The papers outlined below were written for undergraduate youth workers but represent ideas developed over 30 years of working in adult and community education. I'll add more when I get time and I want to re-write these to make them more accessible. I have in mind a book on critical praxis for anyone who wants to live a politics of social change for a fairer and more sustainable world in their educational practice. I want it to be accessible without being simplistic and I want to use lots of examples from current practice. All ideas and suggestions welcome (see home page for feedback link)
Behaviourism: This paper looks at the roots of "The naughty step", CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Assertiveness Training and competence-based assessment in behavioural psychology. While adopting a broadly critical stance to these applications of a so-called science of behaviour, my concluding argument acknowledges the value of a behavioural approach to structuring learning for particular tasks and skills.
Humanistic Learning Theories: This paper challenges some of the basic assumptions which underpin person-centred therapy/learning. It traces the origins of these ideas from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, through the humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. My critique is grounded in experience of the coercive effects of humanistic psychology and a belief that an emphasis on personal growth supports an ideology of individualism and greed, perpetuating inequality, oppression and injustice.
Social theories of learning: This draft paper introduces a number of inter-related theories and concepts including situated learning (or situated cognition or distributed learning/cognition), legitimate peripheral participation in communities of practice, social constructivism, activity theory. These ideas enable us to think of learning that is shared among, or distributed between, groups of people learning together in everyday situations rather than as something that happens inside the individual's head.