T. R.(Reg) Batten and Madge Batten, non-directivity and community development

The Battens in their garden 1993. Used with kind permission of George Lovell. All rights reserved.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 in Thomas Reginald Batten’s comparatively unknown groundbreaking work on education and development in Africa 1927-1949.

contents: introduction · batten in africa · the battens at the institute of education · the non-directive approach · courses · field work · community development journal · the researching and writing partnership · the battens in active retirement · unwritten books · conclusion · books · archives · other publications on the battens · how to cite this piece

The worker who uses the non-directive approach does not attempt to decide for people, or to lead, guide, or persuade them to accept any of his own conclusions about what is good for them. He tries to get them to decide for themselves what their needs are: what, if anything, they are willing to do to meet them; and how they can best organize, plan, and act to carry their project through. Thus he aims at stimulating a process of self-determination and self-help, and he values it for all the potential learning experiences which participation in this process provides. He aims to encourage people to develop themselves, and it is by thinking and acting for themselves, he believes, that they are most likely to do so. Moreover, the outcome will usually be a project designed to produce some change for the better in people’s lives. Thus two kinds of betterment result, and change in people and change in their environment go hand in hand. Batten with Batten 1967: 11-12)

Thomas Reginald (Reg) Batten (1904-1999) was born in Wimbledon in November 1904 and died there in January 1999 at the age of 94 years. He followed a first in history at Oxford with a Diploma in Education. As an undergraduate he had been inspired to undertake a career in African education by a missionary talking about his work in Africa. After Oxford he was first Superintendent and then Senior Superintendent of Education in the Education Department in Nigeria from 1927 to 1943. His next appointment was at Makerere College, Uganda where he was Vice-Principal and Head of Social Studies Department, from 1943 to 1949. From 1949 until his retirement in 1972 he was at the Institute of Education, University of London, first as a Senior Lecturer and then as Reader in Community Development Studies. In retirement he continued to work until 1994.

T R Batten was a pioneer in African education and development and in worldwide community development. Way ahead of his time he made original contributions to the praxis of each of these disciplines and encapsulated them in an impressive series of seminal Oxford University Press publications. He was one of a comparatively small number of people who discerned revolutionary ways of approaching, educating and working with ordinary people for betterment, which he practised extensively in many countries of the world. He profoundly influenced the praxis of educationalists, community development and youth workers and academics internationally. His brilliant mind and his deeply compassionate and truly humble nature infused his life long commitment to the holistic development of underprivileged and under educated people and communities the world over.

Madge Batten formerly Mrs Madge Gill, nee Bailey (1914-2002) was his research assistant when he joined the staff of The Institute of Education, University of London in 1949. They became work partners, married and became lifelong collaborators in a long series of London-based courses, an international programme of fieldwork and several publications. They were equally committed to the non-directive approach to community development and made complementary contributions to the partnership. Madge was outgoing and enthusiastic. She had an encyclopaedic memory and the ability to classify complex data. Reg was more retiring, analytical and reflective with a formidable intellect. Their interactive partnership was extraordinarily creative and deeply satisfying to them both. During the second half of the twentieth century they achieved together what neither of them could have achieved separately.

Thomas Reginald Batten, Africa 1927-1949

For four of the sixteen years T. R. Batten was in the Education Department in Nigeria Batten taught in a Secondary School (he was fluent in the local language). During this period he wrote eight books. Whilst he was the Vice-Principal of Makerere College, Uganda he inaugurated and headed up a Social Studies Department. During this period he wrote three books in the plain, direct and lucid style that characterised all his writing. These books are referred to below and listed towards the end of this article.

Each of these books was the product of several years’ work on some aspect of African education and development, which had previously been neglected, and each had a marked influence on subsequent educational practice in its particular field. They show that the work he did during this period had profound effects upon Batten himself. It established at the outset of his career his life-long commitment to combining fieldwork and training with research and writing up his original findings. It had a formative effect upon the evolution of his approach to people and working with them. Seven principles for good educational and developmental praxis can be discerned in these writings, though he himself did not enunciate them as such. They are: belief in human equality and potential; respectful attention to historical perspectives and world-views; commitment to conceptualizing, factorizing and contextualizing; commitment to qualitative autonomy; focus on education; accentuate self- and voluntary help; operate disinterestedly and even-handedly. Brief notes on some of these principles indicate the originality of Batten’s contributions and their influence on the emergence of the non-directive approach.

The respectful attention to historical perspectives and world-views principle. Very early in his career Batten identified the cardinal mistake of educating Africans from the perspective of European history. Realising that well composed historical perspectives and world-views have positive effects on the education and development of people and upon their personal and corporate sense of identity, he undertook the enormous task of recasting world history from the perspective of Africans living in tropical Africa. For three or four years he tested out how to do this at Government College, Ibadan (cf Batten, 1953). Then he wrote a series of four textbooks for a four-year course of study for middle and junior secondary schools, Tropical Africa in World History (1939-1940). No aspect of world history was included unless it was in some way directly relevant to understanding what had happened, or was happening in tropical Africa. These books demonstrate that he was a serious professional academic historian and an avant-garde educationalist deeply concerned about and affected by human sufferings and injustice, as demonstrated, for instance, in his writings about slavery. In the 1930’s, the practice of this principle of helping people to establish their own historical world-views and to think constructively and act creatively with proper respect to them was an enormous shift in orientation. A parallel series was produced in China. When Batten came to write Problems of African Development, he used the same principle.

The commitment to conceptualizing, factorizing and contextualizing principle. Batten applied this principle rigorously in Problems of African Development, first published in two parts: Land and Labour (1946) and Government and People (1948). Their scope is breath taking. First, he conceptualizes and factorizes the thirty interrelated problems and issues that influence development, and then, as he analyses the problems related to each factor he conceptualizes and contextualizes them in relation to each other and the whole. (A selection of them indicates the range of the analysis: the future of African society; problems of African economic development; from subsistence farming to cash cropping; new farming methods; animal husbandry; water for use or for waste; capital and labour as factors in African development; internal and export trade; health; formal and community education; problems of development; self-government; law in a changing society.)

Without naming it as such, he carried out a comprehensive systemic analysis of developmental issues in tropical Africa. He told me that he was helped to do this by what he considered to be a great work by Lord Hailey, An African Survey (Oxford University Press, 1938). The revised edition, 1956, had over 1600 densely packed pages. Batten’s copy was still on his bookshelf when he died.

The commitment to qualitative autonomy principle. A recurrent theme throughout all Batten’s work on African development was that qualitative autonomy, not simply independence, must be a conscious aim of development programmes. It emerged in Tropical Africa in World History and was worked out more fully in Problems of African Development. At one point he gathered his thinking in this way:

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Throughout … we have assumed that we are aiming at something more than independence. We are interested not only in the fact of independence but also in its quality. Self-government should mean representative and preferably democratic self-government, and not government by any small minority enjoying special economic and political privileges. Self-government should also mean efficient government. If these two conditions are not met there is a danger of perpetuating for many of the people their present unsatisfactory way of life, and on these terms self-government might well be bought at too high a price (Batten, 1948, p156 et al).

Batten’s deep and passionate commitment to qualitative democratic self-government and the independence, autonomy and responsibility that goes with it, did not blind him to the danger that granting independence “too early might lead to serious trouble and possible civil war”, to the handing over to privileged minorities (black and/or white) and to autocratic rule (Batten 1939/1940, Book 4 page 226 and 1944, page 12 et. al.). Manifestly the conditions for qualitative democratic autonomy were not achieved before self-government was granted. Subsequent attempts to do so have been associated with the painful struggles and bloody events. Sadly, much that Batten foresaw and feared in the 1930’s and 40’s has happened and is still happening with tragic consequences. Notwithstanding, Batten worked assiduously to establish the cultural, developmental, economic, educational, financial and governmental conditions necessary to constructive self-government.

The focus on the education principle. For Batten education was a substantive factor in achieving qualitative autonomy. He saw the need for greatly extended and improved standards of educational provision through formal programmes at primary, secondary and higher levels and, concurrently, through programmes of community and “mass education” or, as it became known, community development. In addition to communicating knowledge, he argued, each of these programmes must educate people in the methods of obtaining knowledge. It was this emphasis that led Batten in the 1960’s to argue the case that education, not social work, should be the major professional influence that should shape the newly merging discipline of community work in the UK. But eventually, largely through the influence of Dame Eileen Younghusband, social work prevailed. (see Thomas, David (1983) The Making of Community Work, George Allen and Unwin, pp17-36 cf p. 91.)

Accentuate self and voluntary help principle. Batten argued that developmental progress in Africa required that government action be twinned with self- and voluntary help purposefully aimed at the common good and at less fortunate members of communities. Later with Dickson he developed further his ideas about voluntary action and social progress (cf Batten and Dickson, 1959).

In Batten’s thinking these interrelated principles prefigure the formulation of the non-directive concept, which could be seen as an eighth such principle because it emerges so naturally from them. To do this, however, would obscure two complementary relationships between the principles and the non-directive concept. The first is that the principles contribute significantly to a philosophy of the concept and a framework of cardinal reference points for the operation of the approach. The second is that the non-directive approach makes unique contributions towards translating the principles into effective practice in the realities of working with people at all levels for holistic development. The first is self-evident; the second leads to a closer look at Batten’s understanding of the non-directive approach to community development.

The Battens at the Institute of Education, 1949-1972

During this period the Battens first formulated the notion of “non-directive” and tested it through a long series of courses they ran at the Institute and a far-reaching fieldwork programme.

The non-directive approach to community development

Batten was in at the birth of community development whilst he was working in Africa. The concept emerged from that of “mass education” presented in an influential report on adult education in Africa published in 1944,Report on Mass Education in African Society Colonial No 186 Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies, HMSO. Batten examined and endorsed the philosophy and principles of this movement, “to promote all forms of betterment through active participation” (Batten, 1948, p78-91). So, the what of community development was familiar ground. It was when he came to consider how to achieve such developments that he broke entirely new ground by coming up with an original concept, which he called “non-directive” (Batten, 1967 and 1988). (It was not until Batten had been using the term for some time that he learnt that Carl R. Rogers had coined the same term for client-centred psychotherapeutic counselling.) This concept involves inner commitment to self-directivity in others and the skilful use of approaches and methods to help people to decide for themselves what their needs are in contradistinction to their wants, what they are prepared to do to meet them, and what action they are going to take. References to this concept can be about non-directive theory or philosophy or approaches or attitudes or intentions or methods or actions or being or presence. Having demonstrated the efficacy and indispensability of the concept they produced their much-acclaimed definitive work on the concept, The Non-Directive Approach in Group and Community Work. In the preface he writes:

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During the last eighteen years we have been working with all the many experienced administrators, trainers and field workers from ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries who have attended our courses either in England or overseas to get the positive roles and functions of non-directive workers and trainers specific and clear. In this book we present the conclusions which they and we have reached, in the hope that these will stimulate further thought and be of some practical help to all the many workers and trainers now experimenting in this field.

As already noted, this approach to community development emerges naturally from and is informed by the seven principles for good educational and developmental praxis described above.

For the Battens’ both directive and non-directive approaches have their uses. Using them effectively involves, inter alia, assessing their respective advantages and limitations. A chapter in their book is about choosing between them. Later Batten redefined four kinds of situations in which workers have “to revert to working for, i.e. directively”: crisis situations such as fire, flood and epidemic; holding and preventative situations when the prime need is to prevent people harming themselves and others; transitional situations including the transition from directive to non-directive ways of working with people.


From 1949 to1972 the Battens’ ran a long series of interactive courses at the Institute for national and international groups of people widely experienced and influential in community development and for youth and community workers engaged with secular and religious groups in the UK. Lochhead, in a tribute to Batten at the end of this phase indicated the nature and significance of these courses:

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His retirement [from the University] … ends nearly a quarter of a century of quite remarkable pioneering effort. Not only did Reg Batten … introduce community development courses as a subject to be taught in universities, but the method of teaching was as novel as the subject itself. He drew from the students their experience and their difficulties as a kind of continuous group discussion and exploration. In the process the members, including Dr Batten himself, gained insight and confidence and knowledge which no amount of didactic teaching could have given. Community Development method was demonstrated in the classroom. It is appropriate that his account of this teaching method, published as Training for Community Development (1962), should have gained him his Doctorate (A.V.S. Lochhead, “Dr T R Batten” in the Community Development Journal, Oxford University Press, Vol.7 No.3, October 1972, pp194-195.)

One of the things often said to the Battens about one or other of their courses by people who did not normally use such terminology was that it had been a “religious experience”. The Battens, who did not think of themselves as religious and were not churchgoers, were always moved and gratified by such responses because they showed that the philosophy and praxis of non-directivity resonated with the wide range of ethical-spiritual-religious-social convictions of the participants.


During this phase Batten undertook an impressive sequence of consultative and training field work/research assignments, which, inter alia, complemented, earthed, contextualized and informed the London-based central training programmes. From 1954 to 1972 there were sixteen of these assignments, seven in collaboration with Madge Batten – and all this in addition to twenty-two years in West and East Africa! (In chronological order they were in: Nigeria; Ghana; India; Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica; Rhodesia; Canada; Rhodesia; Nepal; Thailand; USA (twice); Liberia; Nepal; Saudi Arabia; Finland.) They varied in length from one to six weeks. Most of them were conferences or seminars for senior people and government departments and ministries in national community development work and training programmes. Variously they involved lectures and interactive training sessions and several involved Batten submitting reports and recommendations to governments and their departments. The list of the extant reports presented towards the end of this article indicates the range of his first hand experience of world-wide community development

Batten and the Community Development Journal

Batten was one of the prime movers in establishing the Community Development Bulletin and then, in 1966, its successor the Community Development Journal: An International Forum (Oxford University Press). He chaired the Editorial Board of the CDJ until 1981. By then the Journal was well established, prestigious and widely influential.

Books and the researching and writing partnership

Batten wrote six books in this period, the last three in collaboration with Madge Batten. During his African career Reg did his research and writing on his own. All his other work was done in “in collaboration” with Madge. They researched and worked on things separately and together and through interactive seminars and fieldwork. He led courses and projects and did most of the lecturing; they collaborated in group work; she conducted skills practice sessions. When it came to writing, he drafted, they discussed what he had written and then he re-drafted until they got an agreed text.

Reg Batten’s Communities and their Development first appeared in 1957 and quickly established itself as a major reference point for the field. His main purpose was to examine and compare differences in aim, method and organization. As he commented in his introduction, it was difficult to state briefly, yet adequately, what community development is. He brought out a number of the key areas of tension in discussions at the time. One of the most significant was the relative emphasis put upon community participation – where local people ‘thoroughly discuss and define their wants, and then plan and act together to satisfy them (Batten 1957: 1) – and the development agency. In the case of the latter community development is identified with ‘almost any form of local betterment which is some way achieved with the willing co-operation of the people’ (op. cit.). Reg Batten goes on to examine trends in community development; the role of agencies; the processes of encouraging and directing change, and of building community; the relationship of schools to their local communities; working with groups; and selecting and training workers. One of the striking features of the book is the emphasis placed upon fostering and developing group life.

The process of community development (or creation) is envisaged in two stages: the first, development within the groups themselves as the members become more knowledgeable people, more friendly and co-operative among themselves, and more able to conduct their business without outside help and guidance; and the second, development in the community at large as the characteristics developed within the groups influence the conduct of the members in their homes and in their neighbourhood. Thus through the groups they sponsor the agencies aim to produced socialized and community-minded people, as well as knowledgeable people. They hope that leaders developed in their groups will later become leaders in community affairs. (Batten 1957: 81)

Unfortunately, Batten commented, ‘the more the agency directs its groups, the less socially creative its work tends to be’ (op. cit.: 82). The chief task of the development agency, he argued, was to help all kinds of democratic groups to grow.

A G Dickson wrote an extended review of Communities and Their Development in the Community Development Bulletin (March 1958, Vol IX, No2, pp30-36). Batten deeply appreciated this review. He was moved by the importance Dickson ascribed to his work and valued the critical attention to detail and the way in which Dickson had set the book in context . Dickson concludes his introductory paragraph in this way:

Wisely skirting the morass of definitions and semantics in which so many United Nations and Colonial Office conferences on Mass Education, Social Welfare and Community Development during the last decade have become bogged down, Batten has concentrated on what the tasks are to be tackled and how. The four principal tasks are described as adopting new skills: meeting new problems arising from change; retaining a sense of community; and creating a sense of community in situations such as new towns. (op. cit.: 30)

In Training for Community Development: A Critical Study of Method (1962) Reg Batten describes the origins of the case study method and illustrates the use of slides to introduce cases. One of the defining, and most popular, features of the books that Reg and Madge Batten produced was their extensive use of case studies. It was put to good effect in The Human Factor in Community Work (1965) andThe Human Factor in Youth Work (1970). Based upon systematic discussions about real life situation cases contributed and worked on by members of the Battens’ training courses, their use of case studies had the dual benefit of anchoring their discussions in the day to day struggles of workers; and of encouraging people to look behind initial impressions, and to develop deeper appreciations of what might be going on, and what might be possible. The problems are discussed and ways of dealing with them assessed. Both books illustrate how the Battens’ used case studies to build up their non-directive praxis. The Human Factor in Community Work presents thirty-seven cases grouped under the chapter headings such as “Meeting Requests for Help”, “Dealing with Faction”. The lessons to be learnt from the cases are pertinent to workers in any country. The Human Factor in Youth Work contains nineteen analysed problems and many others, which are not analysed. These cases are from the British scene in the 1960’s.

The Non-Directive Approach in Group and Community Work (Batten with Batten 1967) was a critical study of the nature, scope and limitations and relative uses of the directive and non-directive approaches and the use of the non-directive approach to train community development workers. This book had profound, dramatic and far-reaching effects on the fields of community development, community work, social work, adult education and church work. It provided a clear statement of directive and non-directive approaches and dealt with the nitty gritty of training

The Battens in active retirement, 1972-1994

The Battenswere in active retirement from 1972 to 1994, i.e., when he was 90 and she was 80 years of age. During this period they were both very active and creative but Madge retired from professional activities and gave herself to supporting Reg in his continuing work. His mind was clear and sharp and he could concentrate for long periods until the onset of Alzheimer’s in his early 90’s. Apart from five short overseas projects, he concentrated on two long-term consultancy commitments in the UK. For several years he acted as a non-directive consultant to members of a team of avant-garde YWCA detached field workers engaged in pioneering community development projects, which involved unstructured, face-to-face work with individuals and small groups of young people variously alienated from society. Batten threw himself into this programme with young workers significantly different from him in age, culture and politics. Meticulously, he wrote up records of the consultancy sessions and notes about emergent practice theory but later destroyed his copies because they did not come up to his high professional standards. The second commitment was to an extensive consultancy arrangement with Catherine Widdicombe and me, and to Avec, an independent ecumenical agency for church and community development work.

Batten made enormously important contributions to the design, founding and development of Avec. It resulted from, and immediately followed, a six-year action research project to which Batten also acted as consultant. George Lovell and Catherine Widdicombe wrote up this project in Churches and Communities: An Approach the Development in the Local Church (Search Press, 1978) Avec was founded in 1976 and ceased to trade in 1994. (Avec is not an acronym. It is simply French for “with” and is used to indicate the Avec approach which involves working with rather than for people.) It provided a wide range of in-service training and work consultancy courses. These ranged from half-day conferences to a two-year part-time post-graduate diploma in church and community development. Ten-day interactive work and theory courses were the central core of the overall programme. The staff also provided consultancy services and worked on a large number of projects, mostly in the U.K., though some were in Ireland and Africa. Avec staff worked with up to 8,000 people of ten denominations, including almost 4,000 Roman Catholics, 2,000 Methodists and 1,500 Anglicans. People at all levels used these services (some 5,100 at local and 2,500 at regional and national levels) by clergy (2,800), religious, deaconesses and church workers (3,800) and lay people (1,000). The subject matter was varied: it included most forms of local church and community work and a range of specialist work with, for example, profoundly deaf and travellers. There were courses for specific groups such as missionaries (on furlough and returning to work in the U.K.), religious (for superiors and provincials), people working regionally and nationally. All the training and consultancy work was treated as an action-research programme. (For publications on Avec, its work and praxis see website www.avecresources.org).

Alongside this, returning to his first love of history, Batten was a member and President of the Wimbledon Society and Chairman of its Museum and Education Committee. He classified, annotated and catalogued the contents of the museum and commissioned historical essays. With his wife, Madge, he was also an active member of the Wimbledon Horticultural Society and, surprisingly, the Modern Sequence Dancing Club!

During this phase he published an important article in the Community Development Journal (Volume 9 Number 2, April 1974), “Major Issues and Future Direction of Community Development”. It was a lecture he had given to the Peace Corps in the USA in which he concluded with sadness:

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As I look back over my years of research, study and fieldwork, my overall feeling is one of sadness that so much community development effort has, on the whole, resulted in relatively so little actual betterment and more especially for the poor and under privileged people who need betterment most. I know, of course, that powerful minorities in every country often succeed in influencing development policies in their own interests at the expense of the mass of ordinary people, and I accept that as a fact of life we have to live with. What concerns me much more is that the well-intentioned efforts of so many planners, administrators and field workers who really want to promote betterment have, on the whole, so often fallen so far short of realising their full potential. (Batten, 1974, p96)

It was his last publication.

Unwritten books

Up to 1985 Batten was researching and outlining two books. He wrote copious notes on the chapters but he never got them into manuscript form. One, which I knew nothing about until I went through the papers he left,he had entitled, Principles of Extension Work. This draft outline drew heavily upon the Community Development Courses at the University of London. Why he abandoned it is a mystery. Given all the thoroughly documented work he and Madge had done with international seminar groups of very able and widely experienced people he should have had no difficulty in writing it and it could have been a useful book.

The other one is a quite different matter. He entitled it Development and People: A Critical Study. An earlier sub-title was, A Critical Study of Principles and Practice. This book was meant to make a fundamental contribution to overcoming a problem, which he said he had encountered throughout his career from his earliest days in Nigeria. It was that all forms of secular and religious programmes and projects designed and intended to contribute to the common good failed to achieve their potential, to a greater or lesser extent, because”, he argued, “of inadequate understandings and definitions of ‘development and ‘betterment’. Starting with a multiplicity of understandings of these two concepts, he set out to establish a generic philosophical and theoretical basis and framework, which would inform holistic developmental programmes. The detailed outlines had sections on: purposes; basic approaches to the development of environment and people; promoting the development of environment and people; problems; training; evaluating work. Reading through his papers I realised, with deep empathic feelings and sadness, that he simply could not conceptualize the issues with sufficient clarity to describe the philosophical and theoretical framework he saw to be so necessary. Eventually he abandoned the book in the early eighties ostensibly for health reasons: he could not write without smoking his beloved pipe; smoking was having a deleterious effect on his health and life expectancy and he very much wanted to live on, particularly for Madge’s sake who was ten years his junior and unwell. (In the event she outlived him by some three years.) So he gave up smoking and with it writing. Reg was bitterly and lastingly disappointed, and so was I.


Batten’s vocationally operative life spanned sixty-seven years of focussed, independent, original thought and intensive creative action. Madge was an ideal colleague and vocational partner for forty-five years. As I muse on his awesome life I see him, especially during the African years, as a thoroughly professional and dedicated “secular missionary” with a passion for education and development of those most deprived and in greatest need. A renaissance of well-informed non-directive praxis is, I believe, highly desirable in education, training and social and community development work. A significant contribution could be made through setting the contemporary emphasizes on collaboration, collegiality, egalitarian participation, self-directed group work and empowerment in a non-directive theoretical and philosophical praxis framework highlighting the connections between these associated concepts. This could enable more people to draw upon the Battens’ capital investment in human betterment, which is an important part of our inheritance.

Bibliography and further reading

Books by T.R. Batten during his African experience

Some of the principal issues emerging from these books are discussed in the article.

Batten, T. R. (1933, 6th edition1950) Handbook on the Teaching of History and Geography in Nigeria, CMS, Lagos.

Batten, T. R. (1934) Koyaar Labarin Kasa da Tarihi,CMS, Nigeria.

Batten, T. R. (1939/40) Tropical Africa in World History,Oxford University Press:

Book 1: The Foundations of Modern History.

Book 2: The Growth of Europe and the British Empire.

Book 3: Africa: Modern History after 1800.

Book 4: The Modern World.

Batten, T. R. (1941) The British Empire and the Modern World,Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1943) Africa Past and Present, Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1944) Thoughts on African Citizenship,Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1947) Problems of African Development: Part I: Land and Labour, Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1948) Problems of African Development: Part II: Government and People, Oxford University Press.

Books by the Battens from their London base

Batten, T. R. (1953) “The textbook and the Teacher” in Overseas Education, Volume XXV, No 2, July 1953, pp62-63

Batten, T.R. (1955) Thoughts on African Citizenship. London: Oxford University Press.

Goodban, G. A., Ching-lien, Chien, Batten, T. R. (1958-1961) China in World History. London: Oxford University Press:

Book 1: The First Civilization.

Book 2: The Growth of China and Europe.

Book 3: China and the West: Development before 1900.

Book 4: China and the West in Recent Times.

Batten, T. R. (1957, fifth edition 1965) Communities and Their Development: An Introductory Study with Special Reference to the Tropics, Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1959) School and Community in the Tropics,Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1962) Training for Community Development: A Critical Study of Method, Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. (1974 a) “The Major Issues and Future Direction of Community Development”, Community Development Journal,Oxford University Press, Vol. 9 Number 2 April 1974, pp96-103. Also published in Journal of Community Development Society, Volume 4 No 2, Fall 1973.

Batten, T. R. and A. G. Dickson (1959) Voluntary Action and Social Progress, The British Council.

Batten, T. R. with the collaboration of Madge Batten (1965) The Human Factor in Community Work, Oxford University Press.

Batten, T. R. with the collaboration of Madge Batten (1967) The Non-Directive Approach in Group and Community Work,Oxford University Press. This is now out of print. An abridged version is available, Batten, T. R. and M. Batten (1988) The NonDirective Approach, An Avec Publication.

Batten, T. R. with the collaboration of Madge Batten (1970) The Human Factor in Youth Work,Oxford University Press.

Reports of the Battens’ overseas assignments

Batten T. R. (1959) Impressions of the Indian Training Programme and Some Suggestions for its Improvement.

Batten, T. R. (April 1964) Report on Community Development in Southern Rhodesia

Batten, T. R. (October 1966) Some Comments on the Policy of Panchayat Development and Decentralisation in Nepal and some Suggestions for Increasing its Effectiveness.

Bloore, Keith (July 1967) Community Development Training: A Condensation of the (July 1965) Batten Report (Published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs)

Batten, T. R. (March 1972) National Development in Nepal: The Decentralisation Policy: Its Purpose and Problems.

Batten T. R. (July 1972) The Community Development Programme in Saudi Arabia: Report Submitted by Dr T R Batten.

Batten T. R. and Batten M (July 1965) Report and Recommendations by Dr T.R. Batten and Mrs M Batten to the Rhodesia Government on Implementing the Policy of Local Government Through the Concept of Community Development.

Batten, T. R and Batten M (March 1968) Some Suggestions Based on Work Done with the Community Development Department, Ministry of the Interior during our Visit to Thailand, January-March 1968.

Batten, T. R. and Batten, M (November 1966) Suggestions for Increasing the Effectiveness of Training and some Other Activities of the Community Development Department, Ministry of the Interior, Thailand.

Batten, T. R.and Batten, M (February 1968) Community Development Department Ministry of the Interior Bangkok: Report of the Community Development Department Trainers’ Seminar Conducted by Dr T. R. and Madge Batten, January 15-26, 1968, Prepared by Training Division, Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior.

Batten, T. R. and Batten, M. (February 1968) The Non-Directive Approach in Training, An Account of the Recommendations arising from the Rose Garden Seminar for Officers of the Training Division and Technical Services’ Division of the Local Administration Department, Thailand, from February 5th –16th 1968.


Battens’ papers and memorabilia will eventually be housed in the Avec Archives in the Wesley Centre, Oxford, Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University, Harcourt Hill, Oxford OX2 9AT. Contact: Methodist Heritage Coordinator (Archives and Art), Dr Peter Forsaith (details on p75 of Avec Archives Annotated Catalogue). (see www.avecresources.org ).

Other publications on the Battens

Lovell, George (2006) An Occasional Paper:A Critical Appreciation of Some Outworkings in Christian Churches and Organisations of Batten’s Non-Directive Approach to Community Development (see www.avecresources.org ).

Gilchrist, Ruth; Jeffs, Tony; Spence, Jean; Walker, Joyce (Eds) Title? (Forthcoming in 2007), a chapter by George Lovell, “The Life and Work of TR Batten” (National Youth Agency)

How to cite this piece: Lovell, George (2007) ‘ T. R.(Reg) Batten and Madge Batten: their worldwide contributions to the non-directive approach to community development’, The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. [www.infed.org/thinkers/batten.htm].

© 2007 George Lovell

Last Updated on October 18, 2019 by infed.org