In March 2019 a group of 7 academics from Japanese Universities interested in Children’s Services and how Social Pedagogy can help them, visited SPPA members Kibble in Paisley, Scotland and TRCU scholars Claire Cameron and Pat Petrie. They wanted to find out how the UK is progressing with Social Pedagogy having recently started the Japanese Society of Social Pedagogy , which is an academic organisation under the umbrella of FICE-international. The visitors took back many ideas for developing Social Pedagogy in Japan. Read on to find out what they discovered.

“Funded by MEXT, Japan, we had a study trip in London and Glasgow from 17th to 27th of March, 2019 to get information about the current status of social pedagogy; how it is penetrated in U.K. and how social pedagogues are being trained. Summarized below is what our members found out about social pedagogy during the trip and what is interesting about social pedagogy from a Japanese point of view. We do express our gratitude to Dr. Claire Cameron of University College London, Dr. Ian Milligan of University of Strathclyde and other coordinators who made our stay so active and fruitful.”Atsushi ITO

We have thus far understood theories and historical backgrounds about Social Pedagogy through relevant literature, but we have not actually realized the relationship between theory and practice. Hearing the explanations in the context of real practices from the workers, we could really grasp the relationship between theory and practice in a Social Pedagogy context. Within the field of child care in Japan, emphases are on the transition from institutional care to foster one, i.e. securing homely environment and on short-term psycho-therapeutic approach, which causes the confusion of child-care workers’ identity as professionals. In such circumstances, I think that the introduction of Social Pedagogy as a concept and training program based on Social Pedagogy will provide the world of social child care with positive direction and future“. – Isamu HOSOI

“In Glasgow we heard the voices that the ways of working have actually changed a lot since the introduction of the idea of Social Pedagogy from the practitioners of Camphill Blair Drummond, Kibble Education & Care Center, and a small-sized children’s home. We could confirm from this fact that Social Pedagogy is an inclusive concept which goes across various practical fields. As in former UK, we have not yet taken in the concept of Social Pedagogy in Japan, but once introduced properly, it will help the practitioners of foster homes to establish their identity as professional workers through creating a fusion of care and education. In Japan social childcare is now in the process of transformation and some professionals of local children’s homes begins to pay attention to and tries to learn essentials from Social Pedagogy.” – Shigeyuki MORI

“Owing to the presentation by Claire Cameron and Pat Petrie in TCRU, IoE of UCL, we understand that you keep a tally of the number of the children in need of social care accurately by conducting thorough investigation and statistical analyses in England. This will consequently lead to a preventive point of view. In Japan, on the other hand, much of the supportive work for the children in need tends to be started after serious incidents have occurred, which means that Japanese child support system is in short of the standpoint of prevention.”Kunihiko MIKAMI

“We learned that the conception and approach of Social Pedagogy include the aspects of humanistic relationship, personal strength, empowerment brought about by the voices of persons concerned, and they are the theory and practice which fit not only the field of child care but also the support for the wide range of vulnerable people such as the poor & needy, single parents, foreign migrant workers and the elderly. In Japan, seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations are very popular and we actively discuss how to achieve such goals locally or globally. Among this movement, “leaving no one behind,” “making a connection,” “offering whereabouts of one’s own,” “cooperation among multiple fields,” and “partnership” are considered to be important. Social pedagogy also shares these values and it seems to play certain roles in realizing SDGs.” –Miyuki INABA

“Listening to the talks of researchers and workers who try to disseminate Social Pedagogy in U.K., I felt that my ways of communication with the vulnerable people in Japan could be well expressed by the keywords often used in Social Pedagogy. I think Social Pedagogy’s words are a common language among all sorts of human services in every country or region all over the world. We Japanese hesitate to cross each other’s professional border and some workers feel that they are cut off and lonely or that they lose challenging spirt. But the concept of Social Pedagogy, which emphasizes solidarity, can be so much inspiring to us, and I think that the full-scale introduction of Social Pedagogy into Japan will enable practitioners to be proud of their work and be motivated towards joint working beyond the professional boundaries. – Hisako SUGINO

“I was quite stimulated to find out that providing the supports based on Social Pedagogy urges the practitioners to change their methods of working as well as to tell their own ways with firm belief and confidence. In Japan, we aim at realizing inclusive local communities, but the concrete initiatives are being conducted by many subjects or groups separately. If we introduce Social Pedagogy into Japan as a common language among the social workers in a broad sense of the word successfully, we can avoid having their working siloed and integrate it across many kinds of divisions.”Kaori ONITSUKA