Youth Worker: Probably the Most Difficult Job in the World

Filip Coussée, Howard Williamson

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    One of the most central principles for social pedagogues is to critically examine their role and the purpose of their practice: What are the social aspects of relevance for their practice? How can they help the children they work with to develop social competences, to feel included in a social network and the wider society, to have a sense of belonging and take more responsibility for their community? To what extent must social pedagogues be advocates for those marginalised within society, be a critical voice that challenges social inequalities? And on the other hand, what pedagogical aspects are important within that work context? How can they create learning opportunities that prepare children and young people for many aspects of life? To what extent are they expected to be formative and socialise children and young people to fit in, and to what extent must their practice nurture the individual's autonomous development? These are not easy questions to answer, and they need to be asked over and over as the answers will change, depending on the individual with whom social pedagogues work, but also their work context and, importantly, the wider socio-political framework, which might make particular aspects more relevant at times.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)224 - 228
    Number of pages4
    JournalChildren Australia
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011


    • youth work
    • social pedagogy
    • social exclusion


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