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Understanding and Using Challenging Educational Theories

by Karl Aubrey and Alison Riley SAGE Publications Ltd
Pub Date:
Pbk 248 pages
AU$63.00 NZ$65.22
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Some of the most important developments in educational thought have been put forward by theorists who have challenged existing notions about the aims of education and its role in society. But how do these ideas relate to today’s classrooms and how can you use them to improve your own teaching practice?


This textbook gives you a clear overview of fifteen thinkers who have offered challenging perspectives on education, including influential sociological thinkers (Bourdieu, Foucault, Mezirow, Bernstein), those who have questioned the orthodoxy on schooling (Holt, Darling-Hammond) and other key names whose writing has helped shaped our views on teaching and learning.


Each chapter includes:


· practical examples showing how theories can be used to inform classroom teaching


· critiques of each theorist exploring opposing viewpoints and the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas


· reflective tasks inviting you to apply what you’ve read to your own educational experiences.


This is essential reading for anyone on university and school-based initial teacher education courses training to teach in different educational settings, including early years and adult education, or studying education at undergraduate and postgraduate level.


Chapter 1 Abraham Maslow: The father of American humanism

Chapter 2 Carl Rogers: The father of client-centred therapy

Chapter 3 A. S. Neill: Freedom to learn

Chapter 4 John Goodlad: The renewal of teaching and learning, schools and teacher education

Chapter 5 Basil Bernstein: Language codes, social class, pedagogy and the curriculum

Chapter 6 Pierre Bourdieu: Theory of society

Chapter 7 Michel Foucault: Power, surveillance, discipline and control in education

Chapter 8 Nel Noddings: Caring in education

Chapter 9 Lawrence Stenhouse: Linking the curriculum with theory, research and practice

Chapter 10 Henry Giroux: Critical pedagogy

Chapter 11 Howard Gardner: Multiple intelligences and education

Chapter 12 John Holt: Unschooling or home schooling

Chapter 13 bell hooks: Education as the practice of freedom

Chapter 14 Jack Mezirow: Transformative learning

Chapter 15 Linda Darling-Hammond: Equity in education - policy, teachers, and teaching


An excellent companion to Aubrey and Riley’s ‘Understanding and Using Educational Theories’, this book presents the ideas of more peripheral and contemporary theorists, serving to extend and enrich readers’ knowledge of key thinkers on education and learning.

The key concepts of each theorist are clearly presented and contextually cushioned, enabling readers to form a web of understanding in how they link to, and have been influenced by, others in the field, whilst at the same time recognising  how they may be viewed as ‘challengers’ to more traditional ideas on education.

Application to policy and practice helps to illuminate key ideas visibly in educational settings in an easily accessible format. I will, most certainly, be adopting this as one of our key texts.

Karl Aubrey is a Senior Lecturer on the Applied Studies in Education programmes, as well as a tutor with post graduate students, at Bishop Grosseteste University. Prior to this Karl was the Programme Leader for a range of initial teacher education and professional development programmes at a large city Further Education college. Between 2003 and 2005 he was seconded to the DfES Standards Unit as a learning and teaching practitioner in the East Midlands. Karl has contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of Education and has collaborated with colleagues to publish a number of journal articles. His doctoral thesis explored the reforms in Further Education teacher education from 2000 to 2010, from the viewpoint of teacher educators. Karl’s research interests include inclusion, education policy, pedagogy and work-based learning.


Alison Riley is the Academic Co-ordinator for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree at Bishop Grosseteste University, she has also worked on a number of educational related programmes at the University including ITT courses. Prior to joining Bishop Grosseteste University Alison spent 16 years working in Primary Education, as a classroom teacher, deputy head teacher and finally head teacher of a large junior school. Alison has been involved in a number of collaborative projects, and has recently been involved in an EU Funded project researching ‘Creativity in Early Science and Mathematics Education’. Alison has recently commenced doctoral studies in which she is researching the journey of students entering Higher Education with alternative qualifications.