Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

Pedagogy can be viewed as a process of accompanying people and bringing flourishing and relationship to life (animation); caring for, and about, people (caring); and drawing out learning (education). Here Mark K Smith explores the core processes of social pedagogy.

Introducing social pedagogy

There has been a growing interest in social pedagogy in the UK and north America. The term is often used to describe work straddling social work, social care and education. It embraces, for example, the activities of youth workers, residential and day care workers (with children or adults), informal and specialist educators within schools, community educators and workers, and play and occupational therapists.

More holistic and group-oriented than dominant forms of social work and schooling, social pedagogy (sozial pädagogik) has its roots in German progressive education, and in action to tackle social problems in Britain and the United States. The development of work with young people, and the emergence of university and social settlements, are classic nineteenth century examples of this. It also draws on the work of educational thinkers and philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, John Dewey and Maria Montessori (Eriksson, and Markström 2003).

These traditions of practice have led to ways of working that focus on flourishing, relationships and the integrity of social pedagogues. Along with this has been an emphasis upon social pedagogues taking their place alongside people, and accompanying them on their journeys.

Pedagogy can be seen as a process of accompanying people and:

  • working to bring flourishing and relationship to life (animation)
  • caring for, and about, people (caring); and
  • drawing out learning (education).
animate-care-educate

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