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

2: knowing and being ourselves

further reading
the art of helping others: home and forum


Calling. The notion of calling, once rather unfashionable, has re-emerged as an organizing idea within education and helping. Michele Erina Doyle examines calling and vocation, and sets them in particular within Christian discourse. She argues that fulfilling our calling as informal educators (and helpers) means we work with others for the processes of knowing, testing, naming, being, doing and becoming. Our hope is that both we and others prosper.

cover: the art of helping othersCaring in education. In this article Nel Noddings explores the nature of caring relations and encounters in education and some of the difficulties educators have with them. She also looks at caring relations as the foundation for pedagogical activity.

Nel Noddings, and caring. Nel Noddings is well known for her work around the ethics of caring, however, she has also added significantly to theory and practice more broadly in education and helping . Here we explore her contribution.

The gift of authenticity. Heather Smith argues that developments in youth work are undermining authentic relationship. She suggests that if we do prize relationships over targets and do truly care about the people we encounter, it is possible to take personal responsibility to seek out the gift of authenticity.

Carl Rogers on core conditions. Best known for his contribution to client-centered therapy and his role in the development of counselling, Rogers also had much to say about education and group work.

Selfhood. This page explores the nature of the self. We look at four different models of selfhood - which is a far from easy task. It is difficult to take a step outside what we take for granted.

Donald Schön on reflection. Donald Schon made a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the theory and practice of learning. His innovative thinking around notions such as ‘the learning society’, ‘double-loop learning’ and ‘reflection-in-action’ has become part of the language of education. We explore his work and some of the key themes that emerge. What assessment can we make now?

further reading

Layder, Derek (2004) Social and Personal Identity. Understanding yourself. London: Sage. An accessible introduction to understanding personal identity or self.

Palmer, Parker. J. (2000) Let your life speak. Listening to for the voice of vocation, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. In this short, refreshing book, Palmer invites readers to attend to the ‘inner teacher’ and to follow its leadings.

Kirschenbaum, Howard and Henderson, Valerie Land (eds.) (1990) The Carl Rogers Reader. London: Constable. The idea of genuineness or congruence is such a central feature of Carl Roger’s work that it is important to read him. Look particularly at his 1957 piece on the conditions of therapeutic personality change (reading 16), and his 1959 article on the person-centred framework (reading 17).