Case studies


 

 

 

 

 

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.

Submit a social pedagogy case study of your work by downloading the SPPA Case studies for social pedagogic practice in the UK form (Word) and submitting it below. 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.

 

School of Social Work, Care and Community at UCLAN - Introduction to Social Pedagogy

Lowis’ background:

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.

Headliners and South Tyneside Virtual School - A 'learning placement': What can foster carers do to support learning at home?

What previous social pedagogy knowledge or learning does your organisation have?

Social pedagogy was new as a concept to Headliners but staff were briefed about it in preparation for this work. Staff from the Virtual School have participated in social pedagogy training in a variety of different ways.

Please briefly describe your project or work?

Headliners and staff at The Place worked with a group of young people on a media project entitled, ‘What makes a good learning placement?’ We delivered a series of practical and reflective workshops which were set up to encourage young people to reflect on their home environment and consider what helps and supports them to learn at home. Children met once a week for six weeks to answer the question.

This was part one part of a larger study which also interviewed Foster Carers and Designated Teachers.

How do the values and principles of social pedagogy influence your day to day practice?

The work we do with young people is by nature very reflective, and practical. The young people explore issues that affect them in society. We (The Virtual School) pose a question and the young people explore and research the answer. This is done through teaching them investigative Journalism skills coupled with technical skills, such as how to work a camera and interview people. This practical method equips young people with the tools to carry out a successful interactive project and get their voices heard. Children are empowered to take a lead in any given investigation rather than being the subject of one. The platform tends to be through film and photography. These views are then presented to stakeholders and decision makers.

Can you give one or two examples of practice where social pedagogy has been particularly effective?

We taught children the philosophy and principles of social pedagogy then asked them to capture it in their home setting. Children created comic strips where they were able to capture their ideas on learning at home. They were able to articulate examples of ‘common  third’ activities with their foster carers as well as other anecdotes depicting ‘learning’ in its broadest sense.

How would you evaluate the usefulness of social pedagogy in your setting? How do you know?

It is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of social pedagogy as it is an approach or way of working that underpins the work.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of social pedagogy?

The advantages of social pedagogy are in the emphasis on relationships and the concept of learning as being something that happens in many different contexts not just in a lesson or in school. The drawbacks are in evaluating its effectiveness or measuring the impact it has.

What would your message be to someone new to social pedagogy?

Learning can happen anywhere. Social pedagogy can be used in a practical sense when working with young people. Through the use of reflection tools and creative exercises.

'Making for Change' - A project to encourage craftivism (craft + activism) in young people in the Aston and Newtown area of Birmingham

Who was the team supporting this?

Craftspace; Arts Council, England; William A Cadbury Trust; The Roger and Douglas Turner Charitable Trust; Birmingham City Council; a variety of local activists and craft practitioners.

The craft practitioners were: Dauvit Alexander (Jeweller, Birmingham City University), Melanie Tomlinson (Graphics and Metalwork), Danielle Laurent (Paper and Book-maker), Keith Bloomfield (Film-maker, Reel Access), Sarah Corbett (Craftivist Collective); Ben Sadler and Phil Duckworth (Juneau Projects, 3D printing and CAD/CAM); Social engagement experts from the Lighthouse Youth Project, Cliff Hammett (Data), Sheri Carr (Activism) and Sarah Lopez (Youth Facilitation).

Who were the participants?

The 12 participants, aged between 16-19, were drawn from the Aston and Newtown area of Birmingham, an area defined by government as being of “Multiple Deprivation”. Participants (surnames withheld as part of our agreement with the participants):

Jordan, Miles, Asher, Ajai, Jordan, Amar, Jasbir, Renisha, Bobbie, Nikhil, Aneno, Faiza.

What setting do you work in?

Youth work.

What Social pedagogy knowledge or learning did they gain?

All participants gained Level 1 (Bronze) Arts Award. (http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=65)

The aim of the project was to develop an awareness of social justice and actions based around social justice through a variety of practices, including statistical and social research, computer literacy, media awareness and craft-practices.

Please briefly describe your project or work

Over the course of one week, the participants – who broadly did not know each other – formed small groups to address an issue of social justice which was of concern to them; each group chose a different area to explore and produced a craft-based response to their researches into the issues. These responses then formed the core of presentations of the project given to the public on the final day.

How do the values and principles of social pedagogy influence your day to day practice?

The whole project was informed by the values and principles of Social Pedagogy in that it was entirely participant-led. Craftspace, the makers and analysts all worked as enablers, rather than as tutors: at every stage of the project to empower and encourage rather than to be didactic. This approach to Social Pedagogy is embedded in all of the educational and social-enterprise projects with which Craftspace is engaged.

Can you give one or two examples of practice where social pedagogy has been particularly effective?

Making for Change is now in its third year and we are delighted to be able to say that one of the campaigns from 2016 is now an active part of the Birmingham activist scene and has even travelled to Ljubljana. “Tea4Change”, by Mahnaz Begum, seeks to help migrants to integrate into their new surroundings and to talk about their experiences. (http://makingforchange.craftspace.co.uk/uncategorized/tea4change-in-ljublijana-slovenia/)

How would you evaluate the usefulness of social pedagogy in your setting? How do you know?

We feel that Social Pedagogy is extremely useful in rapidly generating results and encouraging young people to engage in the process of improving their lives by letting them see very quickly that they have control of the learning process; this is very different from the school experiences for many of the people we work with.

We encourage participants to keep in touch with Craftspace and to continue to engage with either their own projects (see above) or future projects run by Craftspace. Feedback from this project over the three years we have been running it has been overwhelmingly positive, as has been the feedback about our “Shelanu” Social Enterprise project, which has been running for 6 years.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of social pedagogy?

The advantages overwhelmingly outweigh the drawbacks. The main advantage is that it empowers people to take control of their learning and social engagement, especially within their local environments. It generates a “can do” attitude in the participants. It allows the participants to grow socially and emotionally as well as intellectually.

It could be viewed as a disadvantage that the projects grow organically from the participants – while it is possible to have a direction and a general intent, it is possible that the project might not end up looking the way the organisers would wish.

On rare occasions, it is possible for (a) participant(s) to disrupt the group or to fail to engage.

What would your message be to someone new to social pedagogy?

Don’t be tempted to follow the old, didactic models: trust your participants.