Pedagogy – The Educator Artist


Subject specific and developmentally appropriate pedagogy (SSDAP) is a phrase that every educator should be familiar with.  While SSDAP is quite the mouthful to say let alone understand, educators that understand understanding are familiar with this phrase.  To begin we will discuss Pedagogy.


Marzano defines pedagogy as, “The Art of Teaching.”

I believe in the unlimited potential of every student. At first glance they range, like instructors, from mediocre to magnificent. But potential is invisible to the superficial gaze, it takes faith to discern it, but I have witnessed too many academic miracles to doubt its existence. I now view each student as “material for a work of art.” If I have faith, deep faith, in students’ capacities for creativity and growth, how very much we can accomplish together. If, on the other hand, I fail to believe in the potential, my failure sows seeds of doubt. Students read our negative signals, however carefully cloaked, and retreat from creative risk to the “just possible.” When this happens everyone loses

~ Roland Christensen (The Innovative University, p. 356)

Have you witnessed an amazing teacher?  They are artists that take pride in their work.  The canvas for instructors is not only the students, but also the curriculum.  In fact, some might say that the art is in the design of the experience for the student(s) which, in turn, leads to transformation.  How do teachers practically think about the art of teaching?

Pedagogy includes three parts; the instructional design, the supporting resources, and the classroom management.  When educator artists consider how they are going to teach (instructional design), what they are going to teach with (resources), and the policies/procedures of the classroom (management) then they are using all of the possible colors to paint a colorful environment.  For example, an educator may adapt the resources used to support an individual student need rather than changing any behavioral management plan for a student with ADHD.  Education artists have a variety of tools that assist in deciding how they will teach, what they will teach with, and how they will manage it in a variety of settings.

Subject Specific and Developmentally Appropriate

The pedagogy approach of educator artists will change depending on the grade and subject area they are dealing with.  Elementary, or self contained classrooms are certified to teach a variety of ages, subjects, and developmental levels.  These primary teachers must be an expert at implementing appropriate designs for  a variety of settings.  For example, a teaching will not use the same pedagogy for a second grade English Language Arts lesson as a 7th grade science lesson.  The subject specific and developmentally appropriate pedagogy is critical for effective learning environments.

Educator artists are experts in designing learning experiences appropriate for a variety of subjects and developmental levels while considering how they will teach, what they will use and how the classroom will be managed.

Dr. Nathan Herzog



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