What is action research and how do we do it?

Action research. In this article we explore the development of some different traditions of action research and provide an introductory guide to the literature. contents: what is action research? · origins · the decline and rediscovery of action research · undertaking action research · conclusion · further reading · how to cite this article. see, also: […]

What is adult education?

What is adult education? Is adult education a practice or a program? A methodology or an organization? A ‘science’ or a system? A process or a profession? See also: What is education? A definition and discussion Is adult education a practice or a program? A methodology or an organization? A ‘science’ or a system? A process […]

Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives

Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives. What can northern educators learn from the experience of the south? A review and introductory reading list. Contents: context · resisting colonialism · respecting local forms · looking to the whole rather than the individual · implications for the north  · references · how to […]

Adult schools and the making of adult education

Adult schools and the making of adult education. The adult school movement starting in the late 1790s, while for most of the time only small in numbers, was a significant element in the making of adult education in Britain. This article briefly surveys the history and impact of such schools. contents: introduction · the emergence […]

Saul Alinsky, community organizing and rules for radicals

Saul Alinsky, community organizing and rules for radicals. Saul Alinsky’s work is an important reference point for thinking about community organizing and community development. His books Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971) were both classic explorations of organizing and remain popular today. Mike Seal examines Alinsky’s continuing relevance to the activities of […]

Animate, care, educate – the core processes of pedagogy

Animate, care, educate – the core processes of pedagogy. Pedagogy can be viewed as a process of accompanying people and bringing flourishing and relationship to life (animation); caring for, and about, people (caring); and drawing out learning (education). Here Mark K Smith explores these core processes. contents: introducing pedagogy • accompanying • core processes • […]

Animateurs, animation, learning and change

Animateurs, animation, learning and change. Animation means, literally, to breathe life into some thing. A transformation is involved, what was still now moves. But what place does animation have in stimulating learning and change? What do animateurs do? Where are animateurs to be found? contents: introduction · some models for starters · animateurs in France […]

Association, la vie associative and lifelong learning

Association, la vie associative and lifelong learning: we explore the process of joining together in companionship or to undertake some task – and the educative power of playing one’s part in a group or association. contents : introduction · the significance of local institutions and associations · the decline of associational activity · la vie associative […]

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building. Henrietta Barnett is, perhaps, best known for the development of Hampstead Garden suburb, but she – with Samuel Barnett – was an important social reformer. Their most notable innovation was the university settlement – but they were also active in other arenas. contents: introduction and life · toynbee […]

T. R.(Reg) Batten and Madge Batten, non-directivity and community development

T. R.(Reg) Batten and Madge Batten, non-directivity and community development: The Battens, and particularly T. R. or Reg, introduced the revolutionary concept of non-directivity to the newly emerging discipline of community development in the second part of the 20th century. George Lovell describes their work and lives, and explores the origins of the non-directive concept […]

Steve Biko and informal and community education

Steve Biko and informal and community education. Steve Biko is remembered as a founder and martyr of the Black consciousness movement in South Africa. Here Barry Burke assesses his significance for informal and community educators. contents: introduction · steve biko on education · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article Steve Biko (1946-1977) […]

Murray Bookchin: social anarchism, ecology and education

Murray Bookchin: social anarchism, ecology and education. Murray Bookchin made a significant contribution to the development of thinking around ecology, anarchism and later communalism. As a result he helped to shape the anti-globalization movement – and has continuing relevance for informal educators and those seeking to foster more convivial forms of learning. Mike Wood explores […]

Tom Bryan: association, education and the making of Fircroft College

Tom Bryan pioneered the adaptation of Folk High Schools to English adult education at Fircroft College and argued that solidarity and the facility for association lay at the heart of educational endeavour. contents: introduction · early career · woodbrooke and fircroft · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article Tom Bryan (1865-1917) was […]

Martin Buber on education

Martin Buber on education. Buber’s focus on dialogue and community would alone mark him out as an important thinker for educators. But when this is added to his fundamental concern with encounter and how we are with each other (and the world) his contribution is unique and yet often unrecognized. contents: life · i-you, i-it […]

Researching education, learning and community: building theory

Researching education, learning and community: building theory. In this piece we examine the process of generating theory. We ask ‘what is theory?’ We also look at the process of analysis, integration and imagination. For the last of these we pay special attention to the work of C. Wright Mills. Contents: introduction · what is theory? […]

James (Jimmy) Butterworth, Christian youth work and Clubland

  James (Jimmy) Butterworth, Christian youth work and Clubland. The Rev. James Butterworth (1897-1977) made a very significant contribution to thinking and practice around youth work in the church. He pioneered a more youth-oriented approach within the Methodist Church and established a lasting Christian institution – Clubland – in Walworth, London. contents: introduction · james […]

Leslie Button and developmental group work

Leslie Button and developmental group work. The ideas of Leslie Button were influential in youth work practice and training for over 30 years. He developed a method for both training youth workers and working with young people that became known as developmental group work. He also made a significant contribution to the development of active […]

Revd. Philip (Tubby) Clayton and Toc H

Revd. Philip (Tubby) Clayton and Toc H. Philip (‘Tubby’) Clayton was Vicar of All Hallows by the Tower. However, he was best known for his work initially as an army chaplain during the First World War and in particular the establishment of Talbot House a unique place of rest and sanctuary for British troops. After […]

Civil society

Civil society. Civil society is much talked about, but rarely understood. Michael Edwards explores the practical and theoretical significance of civil society – and suggests some ways through the issues surrounding its use. Contents: introduction · the civil society puzzle · civil society – gaining some clarity · civil society as associational life · civil […]

Club work

  On this page we explore the nature of clubs and how they came to be a key site of informal education activity. Focusing on developments in Britain, we examine their benefits and some of the issues that face those that work in, and with, them. To be completed contents: introduction · philanthropy · parish […]

Coffee houses and informal education

 Mid sevententh century coffee house, Wikimedia Commons pd The first coffee house appeared in 1650 and they became major forces in learning. Coffee houses, as forums for debate and discussion, played an important part in the general diffusion of knowledge and ideas (Kelly 1970: 82). The first is said to have appeared in Oxford in […]

Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice

Jean Lave, Etiene Wenger and communities of practice. The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice has gained significant ground in recent years. Communities of practice have also become an important focus within organizational development and have considerable value when thinking about working with groups. In this article […]

What is community?

Community. What is community and why should educators be concerned with it? We explore the development of theory around community, and the significance of boundaries, social networks and social norms – and why attention to social capital and communion may be important. contents: approaching the theory of community · community and boundary · community and […]

Offering community 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 community 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 • friendship • social capital • associational life […]

How to do a community audit: building profiles using neighbourhood statistics

On this page we suggest some basic and quick steps you can undertake a community audit, and gather information about a particular neighbourhood in Britain or Northern Ireland. contents: introducing community audits and profiles · quick statistical profile · census material · local authority statistics and other material · crime · other searches · your […]

Community centres (centers) and associations: their history, theory, development and practice

Community centres (centers) and associations: their history, theory, development and practice. Community centers (centres) and associations have played a significant part in the life of many local communities and networks. Yet relatively little has been written about their history theory and practice. In this piece we examine a little of their development and the ideas […]

What is community development?

What is community development? The idea of community development grew, in large part, out of the activities of colonial administrators. We examine this legacy and the theory and practice that emerged. We also look to the body of overlapping ideas, including community participation, community organization and community work. In this piece we suggest that community […]

Inside out. rethinking inclusive communities

We reprint the executive summary of this (2003) report by Tom Bentley, Helen McCarthy and  Melissa Mean. It argues that community-based organisations (CBOs) could be damaged by attempts to co-opt them as instruments of government policy; and that a ‘new middle ground’ needs to be created which allows CBOs and statutory services to work together […]

Reclaiming the radical agenda: a critical approach to community development

In this piece Margaret Ledwith argues we need to be be vigilant about changes in the political context and to get better at weaving theory into our practice. We need to be able to explain why we are doing what we are doing at any stage of the community development process, and so creating knowledge-in-action […]

James Gustave Speth, green jazz, social jazz and community development

‘Just doing it’  – not waiting upon national governments and international organizations to take action – has led to a remarkable outpouring of initiatives around the global environmental crisis. We explore James Gustave Speth’s vision of unscripted, voluntary initiatives that are decentralized and improvisational – what he calls ‘jazz’ – and the possibilities for community […]

Sustainable communities and neighbourhoods. theory, policy and practice

In recent years there has been much talk of the need for sustainable communities. But what is a sustainable community? Why do neighbourhoods matter and why is sustainability important? What are the implications of debates around sustainability for community policy and practice? contents: introduction · the background · sustainable communities · sprawl · livable, enduring […]

Community learning and development

Introducing community development : Walking social action: exploring social action and community development through a virtual walk in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. Community auditing/profiling and neighbourhood statistics: a handy guide for UK practitioners. Featured : Dealing with the ‘new normal’. Creating places of sanctuary, community and hope for children and young people in schools and local organizations. […]

Community education

What is community education? A guide and booklist. Broadly, we can approach community education as ‘education for community within community’. In other words, something called ‘community‘ is not just the place or context in which education is to occur, fostering community is also a central concern. The process of becoming part of an existing social […]

Explore the theory and practice of community education

What actually is community education? How does it differ from education in the community, or education for community? We explore the theory of community education and some examples of practice using resources from The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. In England, and many other countries, ‘community education’ has tended to be wrapped up with […]

Community education: being a description of the work of residential and non-residential colleges for adult education

Maryport Educational Settlement This 1938 publication from the Educational Settlements Association provides a useful overview of activity at that time. contents: preface · introduction · community education · the association · the residential colleges · educational settlements in normal areas · educational settlements in special areas · examples of courses · membership of the esa […]

community organization

What is community organization? A review and booklist. contents: introduction · the importance of the group · community organization · the radical turn · current practice · further reading and references · links It is difficult to point to particular moments in time and say this is where the concerns that we now label community […]

Community participation

An emphasis on participation has links with the interest in democracy in community organization and in self-help and political incorporation in the community development tradition. But what is community participation? contents: introduction · community organization · community participation · conclusion · further reading and links · how to cite this article linked articles: animation · […]

Community participation, community development and non-formal education

Community participation, community development and non-formal education. In this piece, Marjorie Mayo explores competing perspectives based upon different theoretical approaches to social change, and to combating poverty and disadvantage. This piece was first published in 1994. contents: introduction • non-formal education and community education • competing definitions and perspectives in the contemporary context • the state and top-down […]

Community schools and community schooling

What is a community school? How has theory and practice developed? contents: what is a community school? · the development of the community school · texts and references · acknowledgements · how to cite this piece A great deal has been written about community schools – especially in the period between 1970 and 1990. However, […]

Roger Hiemstra: The community school

Impington Village College This chapter from Roger Hiemstra’s The Educative Community (1997), originally written in the early 1970s, sets out some of the key elements of the North American community school. contents: introduction ·the community school – center of community education · the community school – past and present · the administration of community schools · […]

New community schools in Scotland

In a fascinating initiative, over 150 Scottish schools were due to develop more integrated services to raise attainment and promote social inclusion. Will they work? The new community schools initiative in Scotland has, not unexpectedly, been spun and trumpeted as a significant attack on a ‘vicious cycle of underachievement’. They are a key aspect of […]

Community studies

Over the years a distinctive body of literature has developed around ‘community studies’. Individual contributions tend to fall across disciplinary boundaries – some are labelled as sociology, some as anthropology, and yet others as geography or urban studies. What follows is a quick guide to the literature and an attempt to bring out some key […]

What is community work?

What is community work? How has it developed in the UK? What is it’s current state? We review thinking and practice in the field of community work, and question the direction it is currently taking. contents: introduction · the emergence of community work · the gulbenkian report: community work and social change · the community […]

Conscientization

Here we have listed some key texts that develop or explore ‘conscientization’. The idea has been linked with the work of Paulo Freire and Pedagogy of the Oppressed – although Freire used to claim that he had not used the term since the early 1970s as it had been badly misused (Taylor 1993: 52). However, […]

Developing community

A set of pages exploring the development, theory and practice of community development and community work Introducing community development : Walking social action: exploring social action and community development through a virtual walk in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.  New : Reclaiming the radical agenda: a critical approach to community development. Margaret Ledwith argues we need to be […]

John Dewey on education, experience and community

John Dewey on education, experience and community. Arguably the most influential thinker on education in the twentieth century, Dewey’s contribution lies along several fronts. His attention to experience and reflection, democracy and community, and to environments for learning have been seminal. (This ‘John Dewey’ page is due to be extended). John Dewey (1859 – 1952) […]

Dialogue, conversation and praxis

In this piece Paul V. Taylor examines: dialogue as a norm of behaviour; dialogue as a theory of knowledge; dialogic competence; conversation and interpretation; and praxis as action and reflection. Contents: introduction · dialogue and conversation · communicative competence · the I and the you of dialogue · interpretative dialogue · dialogue and citizenship · […]

Educational settlements

Educational settlements. Mark Freeman explores the development of educational settlements in Britain and the significant role that Quakerism played. He also outlines some of the key issues they have faced. Contents: introduction · origins of the educational settlement movement · the role of educational settlements · educational settlements in the ‘special areas’ · crisis and […]

Enterprise, young people and youth policy: an overview

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash Sarah Lloyd Jones of the People and Work Unit explores the growing interest in enterprise and highlights some of the different elements in relation to youth policy. She also identifies some key issues. contents: introduction · individual enterprise · community enterprise · risk · the cultivation of enterprise · conclusion […]

Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions

Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions. Just what is facilitation, and what does it involve? We explore the theory and practice of facilitation, and some key issues around facilitating group sessions. Contents: introduction · what is group facilitation? · core conditions and the facilitator · the facilitator’s role · core values ·  […]