The development of folk high schools

A survey of their development and listing of key texts. Contents: introduction • the development of folk high schools in Denmark • folk high schools beyond Denmark • further reading and references • acknowledgements • how to cite this piece The first Folk High School first opened in 1844 (the year the YMCA was founded). […]

Mary Parker Follett: community, creative experience and education

Mary Parker Follett graduation picture 1891 Mary Parker Follett: community, creative experience and education. With her concern for creative experience, democracy and for developing local community organizations, Mary Parker Follett is an often forgotten, but still deeply instructive thinker for educators, pedagogues and social animateurs. contents: introduction · Mary Parker Follett – life · The […]

Friendship theory: some philosophical and sociological themes

Friendship: some philosophical and sociological themes. Many people’s understanding of friendship in northern societies is rather thin. We explore some classical views of friendship, the development of theory and practice in ‘modern’ societies, and some key aspects of the current experience of friendship. On a linked page we examine some of the implications for educators. […]

Paulo Freire: dialogue, praxis and education

Paulo Freire, dialogue, praxis and education. Perhaps the most influential thinker about education in the late twentieth century, Paulo Freire has been particularly popular with informal educators with his emphasis on dialogue and his concern for the oppressed. contents: introduction · contribution · critique · further reading and references · links Paulo Freire (1921 – […]

Full-service schooling

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash The idea of full-service schooling aroused considerable interest. In the United States a range of initiatives were taken; and it has been considered as a serious policy option in Britain and Australia. But what is it and what issues surround it? contents: introduction · what is a full-service school? […]

Globalization: theory and experience

Globalization: theory and experience.’Globalization’ is a favourite catchphrase of journalists and politicians. It has also become a key idea for business theory and practice, and entered academic debates. But what people mean by ‘globalization’ is often confused and confusing. Here we examine some key themes in the theory and experience of globalization. Contents: introduction · […]

George Goetschius, community development and detached youth work

Known for his part in establishing the English Stage Company, the American sociologist George W. Goetschius also made a key contribution to deepening the thinking and practice of community development and detached youth work. We explore his work and life. contents: introduction · life ·  working with unattached youth · working with community groups · conclusion ·  further reading and references · […]

What is a group?

What is a group? How are we to approach groups? In this article we review the development of theory about groups. We look at some different definitions of groups, and some of the key dimensions to bear in mind when thinking about them. contents: introduction · the development of thinking about groups · defining ‘group’ […]

N. F. S. Grundtvig, folk high schools and popular education

N. F. S. Grundtvig, folk high schools and popular education. Nikolai Frederick Grundtvig (1783-1872) was a prolific writer contributing major works in theology, education, literature, politics, and history. He was also a poet and hymn-writer. Outside Denmark he is probably best known for his contribution to educational thought and practice, and to social reform – […]

Octavia Hill, housing and social reform

Octavia Hill, housing and social reform. Octavia Hill (1838-1912) made a defining contribution to the development of a more enlightened approach to the provision and management of housing for working people. Her championship of playgrounds, the army cadet corps and access to common lands and the countryside more broadly were also important. In this piece, […]

What is hope? How can we offer it to children and young people in schools and local organizations?

Mark K Smith explores how, in the context of the ‘new normal’, educators, pedagogues and practitioners need to offer hope to children and young people. This article is part of a series: dealing with the new normal • offering sanctuary • offering community • offering hope] contents: introduction • what is hope? • being hopeful • building hope […]

Ivan Illich: deschooling, conviviality and lifelong learning

Ivan Illich: deschooling, conviviality and  lifelong learning. Known for his critique of modernization and the corrupting impact of institutions, Ivan Illich’s concern with deschooling, learning webs and the disabling effect of professions has struck a chord among many informal educators. We explore key aspects of his theory and his continuing relevance for informal education and […]

informal non-formal and formal education – a brief overview of some different approaches

Many of the debates around informal and formal education have been muddied by participants having very different understandings of basic notions. Here we explore three different approaches commonly found in the literature. contents: introduction · looking to institutions: informal, non-formal and formal education · turning to process: conversation and setting · a question of style: […]

Informal and non-formal education, colonialism and development

Informal and non-formal education, colonialism and development. The place of informal and non-formal education in development – the experience of the south. Contents: introduction · the indebted south · education in the south · the question of colonialism · non-formal and informal programmes · literacy programmes · conclusion: informal and non-formal education and development · […]

Informal learning: theory, practice and experience

Informal learning: theory, practice and experience. In recent years a number of researchers and policy pundits have rediscovered ‘informal learning’. But is there really such a thing? We explore the theory and practice of ‘informal learning’ contents:  introduction · informal learning · non-formal learning · tacit knowledge · situated and distributed learning · informal education […]

Pearl Jephcott, youth and the lives of ordinary people

Pearl Jephcott produced a series of influential studies of the lives of young people and was an important figure in the development of thinking about youth club work. She also undertook a number of community studies that added significantly to our appreciation of working-class life. contents: introduction · life · Pearl Jephcott, youth work and […]

Josephine Klein, group work, youth work and exploring English cultures

Josephine Klein, group work, youth work and exploring English cultures. Josephine Klein was one of the first British-based practitioners to explore group process and working with groups systematically. She also went on to complete a landmark study of family and community life and develop a distinctive approach to youth work training before becoming a psychotherapist. […]

Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy

Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy. A champion of andragogy, self-direction in learning and informal adult education, Malcolm S. Knowles was a very influential figure in the adult education field. Here we review his life and achievements, and assess his contribution. contents: introduction · malcolm knowles – life · adult informal education · […]

Ruth Kotinsky on adult education and lifelong learning

Ruth Kotinsky on adult education and lifelong learning. Ruth Kotinsky made a number of important contributions to educational thought in the United States. Of particular interest was her exploration of adult education as an aspect of the social scene. Ruth Kotinsky (1903-1955) holds a special, but often overlooked, place in the development of thinking around […]

Learning in the community and community learning

Learning in the community and community learning. The idea of learning in the community has been around for some time. But what is it, what does it involve, and how does it relate to the notion of community learning – popularized in Scotland? Contents: introduction · learning in everyday life and formal instructional settings · […]

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning. Lifelong learning – along with ideas such as ‘the learning society’ – has become popular with politicians and policymakers in a number of countries. But what do people mean by it? Is the idea of lifelong learning helpful? Contents: · education is life · lifelong education · lifelong learning · conclusion · further […]

Lifespan development and lifelong learning

Lifespan development and lifelong learning. ‘Development’ is one of those familiar concepts that seeps almost unnoticed into the conversations of educators. They are self-evidently concerned with the development of people. But what is development? Are there particular stages that we pass through in our life course? Contents · introduction · development · stages · gender, […]

The learning organization: principles, theory and practice

The learning organization. Just what constitutes a ‘learning organization is a matter of some debate. We explore some of the themes that have emerged in the literature and the contributions of key thinkers like Donald Schon and Peter Senge. Is it anything more than rhetoric? Can it be realized? contents: introduction · the learning society […]

Classical models of managerial leadership: trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory

What is leadership? Here Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith explore some of the classical models of leadership. In particular they look at earlier approaches to studying the area via the notions of traits and behaviours, and to what has become known as contingency theory. From there they turn to more recent, ‘transformational’ theories […]

Shared leadership

Shared leadership. Leadership can be explored as a social process – something that happens between people. It is not so much what leaders do, as something that arises out of social relationships. As such it does not depend on one person, but on how people act together to make sense of the situations that face […]

Eduard C. Lindeman and the meaning of adult education

Eduard C. Lindeman and the meaning of adult education. Perhaps best known today for his work in adult education, Eduard C. Lindeman (1885 – 1953) also wrote one of the first books on community development, was an early explorer of groupwork and worked to extend popular education. In this piece, we explore his life and […]

William Lovett and education

William Lovett and education. Sharing something of a similar political tradition to Robert Owen – but coming a different social position – William Lovett – has a significant place in the development of ideas around schooling and lifelong learning. ontents: introduction · education and politics · schools for the people · further reading and references […]

William Lovett on education: Extracts from Chartism – a new organization of the people

Sharing something of a similar political tradition to Robert Owen – but coming a different social position – William Lovett – has a significant place in the development of ideas around schooling and lifelong learning. Here we reproduce extracts from Chartism – A New Organization of the People (1840) – written with John Collins ____________ William […]

Malcolm X on education

Malcolm X on education. Malcolm X is a fascinating person to approach as an educational thinker – not because he was an academic or had any scholastic achievements but as an example of what can be achieved by someone engages in ‘homemade’ or self-education. contents: introduction · homemade education · conclusion · bibliography · how […]

Karl Marx and education

Karl Marx and education. What significance does Marx have for educators and animateurs today? An introduction and assessment by Barry Burke. contents: introduction · life · Karl Marx as a thinker · Karl Marx and the class struggle · the communist manifesto · Karl Marx’s relevance to knowledge and education · further reading · links […]

Mehrgenerationenhäuser – multi-generational meeting houses – animation, care and pedagogy

Mehrgenerationenhäuser – multi-generational meeting houses – are attracting growing interest outside their home in Germany. In this piece we examine what they are, how they function, and their relevance to some key issues faced by local communities – in particular around ageing. We will also look at the role of social pedagogues within them and […]

Fred Milson: developing the practice of youth and community work

Fred Milson: developing the practice of youth and community work. Fred Milson was an influential writer and trainer who did much to develop youth and community work practice within the Methodist church and the Youth Service generally. He was also an important contributor to national policy debates. Here we assess his contribution. contents: introduction · […]

Henry Morris, village colleges and community schools

Henry Morris, village colleges and community schools.His vision of the village college – and his capacity to realize his ideal – have made a profound impact on our understanding of what is possible in schooling Temporary piece Life: (outline prepared by Tony Jeffs) 1889 Born Southport, Lancashire 1903 Office boy then reporter – The Southport […]

Neighbourhoods and regeneration – theory, practice, issues

For all the talk of changing lifestyles, neighbourhood still plays a fundamental role in many people’s lives. We explore the nature of neighbourhood, some current issues associated with ‘disadvantaged’ neighbourhoods; and what can be done to regenerate them. Coopers Road Estate, London SE1 – walls removed to deter squatters contents: introduction · growing disquiet about neighbourhoods […]

Neighborhoods and regeneration – theory, practice, issues

  For all the talk of changing lifestyles, neighborhood still plays a fundamental role in many people’s lives. We explore the nature of neighborhood, some current issues associated with ‘disadvantaged’ neighborhoods; and what can be done to regenerate them. contents: introduction · growing disquiet about neighborhoods  · social polarization · some issues of disadvantaged neighborhoods  · […]

Michael Newman: Adult education: throwing out the balance with the bathwater

Michael Newman argues for the jettisoning of the concept of balance in adult education. ‘Balance’ allows the teacher to adopt an amoral or even immoral stance; to refuse to take sides even in the face of the unpleasant, the gross and the unjust.  contents: introduction · in the company of others · what do I […]

Michael Newman, adult learning, social action and activist education

Michael Newman, adult learning, social action and activist education. Michael Newman’s work and writing has, for many years, offered an important, grounded and refreshing alternative to much of what has passed as the mainstream in adult education and lifelong learning. In this piece we explore his contribution and the possibilities it offers for ‘activist educators’. […]

Michael Newman: Maeler’s regard: images of adult learning

This book, originally published in 1999, provides an original insight into ‘the mysterious and complex process of learning’. Written by Michael Newman, it covers a range of themes, including experience, critical and uncritical thinking, consciousness, forms of power and social control, social movements, civil society, social action, resistance and protest, learning as social beings, and […]

Michael Newman: Defining the enemy – adult education in social action

This book, written by Michael Newman and originally published in 1994, won the Cyril Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education from the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education. links: maeler’s regard: images of adult learning (michael newman) · the third contract: theory and practice in trade union training (michael newman) · throwing out the balance with the […]

Michael Newman: The third contract: theory and practice in trade union training

This book, originally published in 1993, won the 1993 Cyril Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education from the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education. links: maeler’s regard: images of adult learning (michael newman) · defining the enemy – adult education in social action (michael newman) Michael Newman (1939- ) has made a significant contribution to our appreciation of […]

Julius Nyerere, lifelong learning and education

Julius Nyerere, lifelong learning and education. One of Africa’s most respected figures, Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu or teacher he had a vision of education and social action that was rich with possibility. contents: introduction · ujamma, socialism and self reliance · education for self-reliance […]

open schooling

A listing of key texts. The idea of open schooling gained some currency in the early 1970s. In this vision, the school was to open up its processes and to to become more permeable. Here I have picked out some texts overtly centred on open schooling. Easthope, G. (1975) Community, Hierarchy and Open Education, London: […]

Education in Robert Owen’s new society: the New Lanark institute and schools

Education in Robert Owen’s new society: the New Lanark institute and schools. Robert Owen’s educational venture at New Lanark helped to pioneer infant schools and was an early example of what we now recognize as community schooling. Yet education was only a single facet of a more powerful social gospel which already preached community building […]

Robert Owen: An address to the inhabitants of New Lanark

New Lanark – the institute is towards the back of picture, and has a small tower. This famous address on the significance of education for social change was delivered by Robert Owen on the opening of the Institute for the Formation of Character on January 1, 1816. contents: preface · dedication · an address to the inhabitants of new lanark · how […]

Parker J. Palmer: community, knowing and spirituality in education

Parker J. Palmer: community, knowing and spirituality in education. Parker J. Palmer’s explorations of education as a spiritual journey and of the inner lives of educators have been deeply influential. We explore his teachings and contribution. contents: introduction · parker j. palmer – life · education as a spiritual journey · parker palmer – knowing, teaching […]

Post-modernism, post-modernity and education

Post-modernism and post-modernity. Page upon page has been devoted to post-modernism and post-modernity. But what actually are they, and what implications do they have for informal educators? Barry Burke investigates. Contents: modernism · post-modernism · post-industrial society · post-fordism · disorganised capitalism · implications for informal educators · conclusion · how to cite this article […]

Robert Putnam, social capital and civic community

Robert Putnam, social capital and civic community. Robert Putnam has been described as the most influential academic in the world today. His book Bowling Alone seems to have struck a chord with many concerned with the state of public life. Is the hype justified? We explore Putnam’s contribution and its significance for informal educators and […]

‘Race’ and difference – developing practice in lifelong learning

‘Race’ and difference – developing practice in lifelong learning. What strategies are used to deal with ‘race’ and difference in lifelong learning? How is theory and practice to be developed? Contents: ‘race’ and ethnicity · multiculturaism and anti-racism · culture · culture and agency · voice and difference · further reading bell hooks begins her […]

Radical community education

Tom Lovett explores the development of radical community education and explores different models of practice. Different models of recent work are reviewed and some ways forward suggested. This article was first published in 1994. Contents: introduction • historical and international background • The American Labour Movement • Highlander • The Antigonish Movement  • The WEA […]

Robert Raikes and Sunday schools

Robert Raikes – Wikipedia – pd Known as the founder of the Sunday Schools movement, Raikes used his position as editor and proprietor of the Gloucester Journal to publicize the cause. However, many Sunday schools (and chapel and church communities) became crucial working class institutions and centres for mutual aid and association. There is some […]