Stephen Brookfield

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Constructivism, Transformative Leaning, Critical Reflection, Critical Theory.

1949 to Present. Born in Liverpool, England.

Teaching Positions:
University of St. Thomas- Minneapolis, MN
Professor of Higher and Adult Education at Columbia University
Harvard University

Brookfield states that critical reflection is the unearthing and researching of the assumptions that all members of society operate under as part of our daily lives.

Criticallity draws on a number of intellectual traditions:
  • Analytical Philosophy
  • Constructivism
  • Pragmatism
  • Psychoanalysis

To be critical is to be skilled at argument analysis, to distinguish bias from fact, opinion from evidence, identify logical fallacies, etc.
Regardless of their value, these skills only focus in on specifically cognitive processes.

However, Critical Theory introduces the political and social criticisms that challenge and contend with dominant culture and identity.
Ideologies that are examined are:
  • Economic, Racial, and Gender inequality
  • Alienation, and the Mechanisms of Surveillance
  • Identity Development, and Conformity
  • One Dimensional Thinking, and Preserving the Status Quo.

Major Writings:
  • Adult Learners, Adult Education and the Community, 1984.
  • Self-Directed Learning: from Theory to Practice, 1985.
  • Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning, 1986.
  • Developing Critical Thinkers, 1987.
  • Training Educators of Adults, 1988.
  • Learning Democracy, 1988.
  • The Skillful Teacher, 1990.
  • Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, 1995.
  • Discussion as a Way of Teaching (with Stephen Preskill), 2. edition, 2005.
  • The Power of Critical Theory, 2005.
  • Leading as a Way of Learning (with Stephen Preskill), 2009.
  • Radicalizing Learning: Adult Education for a Just World (with John Holst), 2010