Fred Milson – Growing with the job: youth worker’s progress

In this popular pamphlet from 1968, Fred Milson makes the case for attending to the growth and development of workers – and the special setting in which they are working. Youth leaders either learn to deal with the problems they encounter by the development of their own resources of ‘patience, understanding and ingenuity’ or they […]

William Morris – Thoughts on education under capitalism

Thoughts on education under capitalism first appeared in Commonweal in 1888. In the article William Morris provides a striking critique of schooling (and other forms of state- or industry-sponsored education) within capitalist systems William Morris (1834-1896) was one of the best known Victorian poets; the ‘greatest artist craftsman of his period’, and a successful businessman […]

William Morris – A factory as it might be

In this piece – which first appeared in as three articles in 1884 – William Morris sets a vision of how education and industry might be brought together under socialism. William Morris (1834-1896) was one of the best known Victorian poets; the ‘greatest artist craftsman of his period’, and a successful businessman (MacCarthy 1994: vii). […]

Museums and informal education

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash Chandler Screven examines the possibilities for informal education within museums. There has been a strong tradition of thinking about informal education in museums and centers in north American – especially in relation to science – and Screven provides some important guidelines. contents: introduction · communication in the informal education […]

NABC: The principles and aims of the boy’s club movement

Stirling Boys’ Club by Stéphane DAMOUR. Flickr ccbyncnd2 This classic statement of the ethos and aims of the boys’ club movement was agreed in 1930. It highlights the distinctive contribution of club life when combined with a concern for play, fitness (or wholeness), comradeship and self-government. contents: preface · foreword · the need for clubs […]

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 […]

Non-formal learning: mapping the conceptual terrain. a consultation report

In this piece Helen Colley, Phil Hodkinson & Janice Malcolm provide a very helpful overview of different discourses around non-formal and informal learning and find that there are few, if any, learning situations where either informal or formal elements are completely absent. Boundaries or relationships between informal, non-formal and formal learning can only be understood […]

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 […]

John Dewey: My pedagogical creed

My pedagogic creed – John Dewey’s famous declaration concerning education. First published in The School Journal, Volume LIV, Number 3 (January 16, 1897), pages 77-80. Contents: what education is • what the school is • the subject matter of education • the nature of method • the school and social progress • how to cite […]

Joan Matthews: Professional skill

Subtitled ‘Notes written for the guidance of area organizers and supervisors but which may also serve as an introduction to social group work for youth leaders’, this 1968 pamphlet by Joan E. Matthews was a popular introduction to the area. contents: preface · professional skill · how to cite this piece Joan E. Matthews was […]

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 […]

Charles Dickens on ragged schooling

  A letter on ragged schooling that first appeared in The Daily News on Feb 4th 1846. In it Charles Dickens reflects on his visit to Field Lane Ragged School. Dicken’s encounter with ragged schooling made a lasting impact upon him and is said to have been a significant element in his writing of A Christmas […]

John Ruskin: Modern education

Image: John Ruskin – Wikimedia pd ‘Modern education’ first appeared as an appendix to John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice [Volume III] in 1853. In it he defines one of his key educational principles: education according to aptitude and circumstance. For full discussion of John Ruskin’s educational ideas – and his approach as an educator […]

Self-directed learning

Stephen D. Brookfield explores the notion of self-directed learning. He takes Knowles’ (1975) influential definition as a starting point and then explores some of the problems surrounding the idea. Brookfield highlights two particular characteristics that move the discussion from a technical to a critical realm: authentic control, and access to resources. He argues that it […]

A conceptual framework for understanding self-direction in adult learning

In this chapter from Self-Direction in Adult Learning (1991), Ralph G. Brockett and Roger Hiemstra argue that self-direction in learning refers to two distinct but related dimensions: as an instructional process where a learner assumes primary responsibility for the learning process; and as a personality characteristic centering on a learner’s desire or preference for assuming […]

E. Lesley Sewell: Looking at youth clubs

E. Lesley Sewell’s pamphlet is a youth work classic. First published in 1966 it became the reference point for many workers and organizers when thinking about the work they were observing. contents: preface · to what end · by what standards? · is assessment possible? · how to cite this piece Part of the girls […]

Samuel Smiles : Self help with illustrations of character and conduct

Samuel Smiles’s Self-Help is said to have reflected the spirit of its age. It also proved to be a best seller – with more than a quarter of a million copies sold by the time of Smiles’s death. Arguing for the importance of character, thrift and perseverance, the book also celebrates civility, independence and individuality. […]

Social education

James Hole (1860) fascinating discussion of social education, Chapter VIII of “Light, More Light!” On the present state of education amongst the working classes of Leeds, London: Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, pages 107-125. [Page 107] THERE are some agencies which, though they cannot be classed as schools, have an educational influence of the most […]

From social education to social and life skills training: in whose interest?

Here we reproduce the full text of Bernard Davies’  landmark pamphlet In Whose Interest? Published in 1979 the pamphlet drew attention to the fundamental shifts that were beginning to occur in youth work in England and Wales. contents: preface · introduction · social education · social and life skills training · the economic and political […]

Henry Solly: The origin and nature of Working Men’s Clubs and Institutes

 Picture by Graeme Douglas. Flickr ccbysa2 licence In this piece Henry Solly reviews the early development of working men’s clubs and establishes their central characteristics and principles. First published as Chapter 1 of Henry Solly (1867; 1904) Working Men’s Social Clubs and Educational Institutes. Founder of the Club and Institute Union and a great propagandist […]

Space for the people

This article by Octavia Hill, included in Homes of the London Poor (1883), outlines her case for the need for all people to be able to access space: places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in. Octavia Hill (1838-1912) is remembered, chiefly, for her […]

Maude Stanley: Night schools

Maude Stanley 2862 by Camille Silvy. Wikipedia pd. This piece provides an insight into the way in which parish visitors approached their tasks – in particular, how they related schooling and club work to outreach. Taken from Chapter IX of Maude Stanley’s (1878) Work About The Five Dials, London: Macmillan. Maude Stanley, the third daughter […]

Maude Stanley: The way to start and manage a girls’ club

Maude Stanley 2862 by Camille Silvy. Wikipedia pd. Maude Stanley’s (1890) handbook Clubs for Working Girls was the first substantial exploration of what was involved in girls’ club work. Here we reproduce Chapter II. In it Stanley sets out her view of some of the key characteristics of such work. Maude Stanley began working as […]

Working girls’ clubs

Emmeline Pethick-LawrenceWikimedia Commons – no known licencing restrictions The aim in the clubs must be to make good citizens; and our present endeavour to represent the rights and claims of the young, until they have entered into their citizenship. By an actual knowledge and experience gained in direct contact with the people, we are fitted […]

Arthur Sweatman: Youths’ clubs and institutes

Arthur Sweatman Internet Archive | Wikipedia pd Arthur Sweatman’s (1863) groundbreaking paper was the first to describe and advocate club provision for youths. It provides a particularly helpful insight to some of the activities of early clubs and institutes. First read to the Social Science Association in Edinburgh in October 1863, this paper subsequently became […]

Samuel Barnett: University settlements

Samuel A. Barnett’s review of the possibilities of settlement life first published in W. Reason (ed.) (1898) University and Social Settlements, London: Methuen. A settlement is simply a means by which men or women may share themselves with their neighbours ; a club-house in an individual district, where the condition of membership is the performance […]

Using informal education An alternative to casework, teaching and control?

contents 1. using informal education – Tony Jeffs and Mark Smith 2. personality and curriculum – Anne Foreman 3. informal education in residential care with adults – Mal Blackburn and Don Blackburn 4. informal education with young women in the community – Glynis Francis 5. informal education – a place in the new school curriculum?  […]

Using informal education – Chapter 1: using informal education

contents: informal education and other educational forms · characteristics of informal education · formal and informal · the problem of curricula · content, direction and process · identity, personality and role · conclusion · return to main contents introduction [page 1] Informal education has been an element of practice within casework, schooling, youth work, residential care […]

Using informal education – Chapter 2: Personality and curriculum

Anne Foreman’s important discussion of curriculum within youth work – and the power of personality. Chapter 2 of Tony Jeffs and Mark Smith (1990) Using Informal Education  contents: introduction · curriculum — the youth work approach · youth work and experiential learning · the cult of the ‘character’ · the time factor and learning from […]

Using informal education – Chapter 3: informal education in residential work with adults

Mal Blackburn and Don Blackburn explore some key issues and questions that arise in practice. Reprinted from T. Jeffs and M. Smith (1990) Using Informal Education, Buckingham: Open University Press. contents: introduction · the rise of residential care · the shift to community care · behaviourist approaches · normalization programmes and the use of the […]

using informal education – Chapter 4: Informal education with young women in the community

In this chapter from T. Jeffs and M. Smith (eds.) Using Informal Education, Glynis Francis explores some of the issues with regard to developing informal education practice with young women. contents: introduction · the experience of being an informal educator · informal education and social relations · young women and informal education ·prioritizing : placing […]

Using informal education – Chapter 5: informal education – a place in the new school curriculum?

Dave Burley’s exploration of informal education in schooling. Chapter 5 in Jeffs and Smith (1990) Using Informal Education. contents: the attractions and distractions of informal education · curriculum · management and financial control ·the relationship of informal education and secondary schooling · informal education through community education · conclusion · return to main contents Introduction […]

Using informal education – Chapter 6: neighbourhood, crime and informal education

Debbie Saddington explores educative practice within the probation service. Reprinted from T. Jeffs and M. Smith (eds.) Using Informal Education, Buckingham: Open University Press. contents: introduction · the new focus · neighbourhood-based informal education in practice · aspects of locally based informal education · the personality of the worker · understanding groups · workers, agencies […]

Using informal education – Chapter 7: informal education – a christian perspective

In this seminal piece, John W. Ellis explores the practice of Christian informal education, and contrasts it with formal approaches. contents: introduction · traditional models · Jesus as an informal educator · youth clubs and youth work · informal and formal education · blending the two · conclusion · return to main contents Introduction [page 89] […]

Using informal education – Chapter 8: working with carers

Pauline Gertig looks beyond casework to examine the contribution of informal education to social work practice with carers. Reprinted from T. Jeffs and M. Smith (eds.) Using Informal Education, Buckingham: Open University Press. contents: introduction · behind the rhetoric · casework and informal education · limitations of the casework approach · relatives’ support groups as […]

Using informal education – Chapter 9: where practice enlightens theory and theory enriches practice

Elizabeth Afua Sinclair reflects on being a student in an institution committed to informal education. Reprinted from T. Jeffs and M. Smith (eds.) Using Informal Education, Buckingham: Open University Press. contents: introduction ·historical influences · expectations · choosing informal learning · the process · informal networks · return to main contents page Introduction [page 113] […]

Using informal education – Chapter 10: educating informal educators

Tony Jeffs and Mark Smith explore the context for professional education and some of the implications for the development of informal educators.  Reprinted from T. Jeffs and M. Smith (eds.) Using Informal Education, Buckingham: Open University Press. contents: introduction ·avoiding informal education · training for failure · educating for informal education: approaching cultures – informal […]

Using informal education – bibliography

Jeffs and Smith (1990) Using Informal Education. Alexander, R. (1988) ‘Garden or jungle? Teacher development and informal primary education’ in Blyth, A. (ed.) Informal Primary Education Today:Essays and Studies. Lewes, Falmer. Allman, P. (1987) ‘Paulo Freire’s Education approach: a struggle for meaning’ in Allen, G., Bastiani, J., Martin, I. and Richards, K. (eds) Community Education: […]

Mary Wollstonecraft on national education

Being chapter XII of Mary Wollstonecraft’s (1792) A Vindication of the Rights of Women. This classic piece ‘On National Education’ by Mary Wollstonecraft sets out some of the key elements of her view of education and schooling. Mary Wollstonecraft had written earlier pieces on the education of girls and young women, but this was significant […]

Robert A. Woods: The recovery of the parish

South End, Boston by Thomas Julin. Wikimedia ccby3 licence Robert A. Woods (1912) states, and argues for, the fostering of association, co-operation and common welfare. Robert Archey Woods (1965-1925) was a key figure in the introduction and development of university and social settlements in the United States. Founder and Head of South End House, Boston […]

Robert A. Woods: University settlements: their point and drift

South End, Boston by Thomas Julin. Wikimedia ccby3 licence Robert A. Woods states, and argues for, the fostering of association, co-operation and common welfare. Robert Archey Woods (1965-1925) was a key figure in the introduction and development of university and social settlements in the United States. Founder and Head of South End House, Boston (1895-1925) […]

Working and learning together to build stronger communities

Subtitled ‘Working draft Community Learning and Development Guidance’, this document was published in January 2003. It sets out Scottish Executive thinking around the provision and development of community learning. contents: preface · foreword – margaret curran ·  introduction · defining community learning and development · community planning · joining up the planning process · quality, […]

Critiquing workplace learning discourses: participation and continuity at work

Stephen Billett critiques some assumptions shaping current discourses on workplace learning and proposes that these assumptions restrict how workplace learning is conceptualised and discussed. In particular, he focus on how describing workplace learning environments and experiences as ‘informal’ and that ‘informal learning’ occurs in workplaces constrains understanding about how learning occurs through work and, consequently, […]

A warm, safe place: an argument for youth clubs

contents: preface · introduction · what young people want · the benefits for young people · the need for the long term approach · references Sue Robertson argues that youth clubs have a unique role and one that should be valued and supported as they can make a big difference in the lives of many […]

Why youth clubs?

Leonard Barnett explores the essential qualities of the church youth club. Chapter 1 of Adventures with Youth, London: Methodist Association of Youth Clubs, 1962. contents: preface · introduction · our specific purpose · what is education · the educated man · technical education · social education · moral and spiritual education · the prime necessity […]

Youth and community work in the 70s

a collection of chapters from the ‘Fairbairn-Milson’ Report (1969) introduction vii a philosophy for the 70s viii the active society ix future age range x the youth service and the under-fourteens xi the younger teenage group xii the young adult group links fred milson and the practice of youth and community work the albemarle report […]

Youth and community work in the 70s – introduction

This particular chapter of the Fairbairn-Milson Report (Youth and Community Work in the 70s) provides some of the official background to the report and provides a review of developments since the Albemarle Report. contents: our approach · the albemarle report · subsequent developments · membership in the youth service · footnotes · how to cite […]