featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action

support pages for Heather Smith and Mark K. Smith's book: the art of helping others


further reading
the art of helping others: home and forum



The retreat from vocation and calling. Tony Jeffs argues that in recent years face-to-face work has been devalued and constrained; policymakers have opted for quantity over quality in terms of workers; and the need for vocation and calling has been sidelined.

Friendship, helping, and education. Today received wisdom has it that helpers and educators should be friendly with cover: the art of helping othersthose they work with, but not friends. But is this right? We examine the nature of friendship - and ask whether its cultivation should be an aim of educators and part of education.

Elliot Eisner, connoisseurship, criticism and the art of education. Elliot W. Eisner has deepened our appreciation of education in a number of areas. Here we examine his argument that education involves the exercise of artistry and the development of connoisseurship and criticism.

Erich Fromm: freedom and alienation, and loving and being, in education. Erich Fromm was both a practicing psychoanalyst and a committed and insightful social theorist. We explore his continuing relevance to educational practice and focus on his deeply instructive appreciation of freedom, love and human flourishing.

David Brandon - homelessness, advocacy and mental health, and zen in the art of helping. We examine David Brandon's seminal contribution to our understanding of the experience of homelessness and mental health problems, and his insights into the nature of advocacy and the helping process.


further reading

Brandon, David (1990) Zen in the Art of Helping. London: Penguin Arkana. (First published 1976 by Routledge and Kegan Paul). A landmark book. based in a strong appreciation of the relationship between personal troubles and public issues, and of the contribution that insights from Zen Buddhism could make to helping.

Fromm, Erich (2005) To Have or to Be, (first published 1976). London: Continuum. This remains a rightly popular account of having and being. It calls upon us to resist dehumanization and to engage fully with life.

Noddings, Nel (2002) Starting at Home. Caring and social policy. Berkeley: University of California Press. This book provides a good starting point for appreciating Noddings' work. It examines the nature of caring about and caring for, and sets it within more thinking around the nature of selfhood. It also has the bonus of some interesting explorations of different areas of social policy: education, housing and deviance.