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

5:  working to make change possible

further reading
home: the art of helping others


Communities of practice. The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice 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 cover: the art of helping otherseducators and those concerned with lifelong learning and helping.

Parker J. Palmer: community, knowing and spirituality. Parker J. Palmer's explorations of education as a spiritual journey and of the inner lives of educators have been deeply influential. We explore his teachings and contribution.

Dialogue and conversation. 'Dialogue', Freire says, 'is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world'. Here we explore this idea - and its roots.

Reflection. What constitutes reflection - and what significance does it have for educators (and helpers)?

Praxis. An introduction to the idea plus an annotated booklist.

Role model education. In this article Daniel Rose examines the role and potential of the educator as a role-model within both formal and informal education.

further reading

Palmer, Parker J. (1998) The Courage to Teach. Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Palmer is very helpful in thinking about knowing and learning in community.

Egan, Gerard (2006) The Skilled Helper: A Problem-management and Opportunity Development Approach to Helping 8e. Belmont CA: Wadsworth. Love him, hate him – but you certainly can’t ignore him, Egan’s treatment of what he sees as the key stages of helping is a treasure trove of material.

Stone, Douglas, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen (2000) Difficult Conversations. How to discuss what matters most, London: Penguin. Born of the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, this book provides a useful framework for thinking about ‘learning conversations’.