The Radical Education Workbook, Part 5: Reading List

Arts Everywhere is pleased to republish the Radical Education Workbook (The other parts in this publication are available at the links: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). This final section includes a list for further reading and research on radical education. The PDF with the entire Radical Education Workbook as it originally appeared, is available here.

Reading List

Smith, M. (1983)
The Libertarians and Education

A general overview of anarchists and education. Smith makes the distinction in his book between the liberal/progressive educators and the libertarian/anarchist ones.

Fielding, M and Moss, P. (2011)
Radical Education and the Common School

Fielding and Moss contest the current mainstream dominated by markets and competition, standardisation, etc. They argue for democratic radical education to be practiced in human scale common schools and explore how this democratic common school might come about.

Ward, C. (1995)
Talking Schools

A collection of Ward’s lectures. The first being a brief overview of anarchists and schools. Other topics include schooling and the city child and a discussion of how to use the environment in teaching.

Gatto, J. T. (2009)
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

Gatto reveals the real function of pedagogy is to render the common population manageable. Escaping this trap requires a different way of growing up, one Gatto calls ‘open source learning’.

Tolstoy, L. (trans. Wiener, L.) (1968)
On Education

Tolstoy is described in the introduction of this book as a precursor to A.S. Neill, who later came to similar conclusions about education. The latter part of this book is Tolstoy’s account of Yasnaya Polyana: the school that he established for peasants’ children in nineteenth century Russia.

Boggs, G.L. (2011)
‘A Paradigm Shift in Our Concept of Education’ in The next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-first Century. Ed. Scott Kurashige

Boggs underscores our need for a collective re-imagining of education. She advocates for a type of ongoing education that prepares us to live in a sustainable, community centred and environmentally wealthy world.

Dewey, J. (1956)
The Child and the Curriculum, and The School and Society.

These two influential books represent the earliest authoritative statement of Dewey’s revolutionary emphasis on education as an experimental, child-centered process. He declares that we must make schools an embryonic community life and stresses the importance of the curriculum as a means of determining the environment of the child.

Ed. Nesbit, T (2005)
‘Learning, Literacy, and Identity’ in Class Concerns: Adult Education and Social Class

This book contains articles by progressive adult educators which explore how class, gender and race affect different aspects of adult education practice and discourse. It highlights the links between adult education, the material and social conditions of daily and working lives, and the economic and political systems that underpin them.

Beckmann, A. & Cooper, C. (2004)
‘Globalisation’, the New Managerialism and Education: Rethinking the Purpose of Education in Britain, in The Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies Vol 2 No. 2

‘Globalisation’ arguably represents the imposition of neoliberal ideology on a transnational scale, a consequence of which has been ‘liberalisation’ and the rise of the ‘new managerialism’ in British welfare. This article focuses on the particular implications of these changes on the British education system.

Shor, I. (ed.) (1987)
Freire for the Classroom: A Sourcebook for Liberatory Teaching

A collection of articles by teachers who have used Freirean-inspired pedagogy in their classroom. A valuable practical guide to adapting Freire’s ideas for use outside of their original context. Topics covered include teacher education, ESOL teaching and using Freire’s ideas in mathematics teaching.

London-Edinburgh Weekend Return Group (1979)
In and Against the State

A1979 pamphlet (later a book) written by the ‘London Edinburgh Weekend Return Group’, a group of socialist public sector workers who sought to understand how they could overcome the contradiction of being full-time state workers and part-time revolutionaries. Seeking to move beyond being public service workers working within the traditional state/individual client relationship by day and organising to ‘smash the state’ by night, they explore ways that as ‘employees’ and ‘clients’ we can collectivise rather than prevent dissent. Socialist teachers are one of the case studies which appear in the first chapter. The text is available electronically at

Wright, N. (1989)
Free School: The White Lion Experience

A pamphlet describing and critically assessing White Lion Street Free School, a free school of the kind before the term was appropriated by Cameron and Gove, written by one of the teachers. The Islington school, which operated from 1972-1990, was funded by the Inner London Education Authority for some of this period, and was the only state-funded free school in England.

Ward, C. and Fryson, A.
Streetwork: The Exploding School

The result of Ward and Fryson’s research for the UK’s Town and Country Planning Association’s Education Service on the environmental education of the non-academic urban child. As Ward writes in the introduction, it is “a book about ideas: ideas of the environment as the educational resource, ideas of the enquiring school, the school without walls…”

Benn, M.
‘On Dreams and Dilemmas, Class and Cities: Some Thoughts on the Modern Politics of Comprehensives’, in A Tribute to Caroline Benn: Education and Democracy. Ed. M. Benn

Tackles the question of why there was never a truly comprehensive education system in the UK. A useful background to current struggles against academies. Part of a collection of essays published in memory of Caroline Benn, the co-founder of the Campaign for Comprehensive Education.

Freire, P. (1970)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed

This book is considered one of the foundational texts of critical pedagogy. Dedicated to what is called “the oppressed” and based on his own experience helping Brazilian adults to read and write, Freire includes a detailed Marxist class analysis in his exploration of the relationship between what he calls ‘the colonizer and the colonized’.

In the book Freire refers to traditional pedagogy as ‘the banking model’ because it treats the student as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, like a piggy bank. However, he argues for pedagogy to treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge.

Neill, A.S. (1962)

Summerhill presents radical educational theorist A. S. Neill, looking back in 1971 on fifty years of running his pioneering self-governing free school in Suffolk, in a narrative that details the progressive school’s struggles. As an octogenarian, Neill (1884–1973) recalls his advocacy of a then new psychological approach that pointed to emotions, not intellect, as the primary forces shaping a child’s growth. At Summerhill, now run by Neill’s daughter, Zoe Readhead, “kids grow up in their own way and at their own speed” in a self-governing, sympathetic environment. Generous in acknowledging his debt to others, including his mentor, psychologist Wilhelm Reich, Neill here freshly details his belief in children’s ability to be self-regulating.

Alexander, T, and Potter, J. (2004)
Education for A Change

This book starts from the premise that our present education system is ill equipped to serve students and society in the twenty-first century. With contributions from a range of leading commentators including Tim Brighouse, Jonathan Poritt, Anita Roddick, Charles Handy and Jonathan Sacks, this is a must-read for school leaders, teachers, policymakers, parents and all education professionals.

Pykett, J. (2007)
‘Making Citizens Governable: The Crick report as governmental technology’, Journal of Education Policy 22:3

This paper considers the recent introduction of Citizenship Education in England from a governmental perspective, drawing on the later work of Foucault to offer a detailed account of the political rationalities, technologies and subjectivities implicated in contemporary education policy in the formation and governance of citizen¹ subjects.

Vasquez, A. & Oury, P. (1969)
‘The Educational Techniques of Freinet’, Prospects in Education 1

Freinet is an educational concept that was devised by French educationalist Celestin Freinet (1896-1966). He felt that students learned better by directly experiencing ideas within a context and with a set purpose. This text outlines his methodology, drawing on collaboration, assertiveness and the creation of publications and journals by students.

hooks, b. (1994)
Teaching to Transgress

Influenced by Freire, Hooks writes about Education as the Practice of Freedom. Teaching students to “transgress” against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for Hooks, the teacher’s most important goal.

Boal, A. (1992)
Games for Actors and Non-Actors

Games for Actors and Non-Actors is the classic and best selling book by the founder of Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal. It sets out the principles and practice of Boal’s revolutionary Method, showing how theatre can be used to transform and liberate everyone – actors and non-actors alike.

Incite! Women of Color Against Violence
The Revolution Will Not be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

A massive and largely unregulated industry, the US nonprofit sector is the world’s seventh largest economy. From art museums and university hospitals to think tanks and church charities, over 1.5 million organizations of staggering diversity share the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) designation, if little else. Many social justice organizations have joined this world, often blunting political goals to satisfy government and foundation mandates. But even as funding shrinks and government surveillance rises, many activists often find it difficult to imagine movement-building outside the nonprofit model. Urgent and visionary, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded is an unbeholden exposé of the “nonprofit industrial complex” and its quietly devastating role in managing dissent.

Ranciere, J. (1995)
The Ignorant Schoolmaster

A book based on the experiences of Joseph Jacotot. Having elaborated a method to teach students who could not speak his language, Jacotot in 1818 announced that all people are equally intelligent. From this postulate, Jacotot devised a philosophy and a method for what he called ‘intellectual emancipation’ – a method that would allow, for instance, illiterate parents to themselves teach their children how to read. The greater part of the book is devoted to a description and analysis of Jacotot’s method, its premises, and its implications for understanding both the learning process and the emancipation that results when that most subtle of hierarchies, intelligence, is overturned.

Auerbach, E. (1997)
Making Meaning, Making Change

Rather than presenting adult language students with synthetic materials developed outside the classroom, Auerbach advocates that teachers combine “conscious listening,” namely a sympathetic awareness of what students’ real concerns are, with “catalyst” activities, i.e. language activities that get students to open up and express their real thoughts and feelings. Making Meaning contains an impressive inventory of such activities, which can include what are often called “icebreakers” to get students talking, class newspapers, picture albums, class rituals, or student-produced graphics.

Freire, P. and Shor, I. (1986)
A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education

Two world renowned educators, Paulo Freire and Ira Shor, speak passionately about the role of education in various cultural and political arenas. They demonstrate the effectiveness of dialogue in action as a practical means by which teachers and students can become active participants in the learning process. Shor and Freire describe their own experiences in liberating the classroom from its traditional constraints. They demonstrate how vital the teacher’s role is in empowering students to think critically about themselves and their relation, not only to the classroom, but to society.

Freire, P. and Macedo, D.
Literacy: Reading the Word and the World

Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo invite us to re-examine the literacy crisis. They see literacy not merely as a technical skill to be acquired but as a form of cultural politics. Literacy is viewed as a set of practices that either empowers or disempowers people, and is analysed according to whether it serves to reproduce existing social formations or serves as a set of cultural practices promoting democratic change.

Freeman, J. and Levine, C. (1994)
Untying the Knot: Feminism, Anarchism and Organisation

This text investigates the relationship between feminism and anarchist principles of organisation.

Waugh, C. (2009)
Plebs: The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education

Hammond, J.L. (1998)
Fight to Learn: Popular Education and Guerilla War in El Salvador

Popular education played a vital role in the twelve-year guerrilla war against the Salvadoran government. This book is a study of the period’s pedagogy and politics. Hammond interviewed more than 100 Salvadoran students and teachers for this book, recounting their experiences in their own words, and vividly conveying how they coped with the hardships of war to educate civilian communities. Fighting to Learn tells how poorly educated peasants overcame their sense of inferiority to discover that they could teach each other and work together in a common struggle.

Beattie, N. (2002)
The Freinet Movements of France, Italy, Germany and Spain 1920–2000 

‘In an age where there is increasingly explicit concern with citizenship and values, as well as literacy and numeracy, and at a time when lifelong learning is high on the political agenda, this book offers a powerful new vision of the educational enterprise. The book is a tour de force. It breaks new historical ground in documenting almost for the first time, the life and work of one of the greatest educational thinkers. It also provides a powerful new vision for education in the twenty-first century.’ – Comparative Education, Vol. 39, No. 3, August 2003

[wp_biographia user=”RadicalEducationForum” type=”excerpt”]

Filed Under: Articles & Essays


Ultra-red are a sound-based art and political collective founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists. Originally based in Los Angeles, the collective has expanded over the years with members across North America and Europe.


The Radical Education Forum is a group of people working in a wide range of educational settings in the UK. We meet monthly to discuss radical pedagogical theories and techniques, and contemporary issues of interest to those involved or interested in education.

Signup for the ArtsEverywhere newsletter

icon-angle icon-bars icon-times