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 […]

Andragogy: what is it and does it help thinking about adult learning?

Andragogy: what is it and does it help thinking about adult learning? The notion of andragogy has been around for nearly two centuries. It became particularly popular in North America and Britain as a way of describing adult learning through the work of Malcolm Knowles. But what actually does it mean, and how useful a […]

Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard: pedagogy in the consumer society

Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard: pedagogy in the consumer society. Trevor Norris explores the contribution of Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard to our appreciation of the consumer society and education. Contents: introduction · the rise of consumerism · Hannah Arendt: consuming the polis · Jean Baudrillard: consuming signs · the consumer society and education · […]

What can education learn from the arts about the practice of education?

Elliot W. Eisner argues that the distinctive forms of thinking needed to create artistically crafted work are relevant not only to what students do, they are relevant to virtually all aspects of what we do, from the design of curricula, to the practice of teaching, to the features of the environment in which students and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Pierre Bourdieu on education: Habitus, capital, and field. Reproduction in the practice of education

contents: introduction • Pierre Bourdieu – life • habitus • field • capital • exploring reproduction • developing practice • conclusion • references and further reading • acknowledgements • how to cite this piece Pierre Bourdieu’s exploration of how the social order is reproduced, and inequality persists across generations, is more pertinent than ever. We examine some […]

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? […]

Too few, too many: The retreat from vocation and calling

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash Tony Jeffs examines some of the uncomfortable questions raised by Victoria Climbie’s murder and subsequent policy responses around the training, recruitment and management of welfare professionals including informal educators such as youth workers and community educators. In particular he argues that face-to-face work has been devalued and constrained; policymakers […]

Caring in education

Caring 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. Contents: introduction · caring relations and encounters in education · why is the relational view difficult […]

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 […]

Communitarianism and education

Picture: Litchen community on Alpine rock by Richard Droker. Flickr – ccybncnd2 licence. Communitarianism has become the focus of some debate and interest – but what is it, and what implications does the communitarian agenda have for education? contents: introduction · philosophical communitarianism · political communitarianism · communitarianism and education · conclusion · further reading 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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

What is competence? What is competency?

Competence and competency. What is competence? How has it been reduced to competency? What is the impact on education and training? Contents: introduction · what is competence? · competency and product approaches · curriculum as process · conclusion · further reading · acknowledgements · how to cite this article Over the last twenty years the […]

Social exclusion, joined-up thinking and individualization – new Labour’s Connexions strategy

Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith explore some of the key themes and ideas that run through the British government’s Connexions Strategy for young people in England. Five of these are explicit: social exclusion, ‘the knowledge economy’, ‘joined up thinking’, transition, and targets; and two, individualization and surveillance, are not. However, all seven are central […]

What is curriculum? Exploring theory and practice

Curriculum theory and practice.The organization of schooling and further education has long been associated with the idea of a curriculum.  But what actually is curriculum, and how might it be conceptualized? We explore curriculum theory and practice and its relation to informal education. Contents: introduction · curriculum as transmission · curriculum as product · curriculum as process […]

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 and conversation for learning, education and change

Dialogue and conversation  for learning, education and change. ‘Dialogue’, Freire says, ‘is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world’. Here we explore this idea – and its roots. Contents: introduction · Gadamer – horizons of understanding · emotions and virtues · Habermas: dialogue, power and distortion · Bohm on […]

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 · […]

What is education? A definition and discussion

Education is the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning undertaken in the belief that all should have the chance to share in life. Mark K Smith explores the meaning of education and suggests it is a process of inviting truth and possibility. contents: introduction • education – cultivating hopeful environments and relationships for learning […]

Education for democracy

contents: · introduction · the meaning of democracy and the meaning of education · John Dewey, democracy and education · A. S. Neill on democratic schooling · · further reading and references One of the major tasks that education must perform in a democratic society, Kelly (1995: 101) argues, ‘is the proper preparation of young […]

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 […]

Elliot W. Eisner, connoisseurship, criticism and the art of education

Elliot W. Eisner, connoisseurship, criticism and the art of education. Elliot W. Eisner has deepened our appreciation of education in a number of areas. Here we examine his argument that education involves the exercise of artistry and the development of connoisseurship and criticism. We also assess his contribution to the debates around school reform. contents: […]

Encounters for learning, education and change

Encounters for learning and change. Pedagogues, animators and informal educators work for encounters – face to face meetings. They also work for encounter – relation or engagement with themselves and others. Contents: · seeking situations of co-presence · co-ordinating activities · encounter and personal growth · encounter and relation · further reading · how to […]

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 […]

Evaluation for education, learning and change – theory and practice

Evaluation  for education, learning and change – theory and practice. Evaluation is part and parcel of educating – yet it can be experienced as a burden and an unnecessary intrusion. We explore the theory and practice of evaluation and some of the key issues for informal and community educators, social pedagogues youth workers and others. In […]

Experience

Experience. Is there is a difference between ‘having an experience’ and ‘knowing an experience’? ‘Experience’ can be quite is a problematic notion. It is a well-worn term that is often used with little attention to meaning. In the twentieth century is, arguably, the work of John Dewey has done much to help rescue the notion […]

Using focus groups in evaluation and research

Using focus groups in evaluation and research. Focus groups have been part of market research for many years. Their popularity in advertising and marketing – and their use to find new ways of getting us to buy particular products or ideas – puts off a lot of people. However, they are a very useful tool […]

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. […]

Feature: Friendship and education

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash In this set of articles we examine some key questions surrounding the theory and experience of friendship – and the significance for education and educators. Friendship theory Many people’s understanding of friendship in northern societies is rather thin. We explore some classical views of friendship, the development of theory […]

Friendship and education

Friendship and education. Today received wisdom has it that educators should be friendly with those they work with, but not friends. But is this right? We examine the nature of friendship – and ask whether its cultivation should be an aim of educators and part of education. We also explore the possibilities and problems friendship […]

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 – […]

Friedrich Froebel (Fröbel)

Friedrich Froebel (Fröbel). Best known for his work on kindergardens and play, Froebel has a lot to say for informal educators. Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (Fröbel) (1782 – 1852). Friedrich Froebel, the German educationalist, is best known as the originator of the ‘kindergarten system’. By all accounts he had a difficult childhood. His mother died […]

Erich Fromm: freedom and alienation, and loving and being in education

Erich Fromm: freedom and alienation, and loving and being in education. Erich Fromm was both a practicing psychoanalyst and a committed and insightful social theorist. We explore his continuing relevance to educational practice and focus on his deeply instructive appreciation of freedom, love and human flourishing. Contents: introduction · erich fromm – his life · […]

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? […]

Mahatma Gandhi on education

Mahatma Gandhi on education. His critique of western, particularly English, education was part of his critique of Western ‘civilization’ as a whole. Barry Burke explores his vision. contents: early life · swaraj and swadishi · on education · references · links · how to reference this piece The real difficulty is that people have no […]

Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education

Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Howard Gardner’s work around multiple intelligences has had a profound impact on thinking and practice in education – especially in the United States. Here we explore the theory of multiple intelligences; why it has found a ready audience amongst educationalists; and some of the issues around its conceptualization and […]

Henry A. Giroux: neo-liberalism’s nemesis

Henry A. Giroux: neo-liberalism’s nemesis. Henry A Giroux is well-known for his explorations of critical pedagogy, neo-liberalism and the condition of young people. Doug Nicholls reflects on his contribution and continuing significance. contents: introduction · henry giroux – background · some key themes · publications · about the writer · how to cite this piece […]

Globalization and the incorporation of education

Globalization and the incorporation of education. Here we draw out some of the profound implications of globalization for education and the work of educators. As part of this we also look at some of the issues surrounding the increased presence of corporations and branding in education. Contents:  introduction · globalization, commodification and the corporate takeover […]

William Godwin on education

William Godwin (1802) William Godwin on education: ‘Refer them to reading, to conversation, to meditation; but teach them neither creeds nor catechisms, either moral or political.’ contents: introduction · life · anarchism · education · references · links · how to cite this piece William Godwin (1756 – 1836) was the first writer ‘to give […]

William Godwin – the characters of man originate in their external circumstances

Refer them to reading, to conversation, to meditation; but teach them neither creeds nor catechisms, either moral or political.’ In this extract from Enquiry Concerning Political Justice William Godwin makes the case for the formative power of education. William Godwin (1756 – 1836) was the first writer ‘to give a clear statement of anarchist principles’ […]

William Godwin and the children’s bookshop

Writer of an anarchist classic and a believer in free education. William Godwin, Hanway Street, 191 The Strand and 27 The Polygon. Godwin (1756 – 1836) was the first writer ‘to give a clear statement of anarchist principles’ (Marshall 1993: 191). He was one of the first English-language writers to recognize the threat of state-controlled […]