Social Pedagogy Development Network

What happened at the in-person mini-SPDN events on 8 June, 2023

“It’s not the things that we know, it’s the things that we notice.
And the things that we notice are fleeting”

(Rick Rubin)

Last week, we co-hosted mini-events of the Social Pedagogy Development Network, bringing together around 200 people across 15 locations in Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Greece, and Slovakia. A huge THANK-YOU to everyone who participated!

At the events we explored what makes the people we work with intrinsically rich and resourceful and how we can bring the notion of the rich child/young person/adult to life in our practice. Following on from these conversations, we’re getting together online on 19 June to share insights into our discussions and take these one step further: How can we create systems based on a more positive view of human nature? What can we practically do to make this happen within the systems we’re a part of?

Our shared starting point

One of the most foundational tenets of social pedagogy is that every single person is intrinsically rich and resourceful. As human beings we are so much more than the sum of our needs. We can all draw on a huge variety of insights, skills and other qualities. We’re inherently filled with potential and possibilities. And given the right environment, we can further unfold our potential, discover hidden talents and develop new strengths.

This belief in human richness is much more than simple idealism or naivety. It’s a conscious decision to put our attention on helping people thrive – because where our attention goes, the energy flows.

As the first theoretical contribution, we shared this inspiring video with Rutger Bregman talking about humankind and why we have good reason for a more positive view of human nature.

Robyn Kemp from the Social Pedagogy Professional Association followed this up by contextualising how a social pedagogical perspective can help us to bring these ideas to life in practice:

If you’d like to watch the whole hybrid part as it happened, then check out this Zoom recording.

Menti contributions:

We asked all participants across the 15 locations to share key parts of their discussions via Menti. This created 3 beautiful word clouds on 1) one quality that makes us rich, 2) the qualities that make the people we support rich (e.g. school children, young people in care, adults with disabilities, refugees), and 3) how the people we support are viewed by wider society. You can click on the images below to open them.

Art contributions:

Here are a few of the creative contributions from mini-SPDN groups. We’d asked them to fill the outline of a human being with all the qualities that make people rich. Around that, we’d asked them to write down the ways that society views them. In some cases, explorations focussed on a particular group of people, e.g. children in care, people with disabilities, disadvantaged families, refugees, ethnic minorities within the local community, etc. The creative explorations sparked lots of fascinating conversations about how we can help people see the diamond inside themselves and others, how we can apply this very same lens to how we see colleagues and other professionals, and how we can enable wider society to recognise the inner richness of the people we support. Click on the image below to open the photo album.

Want to join us next time?

Please feel welcome to join the Social Pedagogy Development Network’s email list, so that we can keep you up-to-date with future learning events on social pedagogy – all free and for as short or as long as you want.