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."

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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 Sometimes the two converge in advocating the editing out of racist content that is deemed too upsetting to be worth the pedagogical benefits. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 8 June 2021 With the sunset of the pandemic, educators now perceive that education in a post-pandemic world must amalgamate the advantages of online instruction with important pedagogical goals associated with in-person teaching. Blake D. Morant, Forbes, 20 May 2021 To spend ten minutes with Sudowrite is to recognize that the undergraduate essay, the basic pedagogical mode of all humanities, will soon be under severe pressure. Stephen Marche, The New Yorker, 30 Apr. 2021 It’s that our standard curriculum and standard pedagogical approaches don’t work. Natalie Wexler, Forbes, 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, 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, 18 Mar. 2021 The basic pedagogical technique of the podcast might be called mutual mansplaining. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 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, 17 Feb. 2021

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

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pedagogical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for pedagogical



English Language Learners Definition of pedagogical

formal : of or relating to teachers or education


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