Radicalizing Learning: Adult Education for a JustWorld
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Radicalizing Learning calls for a total rethinking of what the field of adult education stands for and how adult educators should assess their effectiveness. Arguing that major changes in society are needed to create a more just world, the authors set out to show how educators can help learners envision and enact this radical transformation.

Specifically, the book explores the areas of adult learning, training, teaching, facilitation, program development, and research. Each chapter provides a guide to the different paradigms and perspectives that prevail across the field of theory and practice. The authors then tie all of the themes into how adult learning for participatory democracy works in a diverse society.


Stephen D. Brookfield is Distinguished University Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has taught for forty years in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States. A four-time winner of the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education, he is the author of numerous books on teaching including The Skillful Teacher, Discussion as a Way of Teaching, and The Power of Critical Theory, all from Jossey-Bass.

John D. Holst is an associate professor in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Administration at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he teaches graduate courses in critical pedagogy, social theory, and educational research. He is the author of Social Movements, Civil Society, and Radical Adult Education.


Preface ix

About the Authors xvii

1 Conceptualizing Adult Learning and Education 1

2 Understanding Adult Learning 23

3 Understanding Adult Development 43

4 Learning in the Context of Training 64

5 Planning Educational Programs: Principles, Goals, and Evaluation 86

6 Teaching Adults 107

7 Globalization and Adult Learning 129

8 Aesthetic Dimensions of Learning 145

9 Researching Learning 171

10 Adult Learning in a Diverse World 190

Epilogue 217

References 222

Name Index 241

Subject Index 246


"This is a book that is so interesting that I had trouble putting it down. It is well written; there is new material; it articulates familiar concepts in such novel ways that your thought patterns get hijacked reading it. Adult learning and its processes are examined from a socialist perspective with a focus on social justice."
—Phyllis M. Cunningham, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, Northern Illinois University

"Read this book and rub shoulders with Nelson Mandela, Septima Clark, Antonio Gramsci, Paulo Freire, Jane Thompson, Myles Horton, and a whole horde of inspiring leaders, learners, teachers, trainers, and activists. Engage with remarkable writers you have heard of, and, if you are like me, encounter a number of remarkable writers for the first time. This is a splendid, extraordinary book, which will stir and trouble you. But why am I not surprised? It is a seamlessly collaborative work by two of the best minds in the field—John Holst, the challenging, unremittingly rigorous theorist; and Stephen Brookfield, the inspired and cannily perceptive analyst. This book earns my highest praise: it will make you think."
—Michael Newman, author, Teaching Defiance

"Stephen Brookfield and John Holst have written a monumental text in the field of adult education. It is a bold, ambitious book, beautifully written and uncompromising in its social justice agenda. It is sure to become a classic in the field."
—Peter McLaren, professor, University of California, Los Angeles

"This book offers new readings of the theory, politics, policy, and practice of radical adult education and learning where people's lives are understood as complex and interrelated matters. Brookfield and Holst's poetics and deeply human prose sound rebellious; the authors confront some of the main radical trends in the field of adult education including critical theory, transformative learning, and popular education."
—Shahrzad Mojab, professor, Department of Adult Education and Counseling Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto 

"Radicalizing Learning is an extraordinary book, grounded in the world we have all experienced, but challenging readers to remove their blinders. Brookfield and Holst have redefined the vocation to which adult educators are called and in a brief volume brought integrity and insight to all the salient topics in our field of study."
—Thomas Heaney, associate professor, adult education, and director, Adult Education Doctoral Program, National-Louis University