The nature of social pedagogy: an excursion in Norwegian territory
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionStephens, P. (2009): The nature of social pedagogy: an excursion in Norwegian territory. Child and Family Social Work, 14(2009)3, 343-351
In this paper, I examine the nature of social pedagogy, a discipline with deep roots in Continental Europe but not in the UK. Things are changing, however. The politicians in Westminster are listening to the people at the Thomas Coram Research Unit in London. The message is unequivocal. It is time to learn from social pedagogical approaches to working with looked-after children in other European countries. Why is this? The government wants to prepare an early years professional who can combine the skills of a social worker with those of an educator. Based on case studies of successful approaches to improving the well-being of looked-after children in Denmark, France and Germany, the Thomas Coram researchers have found a childcare professional who can pull this off: the social pedagogue. As a professor of social pedagogy in a Norwegian university that educates social pedagogues, I want to shed light on a discipline that might help British stakeholders in childcare settings to draw selective lessons from a promising Nordic model.