Last post I wrote about the confusion in terminology and understanding of the term Islamic education. This post, I’d like to define an Islamic Pedagogy and how this blog will be framed by it.
The term pedagogy is often referred to simply as the art of instruction. In teaching circles when someone asks about your pedagogy they’re asking about how you teach, your approach, your style, or your method.
But pedagogy is much more than what you see on the surface. Everyone who teaches has a pedagogy (or an approach).
You may not have explicitly thought about it, but your pedagogy is inherently influenced by the way you were taught (either teachers you really liked or disliked), by your experiences and interactions in school as a student.
Perhaps your pedagogy is influenced by your parents, friends, peers, colleagues, by what you’ve read about education, by your life experiences, and last but not least by formal training in pedagogy through a teacher training program.
A pedagogy is also philosophical in the sense that you do things as a teacher because you believe that’s the way it should be done. Each of us who teach (or parent) have educational values that shape our pedagogical approach – we take our students on field trips because we believe in the value of experiential learning.
Or we demand a high level of discipline from our students because we believe learning time should be focused and uninterrupted. Whatever your values are about teaching and learning inherently shape your pedagogical approach.
The piece that I haven’t mentioned yet – at least not explicitly – is that if you agree with me to this point, you agree that we as teachers are influenced by our life experiences.
For Muslim educators who see Islam as a central part of our being – the tarbiyah (nurturing of an Islamic value system), the adab (comportment and etiquette), and the ‘ilm (knowledge about Islam) that we continue to gain shapes our educational values and by virtue defines our pedagogy.
That is the Islamic Pedagogy.
You’ll recall that last post I claimed that this blog is about everything related to Islamic education, schooling, etc.
What I meant, now that I’ve hopefully helped conceptualize this, is that this blog is about Islamic Pedagogy – the educational values and perspectives that are articulated in the Islamic tradition.
What this means is that in this blog the aim is to stimulate conversation about the big philosophical educational questions in relation to the everyday teaching and realities in Islamic/Muslim schools:
Why do we teach? The aims, visions, and aspirations of schools
What should we teach? What should be taught in Islamic studies, what is curriculum integration, and do we have models of these?
How should we teach? What does it mean to teach from an Islamic perspective?
Can you see how by framing our work as Islamic Pedagogy can broaden (beyond just curriculum) and yet be inclusive of all the different types of Islamic schools?