Social Pedagogy

Social Pedagogy

Social pedagogy As an idea social pedagogy first started being used around the middle of the nineteenth century in Germany as a way of describing alternatives to the dominant models of schooling. However, by the second half of the twentieth century social pedagogy became increasingly associated with social work and notions of social education in a number of European countries. Social pedagogy is based on humanistic values stressing human dignity, mutual respect, trust, unconditional appreciation, and equality, to mention but a few.

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It is underpinned by a fundamental concept of children, young people and adults as equal human beings with rich and extraordinary potential and considers them competent, resourceful and active agents. Overall, social pedagogy aims to achieve: •Holistic education – education of head (cognitive knowledge), heart (emotional and spiritual learning), and hands (practical and physical skills)? Holistic well-being – strengthening health-sustaining factors and providing support for people to enjoy a long-lasting feeling of happiness •To enable children, young people as well as adults to empower themselves and be self-responsible persons who take responsibility for their society •To promote human welfare and prevent or ease social problems. Practical Concepts of Social Pedagogy Head, Heart and Hands Head Head stands for relevant interdisciplinary pedagogic theories and concepts, historical background and development of pedagogic thought.

Its emphasis is on reflecting personal experiences and transferring learning and theoretical knowledge to practice. Heart The Heart is what you personally put into your work. But by all means it is not that you have to open up everything in your private life to the young person. It is more the idea to share past and present life experiences to build trustful and true relationships with the young person. In this process it is also always the professional part in you that have to decide what you want to share. Hands

Hands can be seen as the result of Head and Heart; it’s being active as a group, learning by doing, using diverse skills and practical methods. Experimental/ informal learning , taking ownership for learning, and feeling social pedagogy in practice (e. g. group dynamics), highlighting positives and being authentic will follow. Head, Heart and Hands cannot be seen a separate processes and will always mix up in your daily work. But all three together will provide you with a wide range of theoretical and practical knowledge.

It is the basis of an excellent work with and for all young people. The 3 P’s: the ‘private,’ the ‘personal,’ and the ‘professional’ To enable yourself to interact with a child or young person, build a relation with the young person, be a role model and be authentic it is always important to be aware of different aspects of your self. Social Pedagogues use the 3 P’s to reflect on their actions and feelings in interacting with young people and colleagues. By using this reflective structure the Social Pedagogue can understand their actions and where they may be coming from.

The 3 P’s enable the Social Pedagogue to maintain an authentic interaction with young people and at the same time protect their “inner self”. The private pedagogue: Is the person who is known to your friends and family. The private pedagogue should not be in any relation with a child in care. The private pedagogue is who you are outside your work. The personal pedagogue: Is who you are within the professional setting. This is where you use ‘yourself’. The personal P is what you offer to the young person.

If you want to build a relation with a young person, you have to put yourself into the relationship so the young person can relate to you. The professional pedagogue: Is what helps you to explain the young person’s actions. For example if the young person is being abusive or challenging towards you or others. The professional P is what enables you to keep on offering contact even if you are being refused, and remain protective of your personal ’P’ too. You also have to bear in mind that the young people might refuse to allow you to protect them since they have been hurt in personal relations so many times.

The professional pedagogue takes this understanding from and builds on various theories and this enables reflection to take place. A professional reflection on your own and others practice enables you to evaluate on the progress you have seen with a young person. If we are to build trust and attachments then surely we need to be able to draw on past experiences. For example our school life to allow the young person to see that many people have had the same problems and that they do not stand alone. Jean Jacques RousseauJohann Heinrich Pet

A brief history of Social Pedagogy Although pedagogy varies across European countries, there are similar roots that have developed into differing strands of contemporary thinking in pedagogy. Hamalainen explains that “historically, social pedagogy is based on the belief that you can decisively influence social circumstances through education” – and importantly, education is seen as a life-long learning process that does not only refer to children but includes educating adults, for instance in order to change their idea of children.

While philosophers of Classical antiquity like Plato and Aristotle discussed how education could contribute to social development, social pedagogy in theory and practice only emerged through the influence of modern thinking in the Renaissance, the Reformation and later during the Enlightenment, when children started to come into the picture of social philosophy. Jean-Jacques Rousseau A major impetus for the current understanding of pedagogy was the educational philosophy of the Swiss social thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778).

Concerned with the decay of society, he developed his theories based on his belief that human beings were inherently good as they were closest to nature when born, but society and its institutions corrupted them and denaturalized them. Consequently, bringing up children in harmony with nature and its laws so as to preserve the good was central for Rousseau’s pedagogic theory. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Rousseau’s educational philosophy inspired ensuing pedagogues, notably Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who refined Rousseau’s thoughts by developing a method of holistic education, which addressed head, heart, and hands. These three elements are inseparable from each other in Pestalozzi’s method and need to be kept in harmony. “Nature forms the child as an indivisible whole, as a vital organic unity with many sided moral, mental, and physical capacities. Each of these capacities is developed through and by means of the others,” Pestalozzi stated. New Education Movement

Pestalozzi’s ideas sparked interest across continental Europe, and particularly the New Education Movement transferred his pedagogic concept into various settings, such as kindergarten (Frobel), school (Montessori, Steiner, Hahn), residential care (Korczak), and informal work with children and young people (Montessori). Thus the New Education Movement contributed to a continental pedagogic discourse, which saw children being conceptualised as equal human beings (“Children do not become humans, they already are”, Korczak), and as competent, active agents (“A child has a hundred languages”, Malaguzzi).

Furthermore, there was increasing recognition for child participation and children’s rights, for instance in the pedagogic concepts of Montessori and Korczak. The New Education Movement led to a spread of pedagogic concepts and ideas across many European countries and made two fundamental points which demonstrate its ambition to use pedagogy for social change: “First, in all education the personality of the child is an essential concern; second, education must make for human betterment, that is for a New Era”.

Alleviating Poverty – From the Pedagogy of the Individual to the Collective Based on the educational ideas of Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Frobel, the German headteacher Friedrich Diesterweg (1790—1866) emphasised the social relevance of pedagogy in fighting social inequalities. For him social pedagogy was “educational action by which one aims to help the poor in society”.

Through the contribution of Diesterweg and other thinkers, such as Friedrich Schleiermacher, pedagogy took on a more social role, one of community education that also occurs in later writers like Paulo Freire and John Dewey. Although pedagogy was early on concerned with changing social conditions through education – Rousseau is most famous for his Social Contract (1762) – its primary focus had been on the individual and his or her upbringing, which Rousseau had aimed to protect from the negative influences of society.

Pedagogic thinkers like Pestalozzi and later on Montessori followed in his tradition of developing a child-centred pedagogy, which was increasingly criticised by an emerging school of thought that promoted a pedagogy focused on the collective, on the community and how to use pedagogic ideas for social betterment. Social Pedagogy One of the first key thinkers, Paul Natorp, “claimed that all pedagogy should be social, that is, that in the philosophy of education the interaction of educational processes and society must be taken into consideration”.

His social pedagogic theories were influenced by Plato’s doctrine of ideas, together with Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative of treating people as subjects in their own rights instead of treating them as means to an end, and Pestalozzi’s method. In the 1920s, with influential educationalists such as Herman Nohl, German social pedagogy was interpreted from a hermeneutical perspective, which acknowledged that an individual’s life and their problems can only be understood through their eyes and in their social context, by understanding how the individual interacts with their social environment.

Following World War II and the experiences within National Socialism that exposed the dangers of collective education in the hands of a totalitarian state, social pedagogy “became more critical, revealing a critical attitude towards society and taking the structural factors of society that produce social suffering into consideration”. Consequently, contemporary social pedagogy in Germany is as a discipline linked more closely to social work nd sociology than to psychology. Due to different historical developments and cultural notions, social pedagogy has very different traditions in other countries, although these are connected through the overarching core principles of social pedagogy. And even within one country, there is not the pedagogic approach – within the general discipline pedagogy we can distinguish various approaches.

In my work placement, we would involve the parents of the childen in our school by keeping them up to date with how their child is progressing. We would display the childs work in the school and classroom and we would praise it. We involve children in open discussion. We would promote spiritual understanding by teaching it in religious education. We teach mutual respect and trust in others


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