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. 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 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.
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 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...
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