SPPA encourages you to share your social pedagogic story. Further details below.
School of Social Work, Care and Community, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
By: Lowis Charfe, Course Leader, BA Hons in Social Pedagogy, Advocacy and Participation and a qualified social worker
I am a qualified social work with 12 years experience of working with young offenders and care leavers. I am also a qualified teacher and have an MA in Contemporary Practice With Children and Young People. I am working towards my professional Doctorate.
Overview of project or work
Here at UCLan along with colleagues and ThemPra, we have developed an Introduction to Social Pedagogy module that students can take as an optional module. I have also helped develop, teach and now manage the new BA Hons in Social Pedagogy, Advocacy and Participation which started in September of this year. We are also thrilled that the university has just agreed to run an MA in Social Pedagogical Leadership starting in Sept 2018.
My main job is teaching social pedagogy, advocacy and participation to students and supporting them to apply their learning to their direct practice, as many of them are working either in social work or social care.
I have taken two groups of students to Denmark to visit the universities in Copenhagen and Arhus where we had taught sessions from the staff in the social pedagogy department. We also visited a number of projects who employ social pedagogues and talked to them about their roles. Once of the projects was a circus project that taught children and young people circus skills as a way of forming relationships and building self-confidence. A large number of these children were refuges or asylum seeking children, it was a fascinating project and we even got to try out some circus skills!
We are also involved in a European project aimed at developing awareness of social pedagogical practice across Europe. Along with eight other European universities we are representing the UK (a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest, but much friendlier) and talking about the developments around social pedagogy here in the UK. Each university is producing short videos and learning materials to help people across Europe get an idea of how social pedagogy is used in the different countries.
Keep an eye out for the opportunity to join the MOOC project towards the end of the year.
How do the values and principles of social pedagogy influence your day to day practice?
Relationships are a key part of being able to support people to learn. So social pedagogy is a key part of my role as a lecturer. Every student is on their own personal journey and will learn in different ways, therefore using the Dimond model is an important part of my work.
Also education should be fun and exciting and teaching in an experiential way means that students not only have fun but also are able to think about what they learn and how they can use this in their work.
Can you give one or two examples of practice where social pedagogy has been particularly effective?
Seeing our students grow and develop during their time on the course is brilliant. Using the 3P’s, I have been able to build really strong personal relationships with the students but within professional boundaries which has also helped me learn as much from them as hopefully they have from me.
How would you evaluate the usefulness of social pedagogy in your setting? How do you know?
Its very useful and has made me enjoy teaching even more.
What are the advantages and drawbacks of social pedagogy?
The advantages are that it helps you think in a much more creative way and you are prepared to try new things and have a go.
The draw back is that somethings you are fighting against systems that are not helpful or don’t support a social pedagogical way of working. It can feel like you need a lot of energy to keep going but then seeing the positive impact and getting together with other likeminded people at things like the SPDN, remind you that you have to keep challenging systems.
What would your message be to someone new to social pedagogy?
Come with an open mind and be prepared to try and step outside of your comfort zone.
We want to hear about your work in social pedagogy
We know there are many exciting projects inspired by social pedagogy happening across the country and we would like to begin to capture them and share them on the SPPA website.
Tell us about your social pedagogic story by downloading the SPPA Case studies for social pedagogic practice in the UK form (Word). Alternatively, we can also arrange a Skype/ video call interview with you which will be recorded and uploaded on the website.
If you have photo/s to accompany your case study, please send it to us and we’ll use it for the website and other SPPA marketing materials.