Introducing Social Pedagogy: Professional Approaches (X3230)

30 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

This module will introduce you to social pedagogy, a core theoretical and professional discipline for work with children and young people in many European countries.

Social pedagogy is the theoretical discipline concerned with upbringing and education. This module starts with an overview of social pedagogy, addressing current theoretical understandings and debates.

In the second part of the module, you will apply social pedagogic theory and principles to policy and work with children, young people and families across the children's services sector.

You will explore the relevance of social pedagogy to practice in settings including schools, youth services, early years and out of school provision. You’ll draw from a range of English language material, including writing on social pedagogic theory and UK-focused material, to encourage students to identify links between social pedagogy and other complementary approaches to work with children.


Module content will include:

  • key concepts and principles, and their application to work with children and young people (such as understandings of 'education' and upbringing, democratic education and educating for democracy, and ‘head, hands and heart’ reflective work through relationships)
  • the diversity of social pedagogy - cross-national variations in theory and approaches
  • social pedagogy in the UK - commonalities and differences with English language approaches to work with children;
  • the professional role of the pedagogue within children's services
  • social pedagogy in practice - supporting children's learning and their education-in-the-broadest-sense
  • social pedagogy in policy for children and families
  • current debates and future directions.

You’ll also prepare for observational placement, including an introduction to observational learning and observational methods. You will complete a task for a portfolio focusing on the concepts of the course (working with relationships, using creative methods, listening and communicating, working with the group). This preparation will include input on into a reflective observational diary for the practice placement. This preparatory work, and the diary itself, will form part of their formative and summative assessment.


30%: Practical (Workshop)
70%: Seminar


100%: Practical (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 256 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: