ped·​a·​gog·​i·​cal | \ ˌpe-də-ˈgä-ji-kəl How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) , -ˈgō- How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly pedagogic \ ˌpe-​də-​ˈgä-​jik How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) , -​ˈgō-​ \

Definition of pedagogical

: of, relating to, or befitting a teacher or education pedagogical methods pedagogical concerns

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Other Words from pedagogical

pedagogically \ ˌpe-​də-​ˈgä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pedagogical (audio) , -​ˈgō-​ \ adverb

Pedagogical, Pedagogy, and Pedagogue

Pedagogical and its cognates present us with an excellent example of how different words can come from the same root, retain an almost identical meaning, and yet take on distinctive connotations. Pedagogical, pedagogy, and pedagogue all come from the Greek paidagōgos, originally the word for a slave who brought children to school. But while pedagogical and pedagogy have meanings simply related to teaching or teachers (with no implied judgment), pedagogue has taken on a negative tone, often referring to a dull or overly formal teacher. A similar transformation has taken place with many of the pedant- words in English. A pedant originally denoted simply "a tutor," but now tends to mean "one who makes a show of knowledge." Pedantic formerly meant "relating to teaching," but now is more commonly used to mean "unimaginative or dull."

Did You Know?

Pedagogical, which has the somewhat less common spelling variant pedagogic, was coined in the early 17th century from a Greek adjective of the same meaning. That adjective, paidagōgikos, in turn derives from the noun paidagōgos, meaning "teacher." The English word pedagogue (which can simply mean "teacher" but usually suggests one who is particularly dull) derives from the same root. Though the words "educational" and "teacher" make the grade in most contexts, pedagogical and pedagogue are useful additions to the class.

Examples of pedagogical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s that our standard curriculum and standard pedagogical approaches don’t work. Natalie Wexler, Forbes, "Don’t Blame Privileged Parents For Education Inequity," 6 Apr. 2021 Children’s lit had hauled itself out of the purely pedagogical mode of the Victorian era and finally begun embracing stories aimed at what children might actually like, but not much of it was pointed at the emotional lives of kids. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, "The Emotional Transformations of Beverly Cleary’s Work," 27 Mar. 2021 If such a bill is signed into law, ethnic studies will be the only subject in California with the same pedagogical priority in K–12 classrooms as reading, writing, and arithmetic. The Editors, National Review, "Against California’s Ethnic-Studies Curriculum," 18 Mar. 2021 The basic pedagogical technique of the podcast might be called mutual mansplaining. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Musicological Zest of “Switched On Pop”," 1 Mar. 2021 Their main pedagogical recourse is to distribute boring worksheets, assign individual and group projects with little background information, and to show videos that go unexplained and undiscussed. Gary Marvin Davison, Star Tribune, "Counterpoint: Public school students aren't learning the 'wrong' thing," 17 Feb. 2021 Walz deserves credit for his pedagogical explorations of public-health science. Star Tribune, "Party of 6? Your table is ready," 8 Jan. 2021 In one class, fifth-year pedagogical student Irina Vinogradova is teaching a history lesson on her own. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Moscow kids get teachers on screen, but trainees in class. Will it work?," 19 Nov. 2020 One of the educational scholars who advised Moscow about the experimental plan to throw pedagogical students onto the front lines for the pandemic’s duration is Yefim Rachevsky, director of the Tsaritsyno Education Center in Moscow. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Moscow kids get teachers on screen, but trainees in class. Will it work?," 19 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pedagogical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pedagogical

1595, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of pedagogical was in 1595

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Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pedagogical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of pedagogical

formal : of or relating to teachers or education

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