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The Power of Critical Theory for Adult Learning and Teaching

The Power of Critical Theory for Adult Learning and Teaching

Paperback

By (author) Stephen Brookfield

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  • Publisher: OPEN UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 229mm x 24mm | 740g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Milton Keynes
  • ISBN 10: 0335211321
  • ISBN 13: 9780335211326
  • Sales rank: 293,599

Product description

'Stephen Brookfield disturbs and enriches the entire field of adult learning with this brilliant piece of teaching' - Robert Kegan, Harvard University, USA. 'Simplifying without eroding the complexity of critical theory, Brookfield traverses the grand themes of ideology, power, alienation, liberation, reason and democracy; showing how they inform the adult education practice of fostering critical thinking and critical reflection' - Mark Tennant, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. 'I learned more from this book than from dozens of other adult education publications! This book is sure to become a major reference text in the field' - Elizabeth Hayes, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. '!A lucid, accessible overview of how critical theory (with its daunting vocabularies and internal debates) illuminates the contexts of adult learning and orients teaching practices' - Michael Welton, Mount St. Vincent University, Canada.'This is a sophisticated and comprehensive treatment of the power of Socratic questioning of dogmas and a prophetic witness against the conservative status quo! A must read for all seriously engaged teachers' - Cornel West, Princeton University, USA. This major contribution to the literature on adult education provides adult educators with an accessible overview of critical theory's central ideas. Using many direct quotes from the theorists' works, Brookfield shows how critical theory illuminates the everyday practices of adult educators and helps them make sense of the dilemmas, contradictions and frustrations they experience in their work.Drawing widely on central texts in critical theory, Brookfield argues that a critical theory of adult learning must focus on understanding how adults learn to challenge ideology, contest hegemony, unmask power, overcome alienation, learn liberation, reclaim reason and practice democracy. These tasks form the focus of successive chapters, while later chapters review the central contentions of critical theory through the contemporary lenses of race and gender. The final chapter reviews adult educational practices and looks at what it means to teach critically. It is essential reading for anyone teaching, working in, studying or researching adult education.

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Author information

Stephen D. Brookfield is currently Distinguished Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. He also serves as consultant to the adult education doctoral program at National Louis University in Chicago. Prior to moving to Minnesota, he spent ten years as Professor in the Department of Higher and Adult Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he is still Adjunct Professor. He received his B.A. degree (1970) from Coventry University in modern studies, his M.A. degree (1974) from the University of Reading in sociology, and his Ph.D. degree (1980) from the University of Leicester in adult education. He also holds a postgraduate diploma (1971) from the University of London, Chelsea College, in modern social and cultural studies and a postgraduate diploma (1977) from the University of Nottingham in adult education. In 1991 he was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree from the University System of New Hampshire for his contributions to understanding adult learning. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Concordia University for his contributions to adult education practice. Stephen began his teaching career in 1970 and has held appointments at colleges of further, technical, adult and higher education in the United Kingdom, and at universities in Canada (University of British Columbia) and the United States (Columbia University, Teachers College and the University of St. Thomas). In 1989 he was Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Technical and Adult Teacher Education in what is now the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. In 2002 he was Visiting Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In 2003-2004 he was the Helen Le Baron Hilton Chair at Iowa State University. He has run numerous workshops on teaching, adult learning and critical thinking around the world and delivered many keynote addresses at regional, national and international education conferences. In 2001 he received the Leadership Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) for "extraordinary contributions to the general field of continuing education on a national and international level". He is a three time winner of the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education: in 1986 for his book Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning: A Comprehensive Analysis of Principles and Effective Practices (1986), in 1989 for Developing Critical Thinkers: Challenging Adults to Explore Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting (1987), and in 1996 for Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (1995). Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning also won the 1986 Imogene E. Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education. These awards were all presented by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. His other books include Adult Learners, Adult Education and the Community (1984), Self-Directed Learning: From Theory to Practice (1985), Learning Democracy: Eduard Lindeman on Adult Education and Social Change (1987), Training Educators of Adults: The Theory and Practice of Graduate Adult Education (1988), and The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (1990).