What’s my title? Teacher, performer, learner?

My name is Jeremy and I’m a teacher / performer

Sharing knowledge and co-creating comes very naturally to me. I am by nature and by nurture a co-creator. I started accompanying other musicians at quite an early age and trained as a collaborative pianist, winning a national prize performing with (now Sir) Simon Keenlyside. I’ve worked with conductors, actors, singers, musicians, and most particularly with singing teachers for more than 40 years.

I also love teaching, sharing information and helping people refine their view of the world and express their talents as individuals. I’ve been a teacher for at least 35 years, and Gillyanne and I have co-taught almost on a daily basis since 1996.

So does my title teacher / performer tell the whole story?

Well, there are some new/old buzzwords being bandied about in education-speak at the moment. Pedagogue, Andragogue and Heutagogue. All three refer to the teacher / pupil relationship but have very different meanings.

Teacher as pedagogue?

In the voice training world, the term vocal pedagogy has come to represent “the study of the art and science of voice instruction” (thanks Wikipedia). A google search for the term vocal pedagogy brings up 199,000 examples. Many expert teachers and writers on singing technique think of themselves as pedagogues.

OK, so I’m a pedagogue?

Well, Collins English Dictionary has the most favourable definition of the word pedagogue: someone who likes to “teach people things in a firm way as if they know more than anyone else”. Trust me, that really is the most favourable definition…

Most dictionaries define a pedagogue as a teacher who is boring, forceful, pedantic, stiff and “the teacher that time forgot” who uses “handouts from twenty years ago, standing in that same spot, year after year, saying the same things” (a blunt definition there from Vocabulary.com).

The word comes from the Greek words “pedo” meaning child, and “agogos” meaning leader. So a pedagogue leads children by teaching at them. In certain circumstances, this can be a good thing – the younger and more inexperienced your audience is, the more you might need to provide definite, unequivocal information. If you’re teaching a 7-year old to sing, you won’t spend most of the lesson negotiating on which breathing method would work best for a Beyonce song.

But if pedagogy is so didactic and devoid of interaction, what happens when you are teaching experienced adults to enhance their vocal and performing skills? Is that still pedagogy?

Teacher as andragogue?

In 1833 Alexander Kapp coined the phrase Andragogue, from the Greek “andr” meaning “man”. This reference to adult learning was popularised in the 1970s by the American educator Malcolm Knowles. He believed that adults are in essence self-directed learners. They need to know why they’re learning something, to experience it rather than hear about it, and to understand how to apply it (in context or as a relevant problem-solver). So the focus is less on what is being taught (the facts) and more on the how, when and why, and sharing the process.

Larysa Lukianova in her 2014 paper for Comparative Professional Pedagogy says that a pedagogue-andragogue is “the specialist who professionally organizes and conducts adult training and learning, helps create individual programs of training. At the same time, in his/her activity he/she combines different social functions as well. The most typical are to provide the help in renovating the motivation towards learning and professional activity, to combine the content both andragogical and professional activity of his/her learners, to share the methods of supervising adult self-learning.”

Gillyanne and I have always been sharers of knowledge, it’s why we wrote our books, created our DVDs and online training programmes, include many free resources on our website, and it’s why we still run courses and give interviews. It’s also why we have always welcomed questions from teachers and singers, and why we ask the questions ourselves. We love helping people discover more about their own knowledge and skills, and part of our mission is to support our teachers in creating their own courses, write their own books and share their own knowledge.

So I’m an andragogue?

Teacher as heutagogue?

The arena for teaching is changing, and it’s partly due to the reality in the world of Generation Z. The astoundingly fast rise of social media as an educational tool means that information is available worldwide, 24/7, from almost any source. Everyone has an opinion, anyone can become an “influencer” online and can express that opinion to 15 million followers. Because of this, education is moving from “where can I find the information” to “how do I know which information to take in?”.

“How do I learn?” has become a fundamental question, and the adult learner now looks for guides who can support their particular learning processes.

Heutagogy (pronounced Hyoo-tuh-godjee) was coined by Hase and Kenyon in 2000 from the Greek word heuriskó meaning “to find out by practice and experience”. Features of heutagogy include continuous self-reflection on the learning process, teamwork and open communication, creativity in applying skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations, an adaptable and flexible approach and positive values (Kenyon & Hase, 2000; 2010; Gardner et al 2007).

In the heutagogical model, students find their own problems and solutions, and use the teacher and many others as reference points, guides or clarifiers.

It’s interesting to note that if a heutagogue asks a question and gets an unusual answer, (s)he won’t try to automatically alter the question to fit the answer or belief (the single-loop system, something we sometimes see in vocal training models), but will examine their own beliefs or understanding to wonder whether the unusual answer might be correct given a different viewpoint (double-loop learning outlined in 1974 by Argyris and Schon).

So if the Pedagogue says “Learn this in the order I tell you because it’s good for you”, and the Androgogue says “How can I help you experience what you want to know” and “what’s the context?”, the Heutagogue says “how can I and my colleagues help you create and understand your world?”

It’s time for my confession. My name is Jeremy and I’m a heutagogue.



To book a heutagogical session with Jeremy or Gillyanne online or in person, click here.