ABSTRACT Malcolm Knowles' theory of andragogy has gained increasing acceptance among nurse educators. Andragogy is espoused as a progressive educational theory, adopted as a theoretical underpinning for curricula and is even considered to be synonymous with a variety of teaching techniques and strategies such as 'problem-based' and 'self-directed' learning. This paper offers a critique of the notion of andragogy which maintains that the distinction created between andragogy and pedagogy is spurious and based upon assumptions which are untenable. It is argued that andragogy has been uncritically accepted within nursing education in much the same way that the nursing process and models of nursing were in their day. Finally, it is claimed that true pedagogy has far more radical, powerful and transformative possibilities for nursing education.