Evaluating social pedagogy in the UK: Methodological issues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, various social services in the UK have piloted using social pedagogy – a broadly education-based approach to bringing about social change originating in mainland Europe – as a way of improving practice, particularly in residential childcare. Pilot evaluations of initiatives to introduce social pedagogy to children’s services have produced generally positive results, although the evidence remains modest and the studies are affected by a range of methodological limitations. In this article, we critically review existing evaluations, supplemented by insights from our experience as independent evaluators for a social pedagogy pilot for services supporting people with learning disabilities, to present an account of the challenges and opportunities of evaluating social pedagogy in the UK. We argue that some of the main challenges relate to: defining social pedagogy; measuring the baseline prior to implementing social pedagogy training; understanding individual and organisational change; measuring outcomes; and applying an appropriate approach for the evaluation. We conclude with recommendations for those intending to evaluate social pedagogy, and similar initiatives, in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-23
JournalQualitative Social Work
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date14 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Social pedagogy
  • Evaluation
  • Residential childcare
  • Learning disabilities

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