Content and Pedagogy
The Subject Teacher Forum program aims to help teachers understand the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework and use this to understand the integration of ICTs in education. The program also aims to deepening the framework and its application to the educational contexts in Government schools in India.
Elliot W. Eisner declared in 1991 that “Like the systole and diastole of the beating heart, curriculum (content) and teaching (pedagogy) are the most fundamental aspects. ...No curriculum teaches itself, it always must be mediated, and teaching is the fundamental mediator".
Yet, at times in pre-service teacher education (BEd or DEd), it is believed that the student teachers 'already know content' having studied these topics in their own schooling experience, and need to learn 'method' (pedagogy) only. In-service teacher training program is also sometimes seen to be only for 'content' or only for 'pedagogy', as if these are two distinct items. (The NCFTE document says "Most teacher education courses focus exclusively on the methodology of teaching individual school subjects. It is assumed that the teacher trainees have the subject-content knowledge which they would draw upon when required. Hence, teacher education curricula do not engage teacher trainees with subject-content. However, if we want to prepare teachers to present subject-content in developmentally appropriate ways and with critical perspectives it is essential that several theoretical concepts learnt during general education in school and college be revisited and reconstructed. This course also aims to engage student teachers with epistemological and ideological assumptions about knowledge, learner and learning; their implications for curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in school education".
However, Shullman disagreed with the thinking that teachers' subject (content) knowledge and pedagogy were mutually exclusive. He believed that teacher education programs should combine the two knowledge fields. He introduced the notion of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) that includes pedagogical knowledge and content knowledge, (and also curriculum knowledge, knowledge of educational contexts etc).
PCK has two parts:
- Content: Which includes all that the teacher needs to know to teach. This includes actual content (not just facts and definitions but key concept learnings, the ethics of the subject, the social justification/ social implication for the subject and the philosophy of the subject). Content knowledge will make you a scientist, mathematician, or a poet.
- Pedagogy : Which includes all the methods, strategies and techniques that are used to teaching. This includes various technologies, use of various resources, materials, etc. This can be called the “how” of teaching.
Integrating Content knowledge with pedagogical knowledge will make a better teacher, than seeing the two as distinct.
Pedagogy includes all strategies and technologies. But digital technologies have made many many changes possible that were not there before. Earlier, we could only have a candle, and a ball to demonstrate eclipse. Now, if there is a technological possibility is there where the sun, moon and earth can be shown as moving in the screen, what actual classroom strategies can be used will different. Thus digital technology has altered/ presented new ways of representing content which makes it possible for new learning strategies to be developed. New areas of learning can also emerge.
There is a need for a framework to understand the integration of ICTs into teaching-learning. The TPACK framework provides a perspective on how technology impacts content and pedagogy, the two main components of the teaching learning process. The Subject Teacher Forum program design is informed by this framework. In recent workshops with Telangana maths and science teachers, this framework was discussed.