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 […]

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 […]


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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 · […]

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 […]

What is hope? How can we offer it 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 hope 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 • what is hope? • being hopeful • building hope […]

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 […]

‘Leadership and spirituality…minus the loaves and fishes’

When you hear the word ‘leadership’ you may find yourself bombarded with images of the likes of Shackleton or Hunt battling against the odds, men of great achievements and, undoubtedly, great examples of good leadership. However, is this what we mean by leadership in today’s society? Is leadership meant only for those on adventurous endeavours? […]

Classical models of managerial leadership: trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory

What is leadership? Here Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith explore some of the classical models of leadership. In particular they look at earlier approaches to studying the area via the notions of traits and behaviours, and to what has become known as contingency theory. From there they turn to more recent, ‘transformational’ theories […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ernest Thompson Seton and woodcraft

Ernest Thompson Seton and woodcraft. Known as a writer of animal stories, and the Chief Scout of the Boys Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton was a champion of the spirit of woodcraft. Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946) grew up in Toronto (although he was born in South Shields, County Durham, England). He was the son […]

What is teaching? A definition and discussion

In this piece Mark K Smith explores the nature of teaching – those moments or sessions where we make specific interventions to help people learn particular things. He sets this within a discussion of pedagogy and didactics and demonstrates that we need to unhook consideration of the process of teaching from the role of ‘teacher’ […]

Key teaching activities

In this add-on to ‘What is teaching?’ Mark K Smith outlines nine key activities that teachers engage in. Teaching, he argues, is the process of attending to people’s needs, experiences and feelings, and making specific interventions to help them learn particular things. Contents: being present • setting challenging tasks • talking • explaining • showing […]

Colin Ward: the ‘gentle’ anarchist and informal education

Colin Ward: the ‘gentle’ anarchist and informal education. Often described as ‘Britain’s most famous anarchist’, Colin Ward’s political beliefs provoked and inspired his publications, as well as his long-held concern with place and social justice. Here, Sarah Mills explores the contribution of Colin Ward and the significance of his work for those involved in informal […]

Working with young people in difficult times

  Support page for the forthcoming book   Acknowledgement: Students by Gisella Klein. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons  Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) licence.