Mark K. Smith is the Rank Research Fellow and Tutor at the YMCA George Williams College, London (a college linked to Canterbury Christ Church University) and has been a visiting professor in community education at the University of Strathclyde.
Specializing in the fields of informal education, social pedagogy and community learning, Mark Smith has worked as a careers officer, youth and community worker, and project coordinator. He grew up in Hemel Hempstead, studied economics with politics at the University of Lancaster, and gained his doctorate in the philosophy of education from the University of London.
Among his books are Creators not Consumers (1980, 1982), Organise! (1981), Developing Youth Work (1988), Local Education (1994), Informal Education (1996, 1999, 2005 with Tony Jeffs), The Art of Helping Others (2008, with Heather Smith), Youth Work Practice (2010, edited with Tony Jeffs) and Journeying Together (2010, edited with Alan Rogers). He writes for, and edits, infed.org and is on the editorial board of Youth and Policy.
At the moment Mark K Smith working on a book on social pedagogy (with Tony Jeffs) and a new publication on Christian youth work.
Innovatory, action research is a particular interest. Mark K. Smith’s projects have focused on social and political education (funded by the Department of Education and Science and based at the then National Association of Youth Clubs); youth work (supported by the Rank Foundation); and community learning and development (also supported by the Rank Foundation). He also been responsible for large scale evaluatary work – most recently with Jean Spence for the Big Lottery Fund and Department for Education (an evaluation of the English government myplace initiative).
Currently he is also a foundation governor of a Catholic secondary school in an inner London borough, and was, for a number of years, chair of a nearby tenants cooperative that ran two tower blocks.
YMCA George Williams College, 199 Freemasons Road, Canning Town, London E16 3PY, United Kingdom. Direct line/voice mail: 020 7540 4929. E-mail: email@example.com
Details of some of books are given below – especially those you can read for free. There are support pages for a number of these publications. If ‘look inside’ is active on Amazon – you can click on the link to access parts of the book.
New: Learning through outdoor experience. A guide for youth groups and schools
Learning through outdoor experience has been written by a team of people involved in outdoor learning and experience. They are part of a network of workers and agencies linked to the Rank Foundation (yarn) in the UK. As well as drawing on their own experience and expertise they were also helped by responses and contributions by more than 50 other people in the network. Edited by Alan Rogers and Mark K Smith. Published 2012. Available as a pdf, and for mobiles and Kindles (prc).
The art of helping others: Being around, being there, being wise
When people search for someone to help them reflect upon and improve their lives, they tend to be drawn towards those who are compassionate, committed and wise. This book explores the helping processes involved and draws upon the experiences and practice wisdom of helpers such as youth workers, housing support workers, the clergy and those working in a religious setting, and education. Written by Heather Smith and Mark K. Smith. Look inside the book at Amazon.
Informal education. Conversation, democracy and learning
This book explored how informal educators encourage conversation, democracy and learning. It also examines evaluation, working with process, living with values and planning. Written by Tony Jeffs and Mark K Smith. First published 1996; 2nd edition 1999; 3rd edition 2005. Published by Educational Heretics.
Journeying together: growing youth work and youth workers in local communities
The book explores a way of working – pioneered and developed over 22 years by the Rank Foundation’s Youth or Adult? initiative. Youth or Adult? has ‘grown’ youth work by supporting individuals to train professionally, while working in community-based organizations. Through this investment in people, the work is having a lasting impact within communities. Grounded in workers’ personal experiences, as well as in relevant theory, Journeying together explores the experiences of community-based organizations, volunteers, part-time and full-time workers, and provides questions for both non-specialists and experts to consider. Edited by Alan Rogers and Mark K Smith. First published 2010. Checkout the supporting film and booklet. Published 2010 by Russell House.
Local Education. Community, conversation, praxis
Drawing upon the experiences of adult and community educators, youth and community workers, Mark K. Smith examine the practice of educators who build up ways of working with local networks and cultures. Shops, launderettes, streets, bars, cafes and people’s houses are the settings for much of their work, and when they do appear in schools and colleges, they are most likely to be found in corridors, eating areas and student common-rooms. Their work is not organized by subject, syllabi or lessons; it is about conversation and community, a commitment to local democracy and self-organization, and is often unpredictable and risky. Written by Mark K Smith. Published by Open University Press 1994. A paper on the research methodology is available on infed.org. Look inside the book at Amazon.
It is possible to download and view online a number of older books for free (with some Kindle versions to come).
Creators not consumers: rediscovering social education
Two main themes run through Creators not Consumers. First, there is a concern to encourage young people to get involved in organizing things for themselves. This flows from a belief in the benefits of associational life both for the happiness and self confidence of individuals, and for the strengthening of community life. Second, there is an invitation to workers to embrace and explore their educational role. These two themes help to explain the sub-title – rediscovering social education. Written by Mark K Smith. Read the second edition from 1982. Originally published by NAYC Publications (now Youth Clubs UK). First published August 1980. Reprinted October 1980. Second Edition January 1982.
Developing youth work: informal education, mutual aid and popular practice
Developing Youth Work (1988) was an attempt to construct a coherent and distinctive understanding of youth work. It looked to informal education and association (mutual aid) as the core of the work, and argued that despite appearances, the youth service was starting a process of terminal decline in England and Wales. Written by Mark K Smith. Read the book. Originally published by the Open University Press. First published 1988.
Using informal education: An alternative to casework, teaching and control?
In the late 1980s there was a growing interest in the use of informal education in welfare and schooling. Using Informal Education was the first major exploration. Edited by Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith. Read the book. Originally published by the Open University Press. First published 1990.
Born and Bred? Leadership, heart and informal education
Leadership, for us, is not about influencing groups and communities to follow a particular person’s vision, but rather working so that people may come together, flourish and build better lives.
Born and Bred? explores some key themes for educators about leadership. These include:The idea that leaders are people with special qualities.
- The experience of leadership as a shared process.
- The place of heart in the work.
- The centrality of service, association and well-being.
- The relationship between animation, formation and education.
- The special role informal educators can play in developing environments where people can take responsibility and have a concern for each other.