Feature: Friendship and education

Photo by Annie Spratt on UnsplashPhoto 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 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 education and educators.

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 holds for the theory and practice of informal education.

Association, la vie associative and lifelong learning

We explore the theory and practice of association – the process of joining together in friendship or companionship, or to undertake some task – and the educative power of playing one’s part in a group or association.


What is a relationship, and what special qualities are present in informal education? We suggest that the focus on learning, mutuality and the emotional bond between people are important features of the sorts of relationships that informal educators are involved in.

Last Updated on July 10, 2019 by infed.org