The Content Pedagogy Sweet Spot

Last night in GRAD-602, we had our class explore how to develop and grow knowledge about teaching within their own discipline, opening up the idea that knowledge about teaching is in fact its own unique domain.

We had the class in small groups examine a series of four snapshots of teaching situations and try to (1) infer the subject matter being taught, and (2) infer the teaching approach being used.


We then asked them to determine the connection between the subject matter and the teaching approach.  There was some fence sitting, but most felt that the content drove the approach.  We then used a series of vignettes to illustrate cases where a single set of approaches to teaching and an understanding of content just did not work for all situations or all students…which then led us to discussion about what Lee Shulman called Pedagogical Content Knowledge, or PCK.  Shulman suggested that this is:

(1) knowledge of how to structure and represent academic content for direct teaching to students;
(2) knowledge of the common conceptions, misconceptions, and difficulties that students encounter when learning particular content; and
(3) knowledge of the specific teaching strategies that can be used to address students’ learning needs in particular classroom circumstances

This morning, Laura Gogia and Dr. Enoch Hale sat down with me to continue discussing this “sweet spot” as Enoch noted.  Have a listen to our podcast:

Enoch will be back in our class next week.  His opening challenge to our students – “It is impossible to “cover” content.”  What are your thoughts …

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