featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action

support pages for Heather Smith and Mark K. Smith's book: the art of helping others

6: deepening our practice

further reading
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Keeping a learning journal. Helpers and educators are often encouraged to write journals - especially when they are training - but what does journal writing entail, what benefits can it bring, and how can we go about writing one?

Communities of practice. The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of cover: the art of helping otherspractice has gained significant ground in recent years. Communities of practice have also become an important focus within organizational development. In this article we outline the theory and practice of such communities, and examine some of issues and questions for informal educators and those concerned with lifelong learning.

Happiness and education. What makes us flourish - and what does not? We explore the theory, practice and possibilities of putting happiness at the centre of education (and helping).

Evaluation. Evaluation is part and parcel of educating and helping – yet it can be experienced as a burden and an unnecessary intrusion. We explore the theory and practice of evaluation and some of the key issues for informal and community educators, social pedagogues youth workers and others.

Developing critical conversations about practice. This article the use of study groups by practitioners to deepen and extend their practice. It looks at how we may transcend individualized responses through building 'critical communities of enquirers'.

further reading

Holly, Mary Louise (1989) Writing to Grow. Keeping a personal-professional journal, Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann. One of the few, recommendable explorations of journal writing for professional development. 

Kadushin, Alfred and Harness, Daniel. (2002) Supervision in Social Work 4e. New York: Columbia University Press. This is a revised edition of Kadushin’s standard work on supervision.

Rainer, Tristine (1978, 2004) The New Diary. How to use a journal for self-guidance and extended creativity, Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher Inc. Reissued with a new introduction in 2004, this book is rightly regarded as a classic. It provides a good introduction to the writing and keeping journals and opens up different approaches.

Wenger, Etienne (1999) Communities of Practice. Learning, meaning and identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Extended discussion of the concept of community of practice and how it might be approached within organizational development and education.