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Understanding and Using Challenging  Educational Theories

Understanding and Using Challenging Educational Theories

First Edition

March 2017 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
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
  Understanding and Using Challenging Educational Theories 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

This book includes learning theories which educators can use and apply directly to practice and would be useful for early career researchers who may appreciate an overview of educational theory. The personal background perspective included with each chapter makes the book an accessible read as a story is weaved through an understanding of the context of the times and personal circumstances of each theorist. The structure of each chapter including: proposed learning outcomes, summaries and further reading, facilitates learning and encourages a critical understanding of each theory. 

Lynn Boyle
University of Dundee

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.

Jane Cawdell
Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Brighton

Supported students in a number of ways; they began to comprehend, especially first years, what it means to be critical when exploring and implementing Educational Theories not just challenging ones. Secondly the way in which the theories were mapped out, referenced and presented provided greater information and learning support for most students.


Deirdre Daly
Mary Immaculate College

A detailed breakdown of some critical thinkers in education and learning theory. the application of key points and their relationship is a particular bonus. well presented, articulated in accessible terms and useful for students new to education.

Dr Graeme Athey
Education, Fairfield Farm College
September 1, 2021

This works supports the previous book, in expanding to include the more commonly used theorists work, very helpful to understanding the links between scholars and how their work is used to critique in social sciences writing

Mrs Tracey Goodyere
School of Education, Birmingham City University
February 19, 2021

This book has really got our Postgraduate students thinking!

Ms Jan Ashbridge
Education (Lancaster), University of Cumbria
December 18, 2019

The authors of this book have done a very good job. Educational Theories have clearly been explained.

Dr Seidu Salifu
He & Teacher Training, NESCOT
September 3, 2019

Brilliant book - introduces many essential education theorists and explores both their background and the key concepts of their theories. Really useful for critical analysis.

Miss Holly Joanna Magenta Scott
Education Department, Newcastle College
June 6, 2019

This is an essential addition to our BA (Hons) Education reading list. We have a module called Constructions of Learning which looks at the theories of learning and this book is one of the key texts we recommend our students buy.

Mr Tarisai Chikomba
Dept of Teacher Education (Chelmsford), Anglia Ruskin University
September 3, 2019

Well written introduction to some of the key educational theorists. Very useful for students when beginning to look at different theories and how they can be applied in practice.

Dr Rhiannon Packer
Cardiff School of Education, Cardiff Metropolitan University
August 2, 2019

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