Pedagogy is the art or science of being a teacher. This is the modern interpretation. The word comes from the ancient Greek paidagogos, the slave who supervised the education of slave children in the trade into which they were directed. Children who lived under the supervision of Paidagogos were always slaves as no free person took orders from a slave. It was the Paidagogos job to act as a "Drill Sergeant", and ensure that the slaves performed their daily routines as expected by their Master. The word "paidia" refers to children (rather than the Latin pes meaning a foot), which is why some like to make the distinction between pedagogy (teaching children) and andragogy (teaching adults). The Latin-derived word for pedagogy, education, is much more widely used, and often the two are used interchangeably. Pedagogy is also sometimes referred to as the correct use of teaching strategies. For example, Brazilian Paulo Freire, one of the most influential educators of the 20th century, referred to his method of teaching adults as "critical pedagogy". In correlation with those teaching strategies the instructor's own philosophical beliefs of teaching are harbored and governed by the pupil's background knowledge and experiences, personal situations and environment as well as learning goals set by the student as well as the teacher. An academic degree, Ped.D., Doctor of Pedagogy, is awarded honorarily by some American universities to distinguished educators (in the US and UK earned degrees within the education field are classified as an Ed.D., Doctor of Education or a Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy). The term is also used to denote an emphasis in education as a speciality in a field (for instance, a Doctor of Music degree "in piano pedagogy").

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