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What’s in a Name? Social pedagogy and work with young people. Social Science in the City 17 th November 2011 Billie Oliver. What do we mean by social pedagogy?. Social pedagogy is a concept, or way of thinking, which is widely used in European countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
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(Kathy Oxtoby, 2009)
A concept whereby the child is seen as being a social
being, with his or her own distinctive behaviour
and knowledge, and where the social pedagogue
(or children and young people’s professional) works
closely with the individual to enable them to develop
their own potential’.
Historically, only a tiny minority of workers has embraced an ‘open and developmental’ practice.
Youth work in general has been scared rigid by such anarchy.’ (Taylor, 2000:3)
“The knowledge that wider society has of what you do and the respect
with which those in power treat you defines your professional identity.”
“If I had a professional identity (as a PA) I would not have to continue
to explain what a PA is or what we do. A teacher, social worker or nurse
doesn’t have to explain their role because it is well defined – people know
what they do and don’t do – and it doesn’t change from one environment
“People, particularly the general public, do not know what a ‘Personal
Adviser’ is: I am forever explaining.”
“If they have an introduction and they understand about
confidentiality and that you are prepared to talk to them about
anything then that’s probably all they bother about.”
“I would prefer a professional identity that was capable of
conveying more understanding to people in general. However,
keeping it more general can have its advantages for young people
who may feel less stigmatised coming forward to a wide umbrella
“I went from industry, to secondary teaching. I wasn’t happy as a
teacher. I didn’t like that classroom setting. I was more drawn to the
pastoral side and I felt there was a huge gap in provision.
I constantly felt I was letting young people down. “
“I have a long and varied past in employment in industry, but had
done voluntary work. When I was made redundant I decided I was
much more committed to the voluntary sector and got a job within
it. I absolutely loved it. It told me I was much more attracted to
‘social business’. I have always related to the human side of the
“I thought it was very important to develop my role myself – to make me
feel secure. I think it’s a responsibility we have to take on ourselves.
I needed to develop the role in my own style to make me feel secure and
confident with it.”
“Identity is secured by deciding who we are, what we do and what we
do not do – not be dictated to by others and to have them decide what we
do or don’t do and how we will work. I feel what we need to say is, ‘This
is who we are’, ‘This is what we can do and can offer’, etc. I feel we
should stop being ‘wimpy’ about things and say what we are and aren’t
going to do and how we are going to do it. Otherwise we will be