A Pedagogy of Safety

imageWhenever I hear a podcast or discussion in Safety about culture it reminds me of discussions I hear on Education that are silent about ‘pedagogy’.

The foundation of Education and Learning are embedded in an understanding of pedagogy. If someone proclaims they are speaking about Education and Learning and are silent on pedagogy, then you know they don’t much about Education and Learning, they are probably discussing training. This is the same in discussions about so called ‘safety culture’ with so called ‘experts’ in culture. If you want to assess the level of expertise in culture, just listen to the silences (https://safetyrisk.net/category/safety-culture-silences/).

It seems anchoring any discussion of culture to safety, diminishes and narrows knowing about culture. Safety should NOT be the qualifier about knowing in culture. Such anchoring restricts thinking and any possibility of Transdisciplinarity. Most of the time the discussion is simply about systems, structure, behaviours and leadership, but NOT about culture. Many of those delivering products on culture are engineers or hold an engineering worldview.

The word ‘pedagogy’ comes from the idea of ‘walking along side’. In Greek society the pedagogue (often a slave) was the one who walked you to school. The root meaning of the word is from the etymology for ‘feet’. Whilst the school provided formal ‘schooling’, it was with the pedagogue that life-long learning (ethical practice) was ‘learned’. The pedagogue was the one who extracted and dialogued, listened and reflected in relationship with the child.

The notion of pedagogy in Education and Learning is about the strategy that delivers (facilitates) the curriculum. Curriculum can be informal, formal, unconscious and hidden. A typical strategy in cognitivist pedagogy is telling or lecturing. Such a method has its focus on content knowledge, in and out content and regurgitation, often not about learning. This is the common pedagogy in safety and is quite ineffective. It is also the most common method for inductions, which explains why most inductions too are ineffective.

Method is driven by methodology (philosophy, ethic, ontology). Methodology is NOT method.

Any induction method hides a methodology (philosophy of learning and pedagogy). This is not studied anywhere in the safety curriculum.

The effectiveness of any given method in pedagogy is directly linked to the learning style of the learner. We all learn differently eg. some are better visual learners, hands-on learners, mathematical learners, musical learners or verbal learners than text-based learners or rationalist-based learners. Understanding how people learn is the foundation of pedagogy. This is why some people like some teachers in school over others. This is why some don’t learn much through standardised testing (https://safetyrisk.net/by-what-measure-safety/).

All measures of effectiveness in safety are directly connected to pedagogy and learning. Unfortunately, telling is the least effective of all pedagogical styles. This is the style most common in safety and is anchored to the antiquated ideas of behaviourism. In safety, most of the time you hear criticism and blame of workers, everything is projected at the worker NOT the design of the induction, pedagogy or proposed methodology of learning.

The reason why workers have not ‘learned’ something can’t possibly reside with my ineffectiveness in pedagogy.

In SPoR, we provide extensive tools, education and learning in pedagogy (https://safetyrisk.net/skills-in-presentations-toolbox-and-inductions/).

We also provide extensive expertise in Induction assessment and design so that a diverse range of pedagogies are used to enable the greatest effectiveness in learning (https://safetyrisk.net/a-definition-of-learning-a-video/ ). This is supported by extensive training materials, free books, videos and free tools that enable learning. For example:



We are currently delivering induction design and delivery in several companies in mining, construction, forestry and manufacturing.

BTW, there is nothing in the Act or Regulation that stipulates the style of induction, it just states that you have one. Neither is their anything about measuring induction effectiveness in the Act or Regulation. And, most inductions I has sat through and assessed in my experience are astoundingly ineffective.

The best place to start in understanding pedagogy, is with the free book on Learning and Risk made available by SPoR: Tackling Risk, A field Guide in Risk and Learning (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/tackling-risk/). This is supported by another free book on the SPoR curriculum The Social Psychology of Risk handbook (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/the-social-psychology-of-risk-handbook/).

All of this is for free download and each include extensive practical tools in how to improve learning and education in safety.

The key focus of SPoR is constructive, practical and positive approaches to risk, that work (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/).

I always find it so amusing when a Linkedin warriors parades questions about tools, constructiveness and practicality, when these have been available for free for years!

And, if your pedagogical style is not through text-based learning then there are equally as many free SPoR resources in videos, podcasts and other interactive methods.

The best way to learn about learning (and pedagogy) is through a Transdisciplinary and multi-methods approach to learning.

The last place to learn about learning and pedagogy is through engineering, safety and behaviourism.

Even then, there are sources in the safety industry selling products in learning that are NOT about learning being delivered by people with no expertise in learning. Not surprising, as there are just as many delivering products on culture that are not about culture.

Of course, if a new word like ‘pedagogy’ has turned you off, you certainly haven’t read this far in the blog. In which case you are not pedagogically oriented to learning through blogs or different words are an assessment measure (https://safetyrisk.net/by-what-measure-safety/) of ‘safety bashing’ (https://safetyrisk.net/im-a-safety-basher/).

SPoR also delivers an online learning option about learning and pedagogy that is available here: https://cllr.com.au/product/learning-community-and-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-7/

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