featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action

group work pioneers

a developing set of pages exploring the contributions of key thinkers and practitioners
see, also, our groupwork pages


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.

Grace Coyle and group work theory and practice. 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.

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 before becoming a psychotherapist. We explore her contribution.

Gisela Konopka and group work. Gisela Konopka (1910- ) made a profound contribution to the development of social group work theory and practice, and the deepening of work with children and young people. In this paper Janice Andrews charts Gisela Konopka's life and assesses her work.

Kurt Lewin, group dynamics and action learning: A seminal theorist who deepened our understanding of groups, experiential learning, and action research.

Carl Rogers, core conditions and education. Best known for his contribution to client-centered therapy and his role in the development of counselling, Rogers also had much to say about the principles, theory and practice of education and group work.

Gertrude Wilson and social group work theory and practice. Gertrude Wilson was a pivotal figure in the development of the principles, theory and practice of group work during the 1940s and 1950s. Here we briefly assess her contribution.