The difference between good pedagogy, bad pedagogy, and no pedagogy at all

My methodology behind my writing is I do not write a scene unless I know why that scene is going to be awesome, which is why I love tower defence games. From the ramping to the utter bloodshed of an overpowered setup, it’s a perfect Skinner Box for me to throw my whole attention on one thing so my subconscious can bubble away at a plot problem I have without any aware part of my brain trying to meddle in the process. My goal is 2000 words a day so that needs more plot thinking time than the actual typing.

The game I play goes into the hundreds of rounds with the right strategy. I barely made it to 200 if every break cracked my way. So I decided I was going to learn how to play using a method that wasn’t my preferred way of just putting one of every tower on the board and power it up as fast as possible.

A good pedagogy — that is, the way learning takes place is to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to balance killing all the balloons first while still making as many bananas as possible in the early game. Killing all the balloons is the primary focus of the game. Planting as many bananas as possible is the secondary goal considering the primary focus first.

A bad pedagogy would be learning the knowledge and the skills necessary to kill all the balloons and plant as many bananas as possible. Both are important, but the learner isn’t taught what the primary focus *is*. They can learn the knowledge and the skills necessary to kill all the balloons and plant as many bananas as possible, but unless they know that one is far more important than the other, they can still learn perfectly and still fail because the pedagogy did not support them for success.

And no pedagogy at all would be just doing what the people who know how to play the game from the foundational levels up would do and just hope for the same success.

Imagine my surprise when the UBC’s “pedagogy” was exactly the same as my first attempts at just repeating what I was seeing done in a video game. It took me three or four rounds to realize if I didn’t understand why I was doing what I was doing and that was the problem. I was following techniques, not actually learning how to do it myself. I’m sure the UBC thinks following instructions is the same as learning without needing to explain why each step matters and what exemplars look like.

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