Jane Addams and informal education

Jane Addams and informal education. Well known for her work at Hull House, Addams made a seminal contribution to the development of settlement houses and social work in north America. to be extended Jane Addams (1869-1935) is, perhaps, best known as a pioneering social worker and social activist, however she was also a committed internationalist […]

Theodor W. Adorno on education

Theodor W. Adorno on education. Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) is one of the key thinkers of critical social theory. Beyond his writings on philosophy and sociology he formulated interesting analyses around education. As Christian Spatscheck argues in this piece, his ideas are still relevant for today’s (informal) educators. contents : introduction · life · adorno’s […]

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 […]

Chris Argyris: theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning

Chris Argyris: theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning. The work of Chris Argyris (1923-2013) has influenced thinking about the relationship of people and organizations, organizational learning and action research. Here we examine some key aspects of his thinking. contents: introduction · life · theories of action: theory in use and espoused theory · […]

Aristotle and education

Aristotle, The Louvre Wikipedia | ccby sa2 licence Aristotle and education. We only have scraps of his work, but his influence on educational thinking has been of fundamental importance. Aristotle (384 – 322 BC). Aristotle’s work was wide-ranging – yet our knowledge of him is necessarily fragmented. Only around 20 per cent of his written […]

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 […]

Thomas John Barnardo (‘the doctor’) and his work with children and young people

Thomas John Barnardo (‘the doctor’). Dr. Thomas John Barnardo was what we might now call an extraordinary ‘social entrepreneur’. But who was he and what did he achieve? He was well known for his homes and training schemes, but what was his contribution to the development of youth work and social work practice? contents: introduction […]

Leonard J. Barnes and youth work

Leonard J. Barnes and youth work. L. J. Barnes championed experimentation, facilitation and spontaneity in youth work – and criticized inculcation. We explore his thinking and impact. contents: introduction · leonard barnes – life and work · leonard barnes on the purpose of youth work · youth work and spontaneity · character-building or growing personality? […]

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 […]

Leonard Barnett and the church youth club

Leonard Barnett and the church youth club. Leonard P. Barnett was a key figure in the development of youth work within the Methodist Church. He also wrote two classic texts on youth clubs that provide workers with a coherent and informed basis for their work fostering learning, fellowship and the more abundant life. contents: introduction […]

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 […]

Jean Baudrillard and educational practice

Jean Baudrillard. Jean Baudrillard’s radical questioning of the character of signs, symbols and simulation in our postmodern age points towards the necessity to reconsider the role of contemporary educational practices as a possible site of resistance to the ‘code’. Trevor Norris investigates. Contents: jean baudrillard · further reading and bibliography · links · how to […]

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) […]

Augusto Boal, animation and education

Augusto Boal at Riverside Church in New York City 2008. Picture by Jonathan McIntosh Augusto Boal, animation and education. Known for his work around forum theatre and the theatre of the oppressed, Boal has interesting things to say about animation and education Temporary page In Boal’s work around forum theatre, invisible theatre and the theatre […]

Sissela Bok on lying and moral choice in private and public life – an amplification

Sissela Bok on lying and moral choice in private and public life – an amplification. Robert K. Fullinwider explores and amplifies Sissela Bok’s seminal work: Lying: Moral Choice in Private and Public Life (1978). Lying remains in print today, nearly thirty years after its initial publication, and is widely used in the classroom. Its continuing […]

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 […]

Charles Booth – mapping the impact of poverty and acting to improve things

Charles Booth, The Wellcome Collection ccby4 licence Charles Booth’s work in gathering data around poverty and wealth, both deepened the processes of social research and extended the attention given to it. He made a lasting contribution to the analysis of poverty and the development of government intervention to improve the situation faced by many. Charles […]

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 · […]

Jerome Bruner and the process of education

Jerome Bruner and the process of education. Jerome Bruner has made a profound contribution to our appreciation of the process of education and to the development of curriculum theory. We explore his work and draw out some important lessons for informal educators and those concerned with the practice of lifelong learning. contents: introduction · jerome […]

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Henry Caldwell Cook

Henry Caldwell Cook. Pioneering teacher and advocate of natural education in self-governing communities. Henry Caldwell Cook (1885-1939) taught at Perse School, Cambridge and was best known for his (1917) book The Play Way. He had a vision of ‘natural education in self-governing communities’ but argued for a transition involving a ‘partial liberation from the classroom’. […]

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 […]

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) […]

Waldo Mcgillicuddy Eagar and the making of boys’ clubs

Waldo Mcgillicuddy Eagar and the making of boys’ clubs. W. McG. Eagar was a key figure in the establishment and development of the National Association of Boys’ Clubs. He also wrote the definitive history of the movement. We examine his contribution. contents: introduction · boys’ clubs · conclusion · further reading and bibliography · links […]

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: […]

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 […]

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 ©

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 · […]

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 […]

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 […]

George Goetschius, community development and detached youth work

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 […]

Antonio Gramsci, schooling and education

Antonio Gramsci, schooling and education. Gramsci’s emphasis on critical awareness, the importance of intellectuals being part of everyday life, and on the part played by so-called ‘common sense’ in maintaining the status quo have helped to open up the transformational possibilities of education. contents: introduction · ideological hegemony · organic intellectuals · gramsci on schooling […]

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 […]

Basil Henriques and boys’ club work

Basil Henriques and boys’ club work. Basil Henriques’ exploration of boys’ club work provided several generations of workers with a framework for practice. We examine his vision and his contribution to youth work. Contents: introduction · ·  conclusion · further reading and references · links · how to cite this article Basil Lucs Quixano Henriques […]

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, […]

John Holt, learning and (un)schooling

John Holt. John Holt’s explorations of the failures of formal teaching and schooling influenced a generation of educators. By looking to the experiences and interests of children, and the sense they made of learning and education, we can find great possibility. John Caldwell Holt (1923-1985) forthcoming   Websites The best starting point is holtgws.com. It […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Pearl Jephcott, youth and the lives of ordinary people

Pearl Jephcott produced a series of influential studies of the lives of young people and was an important figure in the development of thinking about youth club work. She also undertook a number of studies that added significantly to our appreciation of working-class life. contents: introduction · life · Pearl Jephcott, youth work and young […]