Gabriel Eichsteller, social pedagogue and trainer
‘Social pedagogy offers a fresh approach’
Gabriel Eichsteller (pictured) is a social pedagogue and trainer from Germany. He helped to set up the project’s social pedagogy developmental workshops in the North West.
Eichsteller says that, through their interdisciplinary theoretical background, social pedagogues have a broad understanding of psychology, sociology, social work, education, health and other disciplines, which widens their perspective. This allows them to reflect their practice under different disciplines compared with social workers and other residential workers.
“Social pedagogy offers a ‘freshness’ – a critical reflection of one’s own practice strengthened with grounded theory, a new language,” he says. “That conveys a positive concept of children, and a new perspective in re-defining residential childcare.”
Eichsteller says that, in carrying out the training in the North West, the pedagogues had the benefit of working with practitioners who were interested and open to the approach. He says the pedagogues were keen to emphasise that the participants were the experts in residential child care, while they were the experts in pedagogy, and made sure not to tell them how to do their job.
“We got participants to use their experiential learning from the training and our theoretical and practical knowledge to enrich their work where they see fit.”