Podcast Episode: Social pedagogy in practice at Camphill Scotland
Category: Social work (general)
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
K - Kirsten
A - Alec
I - Ishtvan
R - Robina
S - Sandra
K Social Pedagogy is an approach to working with people which focusses on relationships. It encourages staff to think about how they can strengthen their relationships through spending quality time with somebody and jointly taking part in activities. It encourages them to reflect on their practise, to acknowledge where things didn’t work and to use that information not to blame themselves, but to try something different next time and to focus on how they can use their relationships with someone to help that person to learn and develop. social pedagogy’s widely used in mainland Europe, across a range of social care and other settings, but in the UK social pedagogy is still in its infancy. In Scotland there’s a small but growing group of organisation working consciously in this way. To date social pedagogy in Scotland has largely focussed on working with children and young people. But in 2014 Camphill Scotland received funding through the Scottish Governments Learning Disability Strategy, the Keys to Life, to pilot the use of Social Pedagogy with adults with learning disabilities, making us one of the 1st organisations in the UK to work in this way with adults. The pilot was quite small in scale and 16 participants from 2 or the Camphill communities - Camphill Blair Drummond near Stirling and Tifrith in Edinburgh, took part in 9 days of intensive social pedagogy training. The impact of that training was evaluated by the university of Edinburgh, who found that working with social pedagogy was transformative for staff and I’m joined today by 3 of the staff from Camphill Blair Drummond, who took part in the training - Alec, Ishtvan and Robina, who will share their stories about how social pedagogy has impacted on them and the people they work with. I’m also joined by Sandra, the Assistant Director at Blair Drummond, who will tell us a bit about the ways in which social pedagogy has impacted on the rest of the Camphill community at Blair Drummond, wider than just those who took part in the training. But before we get started with your stories, and there might be some people listening who are still not really sure what social pedagogy is, or how it could benefit them, when I first came across the term I found it a bit off putting. I didn’t know if it was social pedagogy, or social pedagogy - for those listening we’re going all use different terms and they’re both OK. But I found it quite difficult to get to grips with. So to help to start thinking about social pedagogy, I wonder if you could tell us a bit about what you think the most important thing is about social pedagogy for you and how you believe that other practitioners could benefit from adopting a social pedagogy approach?
S I think certainly social pedagogy is around meaningful relationships. I think that’s one of the most important things. And it gives us a language as well and a framework to speak about what we do. I think Camphill community’s traditionally have been very strong and meaningful relationships and seeing the person as a whole person - looking at the physical, the emotional, the social and the spiritual side of somebody. And everybody’s got the need to be social able. Everybody’s got the need to have some sort of affection and attachment, companionship, belonging in a place. And I think what social pedagogy has done is given us with a language and a framework to speak about the work that we do.
I Yeah, I quite agree with that. I think that, that for me it’s the fact that it’s based on equal relationships. And I think - as I’ve said on numerous occasions before, I don’t understand why we’re only now adopting this. You know when I look back at my own work life and the experience that I have, when I think the difference that I could of made to people’s lives if I’d have been doing this 30 years ago.
A I think in your introduction Kirsten you mentioned that a blaming culture before a social pedagogy, I was seeing the work that I was doing and looking for an end product, which I shouldn’t have been doing. And because I wasn’t achieving that, or the guys I was working with wasn’t achieving that, I was then taking that home and seeing it as a blame on myself - and as a failure because I wasn’t getting any results. And then when you go into social pedagogy, the four Fs - that’s what I concentrate on more and reflecting on that there’s no time pressure on people - that’s taken away from you. And then it’s - you’re working in a much more relaxed environment and you’re creating that because you’re mind-set’s totally different. And personally speaking anyway my mind-set was totally different after taking this social pedagogy and working through it, than what it was prior to it.
S So you’re really reflected, didn’t you Alec, on your practise and how you were working alongside folk?
S And seeing after the social pedagogy course it was more about looking at that relationship and that relationship being an equal relationship? And one that’s based on mutual respect and trust?
S Rather than you’ve got to do something with in a time scale …
S … with somebody?
S Which puts pressure on yourself.
A It puts pressure yourself and which you then take home with you. and it’s passed onto the guys that you’re working with, subconsciously. You’re no aware of it, but then when you reflect on it, and look back on it, then you can see how it’s impacted them in a negative way and then it’s like a roll on affect, because the negativities within you as well.
S What was the thing that you decided to change within yourself, having done the social pedagogy course?
A Looking at his capabilities I knew that he was capable of working and he was really, really clever. But I was working on the wrong projects for him. And it was … he’s quite … he could be quite an aggressive and he was attacking people. But I was thinking this is just in his nature, which was totally and completely wrong. It was an expectation, no just for myself but other staff members that this is part of what he is. So I changed my outlook on this and thought, right, this isnae him, it’s because I’m doing things the way he disnae want them to be done. So I then relaxed myself - I noticed it was a much more relaxed atmosphere and I was getting response from the student I was working with. I was constantly in my panic zone, which was wrong. He was probably sitting more in his comfort zone and that was just conflicting - totally conflicting. So I had to bring myself firstly out of that, before I could then concentrate on getting him out of his comfort zone. The end product was phenomenal.
S One of things that you mentioned there Alec, and we’ve doing this I suppose throughout the course of the discussion, is the learning zone, which is one of the learning theories in social pedagogy. And just to explain a bit about that: if everybody’s got their comfort zone, which we would like to stay in, most of the time …
A To stay in. Yeah, yeah.
S … if we’re being honest. And then the next layer of that - the next circle of that is the learning zone.
S And I suppose your objective was to get that gentleman into the learning zone, so you could work with him?
A And myself.
S And yourself.
A And myself, yeah.
S and then that outer layer of that then that’s the panic zone.
S And when we say panic zone that’s quite a wide term I suppose, but it can mean not necessarily panic. It can mean unease I suppose or stress. Panic’s quite a strong word. But it can mean just feeling uncomfortable.
S So that’s the kind of model that you were working with - trying to get him out of his comfort zone and into his learning zone.
A Yip, yeah.
K So when you talk about a learning zone - you’d said that you had been focussed before on trying to achieve things?
K What sorts of things were you achieving … were you trying to achieve that weren’t right? And what sort of things are you able to achieve now, that you work with him in his learning zone instead?
A I was looking at my perspective there. And I was looking for my end results, rather than just allowing him to … I would put a time limit … well no so much a time limit, but an expectation of what we should be doing and what time frame we should be doing on it.
S And that was a pressure that you put on yourself, wasn’t it?
A Exactly, exactly.
S That you said we should do this piece of work within this time.
A Yeah, but it could be subconsciously because at the time I wisnae thinking along they lines, until I got this spore sheet and then if you look that closely then I worked on that and thought - right well why should there be a time limit. Why should there be after an end product? The end product I was looking for was to impress others, if you like - his parents. To do a mosaic that looked really, really nice, that he could take home with him. That my management see the progress that he’s doing. And that was just a complete failure. All it was an end product that could be anything. It could look absolutely hideous. But if he was to take that home to his parents they could then recognise that that is his own work. So then I just completely ignored what I thought should be an end product and allowed him to make his own product.
S And was that the stage at which there was a switch then in the relationship would you say?
A It didnae happen instantaneously - it’s a long a lengthy process, depending on yourself and who you’re working with. And so I just totally allowed myself time and then allowed him time as well. But aye the end product was productive - very productive. The variety of jobs that he’s now doing and the tools and the equipment that he’s using now, well I would never have thought this 2 year ago. Nobody would have.
S Has anybody else got examples that they can share? Around changes that they’ve witnessed in the people that they work with?
I Yeah, in the social pedagogy for me is also … it’s a holistic approach, which really struck me. There are many disciplines within the social pedagogy, like there are pedagological approaches, there is psychology in there. There is social studies and there is all this merged together and see the people we’re working with as a whole for each person. And what are they capabilities? Rather than what is the disadvantage of what they have. And I supported one of the young man to come out from their anxiety when we go for walks or the person comes across with obstacles. They couldn’t complete a strenuous walks, which was really benefitted their health. Now gradually we build a relationship together and we choose different areas to go to for walks and gradually build up their stamina, and also their confidence to come out from their comfort zone, which was basically their room and also the community itself. Their comfort zone is always narrowing down if you do long staying in the comfort zone. You stay in your comfort zone then the learning zone is just closing and the panic zone is there all around you. So gradually the small steps, coming away from the comfort zone into the learning zone just expanded the learning zone. And they felt more comfortable out from the community. And going for different areas for walks, which we would classify as moderate walk, for them it was a huge challenge. And in few months' time we managed to reach the point when now the young man is actually managed to lead on a walk and go and go on rocks and routes without feeling anxious. And that helped to bond with the co-workers and volunteers we have as well as with staff members, because the experience was shared, it wasn’t just focussed on the young man and myself, but was also on the others as well. We took photographs, we choose paths were we can look out for different plants and different things. So involving more learning about nature as well. So the focussing on the individuals, this advantage in a way of like oh, he finds it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces - we would rather focus on like what is around us. Taking pictures of the plants, the bridges or the paths where we go. And then we have an end product is to sit down and discuss it and reflect how it was. With that young man I also used the four Fs - it’s a reflecting tool which is reflecting on the facts, the findings, the feelings and the future. Then he was really anxious, he was not able to look into our eyes and talk about feeling and what the individual would like to do in the future. Usually he sat outside - maybe on a bench and I was taking notes, like what happened yesterday, what happened about, you know, in the workshops, what happened on the walks. We put down and then we talked about the findings and then we managed to reach the feelings and it was really great to see someone to talk about their feelings and straight jumping into what they would like to do in the future. Now I introduced this for my other staff members in the house as well, to use this tool with him and try to reflect. Because that’s a one to one time which is really a quality time. Also it helps the individual to come out of it with their own ideas, instead of we coming up with ideas and trying to match his needs. He was actually coming out with ideas and he wanted to lead on activities, which basically helped him to be a more confident person.
S And one of the things that you spoke about there Ishtvan was having a shared activity. And that’s quite important, isn’t it in terms of people being able to do things and share in things together? And as far as the social pedagogy is concerned we would call that the common third, where we’re working jointly alongside somebody, so we’re not necessarily being in a teacher role where we’re imparting knowledge, but’s a 2 way process. So we’re working along-side somebody - we’re possibly learning from that individual, what they would like to do. And they’re learning from us what we would like to do. So that’s a large part isn’t it of social pedagogy as well. Looking at what are the key activities we can do with people that are going to engage them.
I Yes the common third - I think it’s a very important tool within social pedagogy. It allows the care provider to step back and to go on an equal level with the individual and not saying I know how to do. It’s with being rather let’s examine how we can do it together and how we can learn, it’s not how you can learn, it’s more about really the mutual way of learning. And the end product as such as a tangible product is not as important as the way to achieve it.
S The relationship that you carve along the way to achieving something. Or maybe not even achieving something, but it’s the relationship, isn’t it that’s the important thing?
I Yes. And there is another example when we baked in the kitchen at one of the weekends and there was a young man and everyone said, oh he can’t bake, he can’t cook, he’s not interested. And (… unclear) said that like not interested, he was always in the kitchen when we were cooking, but everyone thought he was just looking for the good bits to, you know, a little bit of chocolate here, little bit of fruit there. And basically for many years he was in the kitchen and then another young resident came in and he wanted to bake, he had that expertise to some degree because he’s in bakery workshop most of the week. And basically talked to one of the co-workers - what about if we all baked together and we involved the young man, who was always in the kitchen, but not baking. And allow the other young man to lead on the baking - choose the recipe together and then, you know, go like the ingredients and just to make something nice. And in that case it was the zone of proximal development where we have one president or student within the community who has an expertise, and actually he’s passing on his knowledge to someone else. And it’s not me who is saying, oh yeah, go and get the butter please, you know, go and get the flour please. But actually they had to communicate and be at a relationship between themselves. So that allows us to stand back and observe and just only involve ourselves when we really need to step in, which most of the time actually we don’t. We can become the observers and guiders rather than to tell how to do. Because they actually can recognise the ways of learning together.
S So would you say then in the zone of proximal development that the important aspect is to allow other people to teach other and not see ourselves the whole time, as that person that’s going lead? It might be somebody else in the group … ?
S … that would be leading, and not necessarily ourselves the whole time?
S And that maybe kind of goes against the grain for some people?
I For some people definitely. It’s … if you don’t have experience and it is the first time, stepping back is a difficult thing because we all know how to do it, but do we really know how to do it, you know.
S It’s when you’re trying to help people become more independent it hands off rather than hands on.
S One of the things that you spoke about there as well Ishtvan is about, you know, people’s capacity and capabilities? And I remember you telling me some time ago about when you were moving house and you involved one of the residents, designing the layout of the sitting room. And you said what you used there was a social pedagogy technique around multiple intelligences. Would you like to say something around that?
I Yes. Well multiple intelligence, that’s a great topic. Now we can sit down and fail at test and test what is their multiple intelligence, but for someone who cannot write and maybe not understand all aspects, it takes a bit of observation to see which of the … within the multiple intelligence, which are the signs where they can actually fulfil their full potential. And this young man was really visual special person and he organised his room - re-organised his rooms, many, many times. And then we moved house to ease the anxiety and build more confidence. We went over to the house a couple of times to arrange the layout of the house, knowing that he would really enjoy the activity as to re-arrange the rooms, of sitting room. And we can actually start about, you know, talking about the move. Like we’re going to move here, there will be new people coming into this house. And it made it more easy to rely on one multiple intelligence sign. And bring in more information. So it was not about like, sit down and talk about, ok this is going to happen. But actually when we went to a place physically, we used the special visual sign of the person to discuss what is the future going to be. And the individual find it more easy to move into that house, being on their own, and they were less anxiety.
S We’ve spoken quite a bit today around the impact working alongside the people that we support. Have you noticed any changes in how you work alongside your colleagues, for example?
R When I came to Camphill, I came at the same time as the residents. So on reflection we were all in our panic zone for a long time, before we actually you know, moved into the learning zone, and then the comfort zone. But there was - the staff that I was working with had … they’d been at Camphill for a number of years. So they knew how Camphill worked and everything and I didn’t. And there was one member of staff in particular and we just - we didn’t get on. It was a very fractious relationship. Some of the things that I did, because I could see that there was a lot of potential there. There was a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience that she wasn’t willing to share at that particular time. So what I started looking at was how I could get her to help me through that shared experience at doing things in the house that had to get done. Because I didn’t really know how, you know, the workings at Camphill, so I didn’t know the right way to do them. The Camphill way. And I kind of asked her to show me and there was a lot of resistance at first, but she did. And then I would, you know, eventually over time, I would ask her to do things that were traditionally seen as my job and asked her to take on certain responsibilities. And I knew that I had taken her out of her comfort zone and I knew that she was in her panic zone. But I supported her through it. And eventually she did go into the learning zone and what a difference. You know, she was so much more confident, I’m sure that she was so much more empowered. And I actually did tell her, like, through supervision, when we were reflecting on things, you know, what I’d actually done. She was a bit shocked and asked me not to do it again. But I’m still doing it. But it has, you know - I look at her now and she’s involved, not just in her house, but in the wider community. She’s taken on more responsibility in the wider community and it’s totally changed our relationship as well, because I think during that process, if you look at the 3 Ps - the personal, the private and the professional, I did share certain things with her during that process that I think let her see me in a different way. So I found that really quite successful and still using it.
K That story for me I think is really important, because I think social pedagogy is often put in a box as being about, particularly in the UK we see it as a tool for relationships - building relationships with children and young people. And in our project we’ve used it with adults with a learning disability, but also you’ve used it really successfully with a colleague, so for me that helps to just show the breadth of possibility for social pedagogy and the different ways in which just focussing on a relationship with anyone, regardless of their needs can be really powerful.
R And I think on reflection as well for me like the social pedagogy it’s allowed me to look at myself and my roles and my responsibilities. And I suppose when I came to Camphill I came from a nursing background and you know that will always be in me that need to nurse. And that was my role - take care of people, look after people, do this, do that, do that. But you know, doing the social pedagogy training allowed me to take that step back and say well no you don’t have to do that. You know it is about sharing things with other people and having experiences with other people. And letting people be more involved in you know the general running of the house, you know, and encouraging them to take on their responsibilities within the house. And I did find that quite difficult. But I now find it incredibly easy.
S And that’s really here as well I think - you were mentioning the 3 Ps there - the personal, the private and the professional. And sometimes in work we kind of get hung-up on the professional bit.
S And certainly all through my training the big P - the professional P was emphasised, about boundaries in relationships.
S What was appropriate in professional relationships. Appropriate self-disclosure - how much did you share. But the people that we work with have a need to know each of us personally and what we do, and our family lives and where we stay and that kind of thing. And that then forges the relationship, doesn’t it? You’re a real person if you share something of yourself. I’m not speaking about private things, but things that are personal to you and your family.
R You know not long after we started the actual social pedagogy course - the 9 day course, I lost my dog. He had been really ill and I’d had to get him put to sleep. And I had told the staff, you know, because I was upset, you know and I was, you know just not my normal self. And it was actually one of my staff told the residents and they were so different towards me. They were really supportive because they knew that I was upset because I’d lost my dog. So yeah it is important that we share things with them and allow them to be … cos I can’t view now just as a profession that I do. I can’t view it just as a job because they are now part of my life and hopefully I’m part of their life as well. So it is important for them to know things about me.
K Through social pedagogy would it be fair to say that you’ve increased your focus on choice for the people that you support - that you work with? That they’re more in control now than they were perhaps … if you weren’t working consciously with social pedagogy that this has increased choice of control for people? Is that fair?
R I think that was one of things that I found hardest. Probably again because you know coming from a nursing background was … now I don’t find it hard. If any of my guys make a decision, that’s their decision. Even if I don’t agree with it.
R It’s their decision.
R You know, and I don’t have that right to say well …
A To deny them.
R … you can’t do that because … but I did find that difficult. But now I don’t because I know that it’s something they’ve thought about and they’ve made that choice.
S It’s interesting then, just looking that and choice because with choice comes responsibility and accountability and risk.
I Of course.
S And certainly at Blair Drummond we had risk assessments for almost everything, you might say. And looking at that we’ve kind of change tack. Not that we don’t risk assess, but we do that in a way that allows people … we look at why are we doing this? We’re doing this to enable people to do a task. Not that they can’t do it. But we’re doing it to allow, because we can see the benefit of that person being able to do the tasks.
A But I think, previously again I’m only speaking through personal experience, I would think more about the risk rather than - well is it worth taking this risk. And I would just say myself, no - no that’s too risky I’m no doing it. Where to get on, you’ve got to take risks to a certain level. Obviously safe to everybody’s is the main part of mine. But you still have to take that element of risk.
S It’s about mitigating the risk, isn’t it?
A Aye, aye.
S And finding ways round it so that we can do something.
S Rather than discounting it completely at the outset.
A Exactly, you would just see that risk there and say right that’s it I’m no going ahead with it. And as you say you can work round that and look at ways that’s no always possible, but look at ways - can this be worked round? And then you think more and you can go ahead and do it.
K Someone said to me recently that it’s to stop looking at risk management and start looking at risk benefit.
K Because if you think first of all about what is the benefit of doing this rather than what are the reasons that we shouldn’t do it then it helps you to …
A Aye, aye.
K … change that around in your mind.
S One of the things that you spoke about there as well Alex was around asking somebody not, not to do something. Don’t do that.
S And one of the aspects of social pedagogy is one of the learning models is around non-violent communication.
A Communication, yip.
S And not automatically saying don’t do that because that again is giving somebody a direction. Unless it’s a health and safety thing and you’ve got to jump in and make sure somebody’s safe. But have you been conscious of changing the way that you phrase things for example? In the way that you speak to people. So instead of saying don’t do that, you’re maybe saying would you like to try something instead - are you conscious of doing that?
A Yip. Again it gets back to the risk assessment. There’s a risk there, right we’re no taking it and that’s it, it’s blocked. You look round to alternatives and to ask somebody not to do something - why look at an alternative and then give them the choice. And again it helps them think more about why they’re doing it and how it’s wrong to do it that way, if you like. And then look at alternatives.
I It came in a reflection again because you know it’s really difficult to say don’t, you know, we will say don’t do that, don’t do this, go there, go here. You know, rather than give an option and stand back and reflect what will happen, you know.
I With the 4 Fs again be a focussing on a future. Things that they’ve done try to focus on what will happen if you do that. So if you’re going to walk near a cliff and if you lose your balance you’re going to fall down so how to avoid it, rather than don’t walk there. So I take the guys out quite often for outdoor activities and some of them can be dangerous people who say I wouldn’t do that because it’s too risky. But I always stand back and they see OK this direction we are going, this is what we’re going to do, that could happen. So I have mobile phones, I have my risk assessment and a way down it’s like if something goes really wrong then what will I do? And then try to guide all the residents and the co-workers and staff members in a way I’ve had to carry it out as safe as possible, rather than not to carry out a task. And it’s all about reflection, but it’s really difficult again to stand back from the don’t and the no.
I Offer an option that you can take and you would rather take because it seems more sensible than saying don’t, because then it’s also the why. Why you shouldn’t do that.
S When they were looking some months ago at the care planning system that we use up there at Drummond we were looking at incorporating social pedagogy into that and it still quite early days because we’ve started using now the new format of that and we’re looking now at much more focussed outcomes. So instead of having a whole range of outcomes we might have 2 or 3 or 4 outcomes for the individual over the course of the year. And we would review that looking at the 4 Fs - what are the facts, what the findings, the feelings and where do we go from here? What are the futures? Has anybody gone through a full care plan at this stage and found the benefit of doing that, in terms of using that system?
I Yes I introduced to 3 residents that we had 3 reviews when I used the new form. And the first time it looks silly because the end of the document is empty - the outcome is. And people are looking, OK well it’s, you know, it’s what happened in the past one year it’s all stated, but you know, what is going to happen? And that I just always expressed, yeah now this is the time when we can all together make decisions including the resident. And they really liked to pick some of the, you know, the outcomes to what should happen to that resident. The residents themselves joined to pick the outcomes and to detail like who is going to do what. So there is something to look forward. And if you don’t achieve it in a year you know, it’s clearly expressed that it’s not about we need to achieve it in a year, it’s you know we are going to review it in a year’s time. So … and they can just slowly work on those outcomes and both social workers and parents were really happy about the new form because it made something to look forward and it became more tangible - you know see through instead of really having so many outcomes, it was only 3. And there was one time when a social worker came up and wanted to give us like 7/8 outcomes and we had to say, yeah that could be a real long, long term outcome, but I think it’s better if we just focus on a couple of outcomes. But then we do it properly and thoroughly and involving the residents to choose which direction they want to go, instead of OK now you fit into the box, so you can move on. Instead of that we can actually just have them to … you know, to empower them, what they would like to do. And really fulfil the task what they want to carry out.
K And do you feel that social pedagogy makes you better equipped to do that? Or that you approach it in a different way than you would have previously?
I Yes, it does … it does because I could explain in a better way. I do have the … you know, the opportunity to use the tools what is in social pedagogy. Because in social pedagogy it’s whole approach, so it’s not just about the tools. But many people from outside would see, oh the tools, what you use, and I feel more confident that I can achieve and we can actually see the outcomes. Like really what it will involve and you know plan the year or the next 2 years.
R I think it’s less clinical.
R If you like. Cos the more traditional ways of doing things, you know traditional approaches, the way that you carry out a review. It’s just less clinical and it’s more focussed I think on individual people, you know. I’ve found that the ones that I’ve done I’ve found they were quite good and the fact that your outcomes weren’t necessarily task orientated. You know there was a lot of the outcomes were based on social things. So I found … I liked it.
S And we’ve spoken about social pedagogy being an approach. And I think that’s what it is because I’ve had some people have come up to me and asked about social pedagogy and how do you do it. Like you can actually teach somebody something or there’s a particular way or a particular skill set. And as much as there are a number of learning models that we can refer to and we are using at the moment, it’s more about having a stance, isn’t it?
R I’m that the …
S And what is it they call it - the haltun, in German?
R Yes, yes, that’s it.
S Where it’s an approach rather than a set of tools or a toolbox. And that approach - I think you said Alex, is transferable across the spectrum.
S So you’re not only using it when you’re working with residents, but you use it when you working alongside colleagues. Somebody said they used in their home life …?
A Ah, only because, well … yip.
S … as well? So it becomes part of you.
R It becomes not an approach, but a way of life. And I suppose for me that’s my ultimate aim that it does become for me a way of life and not just something that I do at work.
A I was also going say that it is very rewarding because your achievements, you’re reflecting on different - well no just your achievements, the differences that you’re making to people’s lives, i.e. students and residents. As I said that the staff are looking … and they’re looking for something massive which I was doing as well. But the tiniest wee thing that that person’s done, to the outside world is minute, but to you as a person because you’re seeing a different picture, it’s absolutely massive. It’s massive and it’s so rewarding. And that’s the thing I think now that I’m taking this home with you and I’m using it in my outside life, my family life, my home life, is because I’m no seeing that as a failure because I havenae achieved something massive. Every single achievement to me now is massive. So I’m looking at it totally different light.
S It’s mind switch, isn’t it, for you?
A Exactly, yip, exactly.
R And I think for me it’s also made me more reflective than I already was, both personally and professionally. And I’m kind of starting to see the benefits of that with staff, because I’ve introduced it into our supervision/joint review sessions, where we do a lot more reflecting. And they did find it hard at first, but I think they’re kind of getting into the mind-set that you know this is how the sessions are going to be going. That they will become more and more reflective as time goes on.
S I think it takes some time to embed that into any organisation or community. And we’re still on the start of that journey at Blair Drummond. And we’ve spoken about embedding social pedagogy into our care planning for example and changing that. But you’re quite Robina we’re looking at introducing it into supervision or one to one support and making reflection a key aspect of that. But also introducing it into the wider things that we do at Blair Drummond, like the strategic planning. And having every individual in the community looking at what’s their vision going to be for Camphill Blair Drummond. And I know some of you have been going through that process at the moment. What is your vision for the next year? And then every 3 months you’ll go back and re-visit that vision and you’ll get, well what are the facts around that, what’s been achieved? How are you feeling about it? Have you got some way along the road of achieving your vision? Are there some barriers in place? What are you finding at this stage? And when you’re reviewing that then what’s the next stage? What are the futures? What’s the next 3 months going to bring? So you’ve got the same kind of cycle if you like looking at the facts, the findings, the feelings and the futures. And using that as a tool to develop, not only individuals, but organisations. And I think that’s been really valuable in giving us a framework that everybody can use. Doesn’t matter what role you have in that organisations, whether you’re a support worker, a manager, a director, you would have a vision statement. And then re-visiting that. And reflecting on your practise. So I think it’s been a useful tool for the whole organisation, some of the tools that you can use.
I I also helped many of my colleagues to reflect and they … together, not just as you go away with this piece of paper and write down like, how do you feel about this task? But also if I’d something … I used more tools to record my reflections - I use video, I use photography, I use also notepads and jotted down what happened. Make a little film. And I tried to show it to my colleagues to … you see, that’s what I’ve done. And this was the benefit of it and this is what I’d do differently. And then it’s actually influencing the others to … oh, I didn’t know that person can do that and there’s actually a very strong visual about it. Like when I show a short video clip which I done with one of the residents and then we actually discussed, like you see, like he was capable to come across with the anxiety, like walking on uneven surfaces, going up really steep parts of the hill. And actually to … and they will try it, they always say - oh, so this is the way you done it, so this is the way I’m going to try it. So, it’s actually to share the reflection with each other is really important as well as in supervision or just in handover time as well. Because then they can realise that individual has more potential and if they can actually adopt the right approach to the task.
S And that’s quite powerful the residents seeing themselves doing the task that they’ve felt anxious about. But also convincing other people in the team that the individual has the potential to do that task.
I That was is changed in my reflection because I’ve done my reflection by myself for myself. But it’s actually a shared reflection with the others. And they started to share their reflection. So that’s also how the team itself to approach everything holistically and to see the bigger picture, not just like I am on shift and I will go home. But actually go home and take the work with them and come back to work and bring the home with them. So it’s not about - OK, I’m finished my shift, I’m going home. It’s about living social pedagogy throughout the day.
S Yes. It’s about sharing that shared living space, isn’t it, with somebody? Rather than seeing it as a job and then going home and then coming back again. It’s a much wider picture than that. Are you all aware of the reflecting more since doing social pedagogy, would you say?
S Both personally, but also within your teams as well?
R Definitely. I think that as I say, you know, we’ve started using it in our one to one sessions. But as Ishtvan was saying even at our handovers now we share more of our experience of being in the house on that particular day, at handover, than we ever did. You know it used to be we just went through each resident - she’s fine, she’s fine, she’s … but now we’re actually … you know we share just … you know the tiniest wee thing that happened that was funny or whatever.
S do you share what’s actually happened on the day to day basis? Like the practical things? Or are finding as a staff team that you’re sharing more of your feelings and how you’re finding working alongside somebody? Does that come into play now?
R It does. I think so. You know that during a handover period I say we share more rather than just like all the clinical stuff, you know. We do into things a wee bit more in-depth, you know we do… we spend more time on a handover. You know we get quite relaxed, we sit in the kitchen, cup of tea and you know … so yeah I think we do.
K I think for maybe these examples are really starting to pick out for me why I think there’s a lot of potential in social pedagogy across the piece in social care. Because reflective practise is something that lots and lots of organisations are talking about and trying to improve, but not having necessarily a route into that and social pedagogy’s a possible way into that then I think that’s potentially really beneficial. But also a lot of the other things that have come up through the conversation that you’ve been talking about - trying a new approach, not just becoming wedded to the way things have always been done. The time is absolutely right at this point for that to come into social care and all sorts of aspects. And I think that’s incredibly important. The aspect around equality, of sort of sharing an activity, sharing your learning with somebody I think are very … have a lot to give at this point. Stepping back, recognising people’s strengths, that chimes in really well with a lot of the assets based work that’s going on. And having a healthier attitude to risk I think is something that lots of organisations are really aspiring to. And so potentially there again there’s something that social pedagogy can really contribute to all these sorts of … where the world that I inhabit where we can talk about that on a policy level and the world that you inhabit where it actually makes a difference to people on a day to day basis. How you use your relationship with that person and how powerful that can be. And there’s just … there’s so much in here and I don’t know how we unpick and give it to everybody else because there’s so much potential I think.
S And It think you’re absolutely right, I mean traditionally social pedagogy has been used with children, but having seen it and used in an adult setting, I think it’s transferable right across the life range.
A Right across, yip.
S You could use it with older people or younger people, young adults - across the whole range.
K And that’s what they do in other countries in Europe where it’s very widely used, It’s only the UK that it’s seen as an approach to children and young people. And I think there’s a danger in that because then it’s seen as paternalistic or only suitable for that sort of relationship, but I don’t think it is. I think our pilot has showed that it’s got potential.
A I think something that was pointed out us quite early was that we’re actually using it, everybody’s using it as they basis, you just dinae recognise that you’re using it.
R That was one of the things that struck me when we did the actual training. I didn’t realise how much I actually knew.
S How much you were doing it already?
R Yes. You know and how much I was doing it. And … during the whole training. I actually also didn’t realise how much I was learning at the time. I think as Sandra in the … you know, earlier on in her introduction, it puts a name to what we do.
A Aye, aye, it identifies it.
K I know that a lot of people have said that this is … reminds them why they came into this in the first place. That actually for a lot of people the impetus for getting involved in this sort of a career is in order to work alongside people, to help them, to develop, to develop relationships with people. And this gives you permission to do that and I think that’s very powerful.
R Absolutely and I wish I’d had that permission 30 years ago.
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