Social pedagogy describes a relationship-first approach to addressing social justice issues in and beyond the classroom. Social pedagogy supports the idea that meaningful change begins by nurturing wellbeing and connection at both the individual and community level. Social pedagogy reflects cultural and societal norms and attitudes that students hold towards a given artifact or event. Paul Natorp, German philosopher, stated that “all pedagogy should be social, that is, that in the philosophy of education the interaction of educational processes and society must be taken into consideration.”
Social pedagogy refers to learning by way of interacting with others and cultivating relationships with those in one’s immediate environment. Social pedagogy favors a multidisciplinary route to solving problems, where students use psychology, sociology, politics and social justice to arrive at solutions. Social pedagogy supports the idea that the best learning occurs in a holistic and empowering manner. An example of social pedagogy in action involves students recognizing and respecting personal histories and lived experiences that their peers may bring to class.