Presentation on theme: "Experiences from the Pilot Projects of ThemPra Sylvia Holthoff Gabriel Eichsteller ThemPra Social Pedagogy Community Interest Company Tell me, and I forget;"— Presentation transcript:
Experiences from the Pilot Projects of ThemPra Sylvia Holthoff Gabriel Eichsteller ThemPra Social Pedagogy Community Interest Company Tell me, and I forget; Show me, and I remember; Let me do, and I understand.
Two approaches to exploring the benefits of social pedagogy for residential child care: Social pedagogy seminars – 6-day course with 12 practitioners from 7 children’s homes in North-West England; Social pedagogue placements – 12 days with a social pedagogue working alongside 3 teams in South England; ‘ Having the opportunity to undertake the social pedagogy pilot scheme has been an enlightening experience. Encompassing a sound theoretical context, alongside a very hands-on experiential training experience has, I believe, given me a greater insight into the benefits of a pedagogic approach. As a senior manager I feel resourced with new tools and an enthusiasm to see a positive change in how residential service provision will be viewed as a service of choice with trained and respected staff.’ (participant of 6-day course)
A more systemic and systematic approach would provide more potential in developing social pedagogy within children’s homes: Training: mixture of intense training followed by direct support for individual homes Involvement: critical mass of ‘champions’, all levels involved Implementation: holistic approach considering every level within a system Networking: maintaining enthusiasm, exchanging experiences about implementation and generating more interest
3-year implementation strategy based on systemic change model providing responsiveness and sustainability in structure and atmosphere with the following elements: Training: 6-day course to provide foundations in social pedagogy Creating a Pedagogic Culture: Ongoing team development to work with teams on process of implementing social pedagogy theory and principles within their context Social Pedagogy Agents: further 2-day course to develop change agents within each team Strategic development forums: various forums encourage all people in the organisations to participate in the systemic change processes, with feedback loops ensuring that forums are connected
Our approach aims to follow social pedagogic principles through our Haltung: Dialogue – exploration between equals Emphasis on creating opportunities for learning (‘challenge by choice’) Building on strengths and existing practice Valuing and respectful relationships with participants Theory meets practice (accreditation for further connection of theory with practice) Enthusiasm and inspiration It is not possible to teach. But it is possible to create situations wherein it is impossible not to learn.
Some of the experiences and impressions from practitioners regarding the benefits of working with a social pedagogic approach: ‘The realisation that having a 'sense of community' within the home, where each of us (staff and young people) have the same goals, works so well and everyone seems happier. Much of this has been brought about by using the 'common third'. Although we have always undertaken activities with the young people, staff have become more involved in these and are sharing the fun.’
Some of the experiences and impressions from practitioners regarding the benefits of working with a social pedagogic approach: ‘What I have learned through my recent reflection is that if you enable the children to attempt to resolve their own conflict a solution is often found. It might not always end in the way that you would have expected or hoped. However, the process is important as it gives them the beginnings of developing the tools that will take them into adulthood. […] By me handing over the authority to the group to participate in [the resolution], the process was an empowering experience for all the children.’
‘I now give great emphasis to using the ‘Common 3 rd ’ approach to building relationships with the young people. Seeking out opportunities via a seemingly endless scope of activities will allow for valuable bonding between two individuals or groups. By giving way too much attention to non-urgent administrative duties I was attuning myself to the office atmosphere of disillusionment. Some staff members frequently use this space to air their grievances regarding the young people and it is easy to become drawn into that negative culture. To remedy this I decided to utilise my time more effectively and get out of my own comfort zone. Since I was no longer a Key Worker I made the most of building up positive relationships with all the young people. I remarketed myself as accessible and traded admin for activities with a sense of urgency! This helped tremendously towards influencing a positive atmosphere in the home, boosting my own morale and that of others. As I grew in confidence I found myself directly challenging or preventing negative practice by planning and agreeing intended outcomes of a shift with my colleagues and the young people.’
‘When working with a child who is refusing to attend school I now question myself about what it is I should give them to work from and explore other situations I can create that may give them more opportunity to learn. I also reflect more on how they must feel and how their refusing to attend school is telling us something rather than just them being defiant. By taking a pedagogic stance with this situation I found that the child would respond more by doing things that relaxed them and that when they were in this space they were taking more in and actually learning. For example, by taking the child to the local shops to buy ingredients for a cooking exercise, they were doing maths and learning life skills without even realising.’
“Pedagogy has enabled me to think more critically about how I use my time when I am with the children. To really experience and share the living space with the children for me becomes ever more important. This means to be fully engaged and authentic in my relationships. One particular incident enabled me to fully appreciate the time and experience I had shared with a young girl: I was sitting in the playroom with the other children, and we started an activity that involved someone tapping actions on a person’s back and made stories up to the actions. There were four children and two adults involved, and we would take it in turns to be tapped and be the person who tapped. This resulted in a lot of laughs and enthusiasm to continue with each other. Gradually the rest of the group began to leave the playroom, leaving the young girl and myself. We both were still experiencing the excitement of the previous game. We were looking at each other and she stood up and made a silly noise and waved her hands about. I immediately stood up and did the same thing. She laughed and said ‘copy me’, which I did, and then I said ‘copy me’, which she did. This went on until her bedtime, and each time we would fall down together on the sofa laughing uncontrollably. As she was going up to bed she called out ‘that was good, it has made me so happy, I’m going to go to bed happy tonight’. I remained on the sofa and felt a warm glow inside. I felt happy, and this was compounded when I heard what she had said.”
Set up in partnership with NCERCC, TCRU, FICE-England, and Jacaranda Recruitment, the SPDN aims to: Be a democratic, inclusive grassroots movement Connect people and organisations active in developing social pedagogy Provide a forum to explore issues affecting the further development of social pedagogy in a solution-focussed way Encourage people to create change connecting social pedagogy and their passion for children’s well-being “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead