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Kids, Cows, and Community: Prairie Pedagogy

Kids, Cows, and Community: Prairie Pedagogy

September 27, 2019

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

As some of you know, Missy Urbaniak and I have been writing about prairie pedagogy. 

Recently, we shared some of our work with a publisher, and we were asked: “What is your focus, pedagogy or prairies?”  What a great question.

First, let’s start with pedagogy:  What in the world is it?

We come from a tradition which taught that pedagogy was the science of teaching. We all sort of thought that pedagogy was something about a teacher, teaching….probably as she stood in front of a class.  Maybe your image of pedagogy looks or looked something like the photo posted below.

A group of children group in school classroom taking notes while the teacher talks.

Basically, the word, pedagogy, was a “teacher talk” model of education.

The knowledge was all in the teacher’s head.  As she taught, she transmitted her knowledge to the kids’ heads.  The teacher controlled what the kids got to learn.  In the image below, the teacher thinks in squares so the kids need to do the same.

Hopefully, this view of pedagogy is now history.  Our understandings of pedagogy have changed considerably in the last few decades.

Now, we tend to think of pedagogy as something much more interactive, whereby the teacher and students generate, construct, or build knowledge together through problem-solving and/or real-life experiences.

Children and teacher are playing with building blocks in a kindergarten.

Whereas, pedagogy used to be  a one-directional type experience, teacher-to-student, it is now more interactive.  It is model of teacher and students talking together to learn together.

Critical Pedagogy 4th Ed – Welcome to My Real World

So, in answer to the editor, who asked if our writing is more about pedagogy or prairies: We write about pedagogy (interactive, dynamic teaching and learning) which happens to take place in one-and-two room schools are the prairies.

The photo below captures a peak into a more interactive pedagogy, as the students were asking so many questions about that particular book.

Below here is a photo of Missy and some of the students reading together; the students and teacher, Missy, always talk about the content of the book.  I know that when I talk about a book, it helps me understand it better.

The image posted below captures the notion of the interaction inherent in our new understandings of pedagogy, as it captures the back-and-forthing of teaching and learning.

5 Comments

  • Cathe Mccoy

    Reading your brief article was the perfect way to start the day. Love this last image of the interaction! I am so glad you are still teaching and growing your understanding of teaching and learning. I miss you Joan Wink!!

    • Joan Wink

      Cathe, loved our time together teaching and learning. Love hearing from you. You could also write all of these little tidbits about teaching/learning. Love, Joan

  • Janet Towell

    Interesting title and article! I want to know more about prairie pedagogy 😊. Love the photos! I think your last image could also represent the interactions between pedagogy and the prairies. There must be a strong connection between the children, the classroom (teaching and learning) and the environment. Thanks for sharing ❤️.

    • Joan Wink

      That image = a connection between pedagogy and prairies. A-ha, very good!! I think that image could symbolize lots of different interactions….like your who family and dear Buddy. All of the love is going both ways.

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