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 – […]

The Hadow Reports: an introduction

Derek Gillard provides notes on the historical context and membership of the Consultative Committees chaired by Sir William Henry Hadow, summarises each of the six reports produced between 1923 and 1933, and assesses the extent to which their recommendations informed the development of education in England. contents: background – historical context, membership of the hadow […]

Luther Halsey Gulick: recreation, physical education and the YMCA

Luther Halsey Gulick physical education and the YMCA. Luther Halsey Gulick (1865-1918) was an expert and prolific writer on physical education, folk dance education and recreation. In this article Thomas Winter examines his contribution and his work with the YMCA, Campfire Girls and other organizations. Contents: biography · key ideas · contributions to education · […]

Haltung, pedagogy and informal education

Haltung, pedagogy and informal education. Within informal education and social pedagogy, the character and integrity of practitioners is seen as central to the processes of working with others. Here Mark K Smith  explores how the German notion of ‘haltung’ draws together key elements around this pivotal concern for pedagogues and informal educators. contents: introduction • […]

Kurt Hahn, outdoor learning and adventure education

Kurt Hahn, outdoor learning and adventure education. A key figure in the development of adventure education, Kurt Hahn was the founder of Salem Schools, Gordonstoun public school, Outward Bound, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and the Atlantic Colleges. Kurt Mathias Robert Martin Hahn (1886 – 1974). German educationalist, born in Berlin, who founded the […]

Happiness and education – theory, practice and possibility

Happiness and education – theory, practice and possibility. What makes us flourish – and what does not? We explore the theory, practice and possibilities of putting happiness at the centre of education and helping. Contents: introduction – why all the interest in happiness? · what is happiness? · what makes us happy and unhappy? · […]

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, […]

A brief introduction to holistic education

A brief introduction to holistic education. What is holistic education? What are the primary philosophies that distinguish it from traditional education? Who were the pioneers in holistic education? Ron Miller provides an introduction. Contents: · holistic education · holistic education resources · links to holistic organizations and schools · how to cite this article Holistic […]

bell hooks on education

bell hooks on education. Barry Burke assesses the contribution that bell hooks has made to thinking about education and sets this within the context of her biography and work. contents: introduction · bell hooks on education · hooks and freire · relationships, power and media · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article […]

Hope, utopianism and educational renewal

Hope, utopianism and educational renewal. In this piece David Halpin offers an analysis of the nature of hope and its significance for educational practice. He identifies three ways in which a renewed optimism of the will can be nurtured among educators, despite the current talk of professional decline. These ‘three ways’ involve taking seriously: ‘hopelessness’; […]

Informal learning, home education and homeschooling (home schooling)

Informal learning, home education and homeschooling (home schooling). Most families who start out “doing school” at home find that what works in school does not transfer easily to the home. Of necessity, home educators find themselves pioneering new educational approaches, nearly always less formal ones. They provide convincing evidence for the potential of informal learning. […]

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, non-formal and formal education programmes

In this piece Paul Fordham explores the emergence of the influential typology of education programmes as informal, non-formal and formal. The notions are considered in relation to the concern to foster economic development. Particular attention is paid to the characteristics of non-formal education in relation to participation, purposes and methods. Debates around ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ […]

Informal education in schools and colleges

In recent years there has been a significant growth in the numbers of informal educators working in formal educational settings like schools and colleges. We explore the phenomenon – and some of the possibilities and problems involved. contents: introduction · recent developments in school and college policy and practice · the decline in classroom teachers’ […]

A brief history of informal education

A brief history of thinking about informal education. So where did informal education come from? Who are the key thinkers? How does it relate to other ways of describing education? contents: education from daily life · informal educators in ancient greece · developments in britain and ireland · informal education and philanthropy · developments in […]

Writing and keeping journals. A guide for educators and social practitioners

Writing and keeping journals. A guide for educators and social practitioners. Educators are often encouraged to write journals – especially when they are training – but what does journal writing entail, what benefits can it bring, and how can we go about writing one? Contents: introduction · what is a journal? · the benefits of […]

Jiddu Krishnamurti and his insights into education

The Valley School’s birthday celebration. Established in 1978, itis one of the five schools of the Krishnamurti Foundation India Jiddu Krishnamurti and his insights into education. Scott H. Forbes explores Jiddu Krishnamurti’s (1895-1986) emphasis on education as a religious activity. (From a presentation at the first Holistic Education Conference, Toronto, Canada, 1997) contents: human nature […]

Aristotle on knowledge

Aristotle on knowledge. Aristotle’s very influential three-fold classification of disciplines as theoretical, productive or practical remains an excellent starting point for exploring different forms of knowledge. Contents: introduction · the theoretical · the productive · the practical · further reading and references · links · how to cite this piece Aristotle, along with many other […]

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 · […]

Learning through outdoor experience. A guide for schools and youth groups

a5 version [free] · a4 version [free] · Kindle version from Amazon Experiencing the outdoors can be a powerful stimulus for learning. Being deep in a forest, feeling alone on a hillside or just sharing a cup of tea around a fire can set us on a path that changes the way we think about […]

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 constructivist / social constructivist orientation to learning

Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash The constructivist / social constructivist orientation to learning. With its roots in the work of Dewey, Vygotsky, Bruner and others, this approach involves learning culturally shared ways of understanding and talking about the world. Coming soon

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 […]

Kurt Lewin: groups, experiential learning and action research

Kurt Lewin: groups, experiential learning and action research. Kurt Lewin was a seminal theorist who deepened our understanding of groups, experiential learning, and action research. What did he actually add to the theory and practice of pedagogy and informal education? contents: introduction · life · field theory · group dynamics · democracy and groups · […]

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 […]

William Maclure: science, Pestalozzianism and reform in Europe and the United States

William Maclure: science, Pestalozzianism and reform in Europe and the United States. Ian Donnachie explores William Maclure’s role in educational reform during the eras of the European and American Enlightenment and early industrialisation. A scientist and educational reformer, he was the first to introduce Pestalozzian methods to the United States. contents: introduction · early career […]

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 […]

Charlotte Mason: education, atmosphere, habit and living ideas

Charlotte Mason: education, atmosphere, habit and living ideas. Aimee R. Natal examines the life and work of Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) – an extraordinary educator whose thinking looked to the significance of atmosphere, habit and living ideas. Contents: life · key ideas · education is an atmosphere · the discipline of habit · the presentation of […]

Howard McClusky and educational gerontology

Howard McClusky and educational gerontology. The development of interest, knowledge, and professional involvement in educational gerontology has been evolutionary. Roger Hiemstra explores Howard McClusky’s advocacy of limitless human potential throughout life and, in particular, his ‘theory of margin’ – the need to balance in the later years those stresses and demands (load) on a person […]

Hannah More: Sunday schools, education and youth work

Hannah More: Sunday schools, education and youth work. Hannah More was initially famous for her play writing and involvement in ‘blue stocking’ circles. Later her evangelicalism led her to philanthropy, writing popular religious tracts and to pioneering work in Sunday Schools. Here we examine her contribution and her involvement in the development of youth work. […]

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 […]

Muscular Christianity

The notion of Muscular Christianity was an important feature of some key discourses around work with boys and men in the second half of the nineteenth century. Here Clifford Putney explores the origin and use of the term. contents: muscular christianity · bibliography · how to cite this article Muscular Christianity can be defined as […]

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 […]

Neuro-linguistic programming, learning and education – an introduction.

Neuro-linguistic programming, learning and education – an introduction. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Paul Tosey and Jane Mathison explore its origins and characteristics – and argue it is a field of practice and innovation with a wide range of tools and techniques that learners and professional educators can apply within […]

Looking again at non-formal and informal education – towards a new paradigm

Looking again at non-formal and informal education – towards a new paradigm. Alan Rogers explores the confused usage of the terms non-formal and informal education and suggests a way forward. Contents: introduction · defining non-formal education · non-formal education in the field: from the 1980s to today · non-formal education and lifelong learning/education · towards a […]

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 […]

Nel Noddings, the ethics of care and education

Nel Noddings, the ethics of care and education, Nel Noddings is well known for her work around the ethics of caring, however, she has also added significantly to theory and practice more broadly in education. Here we explore her contribution. contents: introduction · nel noddings – life · caring · caring, schooling and education · […]

What is non-formal education?

What is non-formal education? Within policy debates a common differentiation has been made between different forms of provision. Informal, non-formal, and formal programmes have been viewed as very different. Here we explore this categorization and some of the forms of work that exist under the non-formal label in southern countries. Contents: introduction · the idea […]

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 […]

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 […]

Marie Paneth: Branch Street, the Windemere children, art and pedagogy

Marie Paneth: Branch Street, the Windemere children, art and pedagogy. Marie Paneth (1895-1986) was a talented painter, art therapist and pedagogue. In this piece Mark K Smith explores her work – mostly in the 1940s – and continuing relevance. Contents: introduction • early life and family • New York • London and Branch Street • […]

Participant observation: A guide for educators and social practitioners

Participant observation: A guide for educators and social practitioners. In this piece we examine the nature of participant observation, the various social roles that researchers can take; and some classic problems of participant observation – especially around questions of access and ethics. Contents: introduction · what is participant observation? ·  participant observation – the question […]

Participation in learning projects and programmes

Participation in learning projects and programmes. Why do people engage in learning projects? What are the barriers to participation? How are we to theorize participation? Contents: defining adult education · the shape of participation · barriers to participation · theories of participation · cross – chain of response model · further reading · how to […]