The SPDN in Staffordshire - Stone on 18 June, 2011

Following the great success of the start-off event for the Social Pedagogy Development Network in late November 2009, we met again on Friday, June 18, 2010. This time, the meeting was hosted by Staffordshire County Council, and nearly 80 participants turned up to contribute to the day's theme of exploring how we can jointly develop a coherent UK social pedagogy that builds on domestic traditions, allows rich and colourful diversity and is underpinned by shared principles and values.

To begin with, participants worked out what principles underpin social pedagogy. They provided a very detailed and interesting picture, highlighting the notion of 'Haltung': "It's a stick of rock", one group argued. "If you broke me in half, it'd say 'social pedagogue' on the inside!" Other contributions emphasised the value base and concepts of the 'rich child', the social justice perspective, the holistic approach of using 'head, heart and hands', building positive and meaningful relationships, valuing ongoing reflective practice, social pedagogy's concern with happiness and well-being, and creating a respectful culture by sharing the life-space (click here to view the full list).

The start of the further discussion about connecting social pedagogy to traditions in the UK was made by Prof. Pat Petrie from the TCRU. She uncovered the pedagogic roots in the historic works of Robert Owen, Thomas Barnardo, Emmeline Pethick and Mary Neal, thus reminding us that there are traditional key thinkers that have played a role in the history of the UK by exploring educational solutions to social problems (click here to view the presentation).

The afternoon picked up on Pat Petrie's points and explored in the social pedagogy world café how we can jointly promote a social pedagogy that is built on existing traditions and that connects different professional groups by providing a shared platform for dialogue. All contributions are available for download here ...

If you would like to become involved in the Social Pedagogy Development Network or receive further details, we look forward to hearing from you - all you need to do is email us!