesta (www.gertbiesta.com) is Professor of Educational Theory and Policy at the University of Luxembourg. He writes about the theory and philosophy of education and educational research and is particularly interested in relationships between education, democracy and democratisation. His latest book, The Beautiful Risk of Education, will appear with Paradigm Publishers in 2013.

See Poster View Video

The six part Theorizing Pedagogy Seminar Series will explore ‘pedagogy’ as it has been understood historically and as it is lived presently within educational institutions and beyond. Drawing on the thought of curriculum thinkers, indigenous scholars, educational philosophers and cultural theorists, speakers will examine a range of ‘pedagogies’ as they have been construed within diverse disciplinary and wisdom traditions.