International Symposium - Positive socialization, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility


   For the symposium, we have chosen a diamond logo because it best illustrates the multifunctional paradigm of Social Pedagogy (Social Education). The academic discourse of social pedagogy analyzes individual, social groups, and the general public with respect to the positive socialization patterns that affect the well-being and continuity of public goods. The content of social pedagogy depends not only on the problems within the dynamics of socio-education, but also on society's expectations for focusing on the complex challenges with respect to the integration of a social pedagogue within society, particularly a multifunctional social pedagogical paradigm reflecting adequate skills. As an academic discipline, social pedagogy describes how society is thinking about the welfare of its citizens and questions concerning the public good. Everyone has the opportunity to shine, and social pedagogy is the discipline providing educational assistance needed to reveal and liberate people’s creative potential. Social pedagogy, being the youngest in the social sciences, presents four main objectives that are linked together: 1. To promote the personal well-being and happiness of individuals in society, 2. To provide holistic social education, 3. To work in partnership and 4. To empower people. To ensure that the diamond edges are sanded and smooth social pedagogical practice through a 3 M/D model is essential: 1. multi-functional, 2. multi-criterion, and 3. multi-sector impact, all of which promote social inclusion, social welfare, and enable a person to have a better quality of life within civil society. Smart specialization aims for an inclusive and creative society that responds to social challenges, the worsening demographic situation, uneven regional development, poverty, illegal work, minimal social cohesion, gaps in skills and labor market, under-educated talent, and the creative potential of the public sector, including innovation and effective management. All of these areas possess a shortage of social educators. During the early development of social pedagogy (social education), the field focused its attention not only on child welfare and advocacy, but also on professional coaching for personal positive socialization[4] that influenced personal development, provided social and educational assistance in developing social responsibility, and sought to solve complex problems by empowering individuals, communities, and institutions through social partnerships. Social pedagogy theory in Lithuania was first outlined by Stasys Šalkauskis, clarified by Juozas Vaitkevičius in a 1988 monograph entitled Social Education features Lithuania Social Pedagogy, and further developed by Irena Leliugienė, Bronislovas Bitinas, Audronė Juodaitytė, Angelė Kaušylienė, Giedrė Kvieskienė, Liuda Rupšienė, Daiva Alifanovienė, Edita Štuopytė, Ilona Jonutytė, Ilona Tilindienė, Raimundas Čepukas, Audronė Dumčienė, Lidija Kondrašovienė and others. Social Education is now focusing on positive socialization considering multi-sector scenarios, combining active social inclusion, social entrepreneurship, smart and systematic socialization of complex socio-educational support methods, enabling individuals, social groups and communities to develop creative solutions to personal and social well-being, and enhancing the growing interdependence of the world and the challenges of dealing with social innovation.

   The fundamental principles of social pedagogy are based on love, compassion, empathy, and the notion that every human being has intrinsic value. We are all precious and possess a rich variety of knowledge, skills, and abilities. But as with a diamond, not all of this richness is necessarily visible: not all diamonds are polished and sparkle, but all have the potential to be true gems. Similarly, every person has potential to shine, and social pedagogy is about socio-education that assists people in setting their potential free.

These ideas are similar to being a "turnip stuffer" in the way that Pippi Longstocking describes: “It requires seeing the potential beneath the facade, to see with the heart rather than just with the eye, and to be vivid and inspiring enough so that others start seeing the treasure too.” In order to do this, social pedagogy follows aforementioned four core aims that are closely linked together: 1. well-being and happiness, 2. holistic learning, 3. relationships, and 4. empowerment in order that all of the diamond edges are evenly burnished in practice using the 3M/D model: multifunctional, multi-criteria, and multi-sector impact of developing social inclusion, and social welfare to enhance a person's quality of life within civil society. Social Pedagogy (Education) involves positive socialization in multi-sector scenarios by combining active social inclusion, social entrepreneurship, smart and systematic socialization of complex socio-educational support and assistant methods in order to enable individuals, social groups, and communities to develop creative solutions to personal and social well-being and enhance the growing interdependence of the world to meet today’s challenges with social innovation.


Well-being and Happiness:

   The overarching aim of all social pedagogic practice is to provide well-being and happiness, not on a short-term needs-focused basis, but through sustainability, through a rights-based approach. While the terms “well-being” and “happiness” are sometimes seen as one and the same, in our understanding they are notionally different: happiness describes a present state whereas well-being describes a long-lasting sense of physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. In combination, we can attain a holistic view of a person's well-being and happiness. Importantly, well-being and happiness are very individual and subjective: what makes us happy is very different from person to person. As a result, social pedagogic practice is very context-specific and highly responsive to the individual rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, special support and assistance are dependent on specific conditions and must be individualized.


Holistic, social education (Learning by Doing):

   “Learning is the pleasant anticipation of one’s self,” according to the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk. In this sense, holistic learning mirrors the aim of well-being and happiness – it must be seen as contributing to, or enhancing, our well-being. Social Pedagogy (Education) is more than what happens in school. It is a holistic process that realizes a person's learning and growth potential, which can happen in a number of situations, moderated by a social pedagogue. Holistic learning is a life-long process involving “head, heart, and hands” (Pestalozzi). Social pedagogy is about creating learning opportunities so that people get a sense of their own potential and how they have developed. As we are all unique so is our potential for learning and our way of learning and development.


Social Partnership/Relationship:

   The central key to achieving the main goals of social pedagogy are pedagogical relations and social partnerships. Public, private, and NGO partnership agreements occur between the public and private sector so the development of the necessary public infrastructure to meet the needs of the community and the provision of other related services is essential. Through supportive relationships with the social pedagogues, a person can experience how someone cares for and about them, that they can trust somebody. This is about giving them the social skills to be able to build strong positive relationships with others. Therefore, the pedagogic relationship must be a personal relationship between human beings – social pedagogues make use of their personality and have to be authentic in the relationship, which is not the same as sharing private matters. So the pedagogic relationship is professional and personal at the same time, thus requiring from the social pedagogue to be constantly reflective.



   Empowerment can be defined as the ability to “take your life into your hands,” to focus on positive changes by adopting a proactive stance with regard to personal welfare. It is necessary then to increase personal competencies to operate in new, unknown situations by using internal resources and personal discovery. Adapting to challenges and positive treatment are typical signs of “empowerment.” Alongside the relationship, empowerment is crucial in order to ensure that an individual experiences a sense of control over their life, feels involved in decisions affecting them, and is able to make sense of their own universe. Empowerment also means that the individual is able to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and their own well-being and happiness, as well as their relationship with the community. Social pedagogy is therefore about supporting people's empowerment, their independence as well as their interdependence.


Positive Socialization:

   Positive socialization is the dynamic social development of children where the needs and capabilities are monitored by professional groups in society to affect the welfare of children. In order to realize these core aims, social pedagogy has to be about providing positive experiences. The power of experiencing something positive – something that makes someone happy, something they have achieved, a new skill they have learned, the caring support from someone else – has a double impact: it raises the individual’s self-confidence and feeling of self-worth, so it reinforces their sense of well-being, of learning, of being able to form a strong relationship, or the feeling of being empowered; by strengthening their positive experiences, the person also improves their weak sides so that negative notions about their themselves fade away.


Social Pedagogues (Social Educators) in Lithuania:

   Social Pedagogue (Social Educator) preparation in Lithuanian higher education developed from the early 19th century The practical work in schools, though, began in Lithuania only during the twenty-first century. This work began 25 years ago in 1989. In 1989, a teaching experiment was set up by social educators in Kauno Palemonas and Kėdainių Academy Schools. Scientific experiments were conducted by dr.I. Leliugienė and dr.R. Lengvinas and also led by prof. Dr. B.Bitinas. In 1991, social pedagogues study preparation program initiatives were launched in Lithuania University of Educational Sciences, and then later in other universities and colleges.

   The government of the Republic of Lithuania in 2001 adopted Social Pedagogues as established posts for the period 2001-2005 and the program funding saw a noticeable increase in the number of social pedagogue posts. In 1999, Lithuanian schools employed 79 social educators. In 2001, 169 were funded; and in 2004, 597 social pedagogues were funded. Since 2004, social staff funded by the “student baskets.” In 2014, Lithuanian schools employed social work educators in 1090 schools, 7 percent of them were a social educator expert, 16 percent were a social teacher methodologist, and 39 percent were directors. Some Lithuanian schools have even two or more social educators. Pre-school education working in 75 primary school - 54 in the main school - 407 progymnasium - 99 in high school - 177, Gymnasium - 278 social educators. 33 percent of social educators working in schools have between 4 to 9 years of work experience, 30 percent - from 9 to 14 years and 18 per cent of the teachers working in the social work for up to 4 years and 15 years or more. In the 70 social work educators in vocational schools, 29 - pedagogical psychological services through 200 - child care homes and others.

   Although the first social pedagogues were initially established only in schools, nowadays social pedagogues are successfully integrated in educational assistance established institutions, orphanages, centers providing services for rehabilitation and re-socialization of children, child protection services, social welfare centers, pedagogical psychological services, pre-school education offices, multi-functional children and youth centers, hospitals, non-governmental organizations, communities, and others. When social pedagogues started to work in educational institutions social pedagogue socio-education and child welfare work took on a systematic nature: the emergence of an employee who consistently goes deep into the problems faced by pupils and youth in order to solve child welfare issues.

Responsible for content Sigita Burvytė.
Updated on: 2014-10-01 08:04