The advent of online learning and instructional design brought the classroom onto the web, and with it all manner of teaching: good and bad, coherent and incoherent, networked and disconnected. Whatever pedagogy any given teacher employed in his classroom became digitized. If I teach history by reading from my twenty-year-old notes, or if I lead workshops in creative writing, or if I teach literature through movies, I bring that online and — boom! — I’m a digital pedagogue. Right?

But that’s not right. Not every teacher is a pedagogue. Pedagogy is a scholarship unto itself, a study of learning and the many ways it is fueled — in classrooms, in workshops, in studios, in writing centers — wherever learning is poised to occur. Pedagogy is also different from the study of education. Those with backgrounds in education understand the institution, and its relationship to students, in ways I expect I never will. Pedagogy has at its core timeliness, mindfulness, and improvisation. Pedagogy concerns itself with the instantaneous, momentary, vital exchange that takes place in order for learning to happen. That exchange may be between teacher and student, or between student and student; it can also occur between teacher and teacher, administrator and CEO, journalist and educator. The etymology of pedagogy reveals that leadership is at its core; and thus it is not limited to classroom practice in the same way that it is not limited to institutions of learning.


ThinqStudio is hosting an open discussion of select essays from An Urgency of Teachers for the remainder of January. To be followed by a Zoom session with the authors on Feb. 1st.  Join us this week as we co-read Beyond the LMS by Sean Michael Morris and on Feb 1st with ThinqStudio for discussion.

Annotating Beyond the LMS