Exploring the theory and practice of social pedagogy
On this page : introducing social pedagogy • social pedagogy arenas • key ideas in social pedagogy • key thinkers for social pedagogy
Introducing social pedagogy
While social pedagogy has been a key organizing idea in many European countries, it has only recently become a focus for exploration in English-speaking countries. It is often used to embrace the activities of youth workers, residential or day care workers (with children or adults), and play and occupational therapists. Social pedagogy can also be used to describe those concerned with community learning. It overlaps considerably with the notion of informal education.
As a practice social pedagogy tends looks to groupwork; association, relationship and community; and to holistic educational processes. It depends very heavily on the character and integrity of the educator and their ability to reflect-in- and -on-action.
For an overview of developments in theory and practice: social pedagogy.
To appreciate social pedagogy we need to get to grips with the nature of pedagogy. Many discussions of pedagogy make the mistake of seeing it as primarily being about teaching.Rather pedagogy needs to be explored through the thinking and practice of those educators who look to accompany learners; care for and about them; and bring learning into life. Teaching is just one aspect of their practice: What is pedagogy?
Some key social pedagogy arenas
Community learning and development
Playwork (in preparation)
Research for practice
Some key ideas for social pedagogy
community of practice
dialogue and conversation
democracy, education for
globalization and the incorporation of education
networks – learning
non-formal and informal education
‘race’, difference and lifelong learning
social exclusion, ‘joined-up’ thinking and individualization
social group work
theories of action
Some key thinkers for social pedagogy
Baden Powell, Robert
Brew, Josephine Macalister
Bruner, Jerome C.
Caldwell Cook, Henry
Eisner, Elliot W.
Follett, Mary Parker
Grundtvig, N. F. S.
Palmer, Parker J.
Pestalozzi, Johann H.
Schon (Schön), Donald
Acknowledgements: The picture ‘Children playing’ is by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget. Reproduced here under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) – http://www.flickr.com/photos/hygienematters/4273036775/.