Interprets Social Pedagogy As Being Education Education Essay

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Social Pedagogy is described by Mollenhauer (1964) as being a 'function of society'. According to Böhnisch (1997), the basic idea of social pedagogy is to "promote people's social functioning, inclusion, participation, social identity and social competence as members of society. Its particular terms of reference apply to the problems people have in integration and life management in different phases of the lifespan." (citied HansUwe Otto 2006)

Social pedagogy according to Cannan et al (1992: 7374), can be represented as "a perspective, including social action which aims to promote human welfare through childrearing and education practices; and to prevent or ease social problems by providing people with the means to manage their own lives, and make changes in their circumstances." (citied Smith 2009)

Social pedagogy offers many practical and accessible concepts that describe how social pedagogy can be applied. Practice varies depending on the group of people being worked with and the environment in which this work is taking place.

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Social Pedagogy is more to do with attitude and aims regarding how practice is approached rather than what is done; "It is underpinned by core values and humanistic principles, which emphasise people's strengths, the importance of including people into the wider community, and aim to prevent social problems," (citied Juha Hämäläinen 2003) being flexible but consistent with regards to values and attitude is a key necessity.

In regards to the situation described in the case study and the impact it has created on the social dynamics within the community, social pedagogic action is a useful tool to be utililised in this situation : "pedagogical action aspires to changing society by influencing the personal in society, that is peoples' morals and culture in comparison to political action, which strives towards a goal by affecting the external elements of society, that is, structures, institutions and legislation." (Citied Juha Hämäläinen 2003; 3; 69)

As a Social Pedagogue, working for a charity organization which focuses on children and young people's wellbeing, it is necessary to design a community intervention that will offer support to children and their families.

Cameron, C. & Boddy, J. (2005,) state that Pedagogues often describe themselves as working with "heart, head and hands". The heart is a reference to the closeness of social relations that can develop between workers and young people. Having "compassion for and empathy with a persons situation" Cameron (2004.)

The head refers to the use of reflective skills and theory to help assess the appropriate kind of action depending on the particular circumstances. A pedagogue " rejects universal solutions and accepts a multiplicity of possible perspectives, depending on personal circumstances, particular dynamics and events and sources of support….it requires both an intuitive and a systematic synthesis of information, emotions and, critically, knowledge gained from study." (citied Cameron 2004.)

The hands refer to the involvement in the practical aspects of daily life, "including the use of creative and practical skills as a medium for shared activities for developing social relations and providing educational opportunities". (citied Cameron, C. & Boddy, J. 2005.)

Productive intervention can be achieved by working with the community collectively, with "heart, head and hands", challenging oppression and tackling inequality and by doing so, bringing about social change and justice, aiding them to adapt to the situation that they as a community now find themselves in.

According to the FCDL(2009), community development "is a long-term value based process which aims to address imbalances in power and bring about change founded on social justice, equality and inclusion." It seeks to engage communities actively in making sense of the issues that affect their lives, setting goals for improvement and taking action through empowerment and participative process. It enables people to organise and work together to: "identify their own needs and aspirations, take action to exert influence on the decisions which affect their lives and improve the quality of their own lives, the communities in which they live, and societies of which they are a part."(citied FCDL 2009)

The SCCD (2001) states that it is external experts whom seem to have the most influence over change within the community, often resulting in a "development process that is unsustainable, unfair and of little relevance to those directly affected" however, by applying social pedagogic action ie "working with communities first and recognising their interests, expertise and experience as the basis for development., the result will be equitable, relevant and sustainable change."

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As stated earlier, social pedagogy offers many practical and accessible concepts and theories that can be utilised in designing and implementing intervention As citied in THEMPRA (2009), the above concept relates to the 'Diamond Model' in that, "as human beings we are all precious and have a rich variety of knowledge, skills and abilities and given the right, every person has the potential to shine." Based on the assertion that 'within the community there is a wealth of knowledge and experience,' utilising this in a creative way could result in high levels of participation , which can then be channelled into collective action in order to achieve the communities' desired goals.

There are many different stages of intervention required in order to collectively bring about social change and improve quality of life. As a social pedagogue my goals would be to develop working relationships with communities and organisations, encourage people to work with and learn from each other, work with people in communities to plan for change and take collective action, work with them to develop and use frameworks for evaluation, develop community organisations and reflect on and develop my own practice and role.

Tasks typically involve:

identifying community issues, needs and problems;

developing new community-based programmes and resources;

evaluating and monitoring existing programmes;

enlisting the cooperation of government bodies, community organisations and sponsors;

helping to raise public awareness on issues relevant to the community;

providing leadership and coordination of programmes;

acting as facilitator to promote self-help in the community;

preparing reports and policies;

networking to build contacts and fundraising;

developing and agreeing to strategies;

liaising with interested groups and individuals to set up new services;

mediating between opposing parties;

recruiting and training paid as well as voluntary staff;

planning, attending and coordinating meetings and events;

overseeing the financial management of a limited budget;

encouraging participation in activities;

challenging inappropriate behaviour and political structures;

administrative work. (citied CDX 2009)

According to the FCDL, there are five key values required to achieve the above tasks, these being: "Equality and Anti-discrimination, Social Justice, Collective Action, Community Empowerment and Working and Learning Together." Working with these values and practice principles may help in overcoming the obstacles that may present themselves due to social dynamics and tensions involved in community relationships, these being the bi- product of impact of the closures on the local community.

It would be reasonable to suggest that the closure of what has been deemed such a fundamental necessity, (with the local economy relying heavily on its existence for employment), is responsible for creating a sense of loss, distress, uncertainty and perhaps even a lack of mistrust and loss of faith amongst the community. A pedagogue, however, "doesn't seek to impose solutions or structures, or to provide services or events for people, it is about working with people to define and deal with problems, and assert their interests in decision-making." (citied CDX 2009)

The first objective therefore would be to try and restore the negative emotions that may have arisen. By taking the time to get to know the people and their community and by listening to their hopes, aspirations and needs, it is possible to restore faith and build trust.

Each community has different identities and cultures and reaching out to all members of a community is an inclusive process, respecting and valuing difference and diversity involves out reach to marginalised people so that oppressive and discriminative attitudes are abolished, community networks are strengthened and confidence and learning increased.

By promoting the participation of all members of the community ensures that all perspectives are considered and people are more able to have a collective voice in decision making processes thus creating a sense of value and self worth within the community which helps create a positive outlook on the future.

Theoretically this could be perceived as being relatively straight forward, however in order to gain participation from all members of the community it would be reasonable to suggest that they themselves need to get to know one another so that they may pull together collectively. This basically involves getting the community involved in anything that will bring them together and play a part in facilitating the break down of barriers. It may encourage people to overcome any fears, prejudices and attitudes which have restricted their participation and limited their self-esteem.

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Ways of doing this may include getting schools, churches and community more involved and supportive of one another, placing more emphasis on community celebrations and by bringing people together to facilitate the community through events such as parties, community plays, lunches, creative/ art/ music workshops, sporting events, fund raising events etc. Through involvement and participation in community activities, they may acquire and rediscover talents, skills, knowledge and understanding which enable them to take on new roles and responsibilities. This contributes to life-long learning by creating opportunities for reflection and evaluation of experience.

Having a more unified community would aid the process of "Carrying out a participatory appraisal" (Citied CDX.) This would involve the participation of the community to look at what is going on in their area and find ways to collectively improve community life.

Replacing "the vacuum caused by unemployment" means addressing the community's economic development in order to attain a shared wealth and focusing on social and service development, which would result in a caring community. By empowering the people within the community, and focusing on positive action collectively, the community becomes one that is influential, fair and just, creative and constantly learning, improving and developing.

The 'participatory appraisal' is a tool that can be used to found the goals and long term objectives of the community. 'Evaluation' and 'dissemination' according to SCCD, " are fundamental to community development." Evaluation should have the values and commitments of community development at its heart,whilst focusing on the broader picture i.e. the contribution to meeting long term objectives. Goals need to be planned for and evaluated. They should be realistic and beneficial to the development of the community with measurable outputs. They should "be imaginative, creative and enabling, encouraging all involved to fully participate..… be part of accountability to the wider community and challenge discriminatory and oppressive policies and practice and seek to overcome inequality and disadvantage." (citied SDCC)

For example, it may be decided that due to the 'vacuum caused by unemployment,' an information service is required. Utilised effectively this may empower people to attain valuable information so that they may claim their rights and make informed decisions regarding their personal welfare. It may also provide a service associated with education and career development which would enable them to broaden their horizons in respect of alternative job prospects. A youth club would facilitate youths making new friends and encourage community spirit within the younger generation, them being the future of a more cohesive community. A community plan could result in more public resources being allocated to the priorities of excluded groups.

Evaluation should be a continuous process that helps to assess the effectiveness of community development projects, programmes and policies, "it is a tool to assist planning and development rather than just reviewing the impact of a particular initiative or strategy 'after the event'" (Citied SDCC,) 'experience' being fundamental in effectively informing future planning and development.