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: […]

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 […]

Robert Baden-Powell as an educational innovator

Robert Baden-Powell as an educational innovator. Famous for his contribution to the development of Scouting, Robert Baden-Powell was also able to make several educational innovations. His interest in adventure, association and leadership still repay attention today. contents: introduction ·the early development of scouting · Robert Baden-Powell and ‘doing good’ · citizenship, taking responsibility and participation […]

Robert Freed Bales, group observation and interaction processes

Robert Freed Bales, group observation and interaction processes. R. F. Bales pioneered the development of systematic methods of group observation and measurement of interaction processes. In this brief article we survey his contribution. contents : introduction · group observation and interaction processes · conclusion · references · how to cite this piece Robert Freed Bales […]

David Brandon – homelessness, advocacy and mental health, and zen in the art of helping

David Brandon – homelessness, advocacy and mental health, and zen in the art of helping. In this article we examine David Brandon’s seminal contribution to our understanding of the experience of homelessness and mental health problems, and his insights into the nature of advocacy and the helping process. We draw out some lessons for informal […]

Josephine Macalister Brew, youth work and informal education

One of the most ‘able, wise and sympathetic educationalists of her generation’, Josephine Macalister Brew made a profound contribution to the development of thinking about, and practice of, youth work and informal education. contents: introduction · life ·  in the service of youth · informal education · innovations in practice· final days · references · […]

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 […]

Camping, summer camps, camp counselors and informal education

Summer camps, camp counselors and informal education. Summer camps are part of the lives of many middle class young people in the United States. In Britain camps have been associated with Scouting and Guiding, but more recently there is discussion about offering more 16 year olds the chance to take part. Here we explore the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 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 […]

Grace Coyle and group work

Grace Coyle and group work. Grace Coyle made an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of group work. She was also an important advocate for the work within US social work and an innovatory trainer. Contents: introduction · on group work · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article. Grace Longwell Coyle (1892-1962) made […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Rediscovering social education

Written by Mark Smith, Creators not Consumers first appeared in 1980. We reproduce the complete text Two main themes run through Creators not Consumers. First, there is a concern to encourage young people to get involved in organizing things for themselves. This flows from a belief in the benefits of associational life both for the […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Introduction

The introduction to Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). This booklet has been written to promote discussion about social education. In the twenty years or so since the term first came into common usage there have been a number of developments in youth work […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 1 – The ice skating trip

Chapter 1 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and informal education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982) Just after club had finished Neil came into the office and asked if we could organise an ice skating trip. He thought we could easily fill a coach if we charged £1.50 per person. How […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 2 – What the workers did

Chapter 2 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). contents: · breaking down events ·  opportunism ·  learning by experience ·  being participative ·  the social context ·  conclusion · [page 12] The skating trip gives us a flavour of what social education might mean […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 3- Rediscovering social education

Chapter 3 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education –  Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). contents: · developmental needs · values · conclusion · [page 24] So far we have been looking at a form of youth work that puts learning first. In this chapter I want to ask what makes […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 4: Social education and politics

Chapter 4 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). contents: the politics of developmental needs· what should workers do?· conclusion [page 34] Whilst many of the young people we work with face incredible injustices, are ignorant of their rights and are racist and sexist, our […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Afterword – Towards a critical social education?

The conclusion  of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). [page 55] Looking back over the last chapter one word seems to spring out from the pages — the word critical. Its arrival is no accident. Three meanings of the word join together and make […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Further reading

From Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). [page 57] I have only listed books or articles that I feel are particularly helpful. Anybody who wants detailed references should contact me c/o NAYC Publications. 1. Bernard Davies : Part-time Youth Work in an Industrial Community […]

Bernard Davies, social education, group work and youth work

Bernard Davies, social education, group work and youth work. Bernard Davies is a, perhaps the, key figure in the development of youth work in Britain in last forty years of the twentieth century. His work, initially with Alan Gibson, was central to social education becoming a defining feature of youth work in the 1960s and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 ·  […]

Siegfried Heinrich Foulkes and group analysis

Siegfried Heinrich Foulkes and group analysis. This article explores the contribution of Siegfried Heinrich Foulkes (1898-1976) to the development of group analysis. It considers the way in which he was able to draw upon psychoanalysis and sociology to make lasting contribution to our appreciation of working with groups. Forthcoming ©

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’ […]

What is groupwork?

What is groupwork? While many practitioners may describe what they do as ‘groupwork’, they often have only a limited appreciation of what groupwork is and what it entails. In this piece we introduce groups and group work, define some key aspects, and suggest areas for exploration. In particular we focus on the process of working […]

What is group work?

What is group work? While many practitioners may describe what they do as ‘group work’, they often have only a limited appreciation of what group work is and what it entails. In this piece we introduce groups and group work, define some key aspects, and suggest areas for exploration. In particular we focus on the […]

The early development of group work

We examine the emergence of group work in British work with young people and adults during the nineteenth century. In particular we review the contribution of ragged schooling, boys’ and girls’ clubs, settlements and adult education to the development of theory and practice. Contents: introduction · ragged schooling · boys’ clubs and girls’ clubs · […]

Social groupwork: formulation of a method, 1920-1936

In this important (1981) piece Kenneth E. Reid explores a pivotal time in the development of the theory and practice of working with groups within social work. He assesses the contribution of Grace Coyle, W. I. Newstetter and other key figures and reflects on the emergence of ‘social group work’. Contents: preface · introduction · […]

Group work – expansion and professionalism 1937 – 1955

In this important (1981) piece Kenneth E. Reid explores how group work was increasingly presented as part of social work (as against informal education and recreation) and the fascinating process of delineating its boundaries. Contents:  introduction · developments in social work · beginning of a professional organization · search for a definition · separation of group […]

Helping

Pages exploring the theory and practice of helping Introducing helping What do we mean by helping – and what is its relationship to informal education, counselling and teaching? Explore helping relationships. The art of helping others The art of helping others: A set of support pages for the book by Heather Smith and Mark K. Smith. […]

George C. Homans, the human group and elementary social behaviour

George C. Homans, the human group and elementary social behaviour. George Caspar Homans (1910-1989) is widely regarded as the father of social exchange theory. Two of his many books, The Human Group and Social Behaviour: Its Elementary Forms are considered world-classics in sociology. He also made significant empirical and conceptual contributions to small-group research. In […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 · […]

David A. Kolb on experiential learning.

David A. Kolb on experiential learning. David A. Kolb’s model of experiential learning can be found in many discussions of the theory and practice of adult education, informal education and lifelong learning. We set out the model, and examine its possibilities and problems. Contents: introduction · david a. kolb · david kolb on experiential learning […]

Gisela Konopka and group work

Gisela Konopka and group work. Gisela Konopka (1910-2003) made a profound contribution to the development of social group work and the deepening of practice with children and young people. In this paper Janice Andrews charts Gisela Konopka’s life and assesses her work. contents: introduction · early years · move to the united states · minnesota […]

Homer Lane and the Little Commonwealth

Homer Lane and the Little Commonwealth. A. S. Neill described him as ‘the most influential factor’ in his life. We look briefly at his life and work. Homer Lane (1875-1925) was Superintendent of the Little Commonwealth, a co-educational community in Dorset run for children and young people ranging from a few months to 19 years. […]

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 · […]

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 […]

Methodism and youth work

In this feature we explore the outstanding contribution of Methodist workers to the development of youth work contents: introduction · early efforts · the club · social groupwork · the challenge today · how to cite this article In Britain youth work emerged largely out of the activities of evangelical Christians during the first half […]