Posted: October 17th, 2013
A globally much-admired intellectual, Stephen David Brookfield has coined a name for himself in the adult education world. Being a scholar of reputable work, he has held many positions in different parts of the world and he is now a distinguished lecturer at the University of St. Thomas that is located in Minneapolis, United States. Stephen was born in 1949. He grew up and went to school in Liverpool, England. He got married in 1986 to Kim and they had two children Molly and Colin Brookfield. Most of his higher learning was in the United Kingdom where he was awarded with various degrees.
Stephen did his undergraduate in Bachelor of Arts, at Coventry University in the United Kingdom in 1970. After his degree, he worked as a lecturer in General Studies. He taught at Lewisham and Eltham College of Further Education that is based in the United Kingdom. He taught the classes that related to liberal and general studies. An apprenticeship covered a wide range of vocational courses. As he did his apprenticeship, he did a post-graduate diploma in Modern Social and Cultural Studies Mass Communications, Popular Culture and Social Theory. He graduated in 1971.
Between the years of 1971 and 1972, he became a lecturer at Thames Valley University. He taught courses that mostly dealt with GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ level classes. His understanding of education was a major asset as he was able to empower his students with the necessary knowledge to pass their exams and move on to the next level. He was responsible for the success of many of his students. He showed them the best and the simple ways in which they can read for their exams.
He got a position at east Devon Technical College as a lecturer in the Sociology and Adult Education department in 1972. There he taught a number of sociology classes. He still concentrated on adult education. He taught refresher courses on adult social work. His understanding of adult education made him an asset to the institution. He had a clearer and a better understanding of the best methods in which adults can be taught. During his time at Devon, he was also pursuing masters in Theoretical Sociology in University of Reading. In 1974, he was awarded his Masters of Arts. His thesis was centered on Charles Booth and the study dealing with sociology. Charles Booth is known for sociology and from his articles; Stephen was able to give his own version of how society should view education.
Upon attaining his masters’ degree, Stephen was made the head of faculty of Community, Social and Environmental development in the institution of Malvern Hills College of Adult education. He was responsible for organizing adult education programs that are based in the West Midlands. It covered a wide range of subjects that appealed to the adult education sector. He came up with an elaborate service that educated adults in a way that did not affect any of their day-to-day activities. He came up with a system that catered for anyone that was in the adult education system. He piloted the following projects: education consultative service for grown-ups, a revising skills section, a correspondence tuition service and an enhanced independent knowledge group’s scheme for grown-ups.
During the period he was Head of Department he was doing his post-graduate diploma at the University of Nottingham. The thesis he did was on Adult education as a teaching technique. Since he had vast knowledge in adult including his experience as a teacher for many years he was able to write an in-depth thesis that catered for most of the issues that are associated with the adult education system. In 1980, he got his doctorate degree from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. His thesis was on independent adult learning. He felt that given the right material adults can be able to read on their own.
From 1980 to 1981, the University of British Columbia sought his services as a visiting professor. He was under the partition of directorial, advanced and grown person education. He taught adult education courses to people who were doing their masters and doctorate degrees. He helped in making the distant learning education and community education courses better. After two years in Columbia, Vancouver and Canada, he was appointed a research officer. It was with National Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education in England and Wales. His major responsibilities were scheduling and carrying out research projects. This was in reaction to ministerial needs, and for writing sketches of the ultimate reports. It was also part of his work to write a report about remote learning and grown-up learners for senior authorship.
As Stephen continued with his work, he was offered a sabbatical position at University of Technology in Sydney, Australia in 1982. He was attached to the Institute of Technical and Adult Teacher Education. He still lectured masters and doctorate students pertaining adult education. In addition to that, he carried out workshops in human resource development studies. He was able to talk to a number of community groups and gave presentations on his views about teaching programs aimed at grown-ups.
Columbia University Teachers’ College in New York offered Stephen a position as a professor in the Higher and Adult education. He empowered his students with techniques of qualitative research and critical thinking. This helped them come up with a doctoral dissertation that had a quorum of twenty-five individuals, as well as fifty individuals sourced from various doctoral dissertation boards. He was fortunate enough to serve twice as an interim head of department. In his time at the college, he became a member of wide academic affairs committee that also doubled as a grievance committee.
All the work Stephen did, did not go without being noticed as the University fraternity of New Hampshire awarded him with an honorary degree for his involvement to the comprehension of higher learning and educational practice in 1991. He then took up a job as a distinguished professor in the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis that is located in Minnesota, USA. After accepting this position, he noted that his tenure would be varied on not concentrated on a particular department or course. He continued to assert that his distinction as a lecturer would aid him in his mission of integrating his literary works into the curriculum of the university, thereby raising the profile of the institution. These works would be then diversified into all forms of learning (Brookfield, 1987).
In his life and times, Stephen had many associations that helped him have a clear understanding of how the education system works. He has made great strides in making the adult education be better understood. He took part in many projects that made a difference in the world of education. He not only helped in understanding the education sector but also other courses. He also concentrated on literature and making sure that people had a good understanding of other literal work written.
Through the changes that he has brought into the world, Stephen showed how the seven habits of effective people apply in one’s life. If one applies these habits in education, it would help them achieve the most of what they are taught in school. Stephen saw how important these ideals are and when applied properly they make all the difference in the world. He was proof that when one identifies what they are interested in and apply fully what they learn, they can be able to achieve so much. The reason why Stephen was so successful was that he was passionate of everything he did.
Stephen Brookfield continues to make many strides in the world today. His contributions have proved invaluable to scholars today especially now that people have realized the value of education. Many adults are going back to school to further their education and since they are older, it makes it harder for them to be able to grasp and understand what they have been taught. It is by using Stephen’s techniques that many people have been able to get their masters and doctorate degrees. He was able to show an easier way in which any person with incredible will power can achieve what their heart desires plus many more. He has also been helpful to many teachers who use his teaching styles when teaching (Brookfield, 1995).
Brookfield, S. (1987). Developing critical thinkers: Challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.
Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Covey, S. R., & Franklin Covey (Firm). (1996). the seven habits of highly effective people: [Workbook]. Provo, UT: Franklin Covey.
Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Brookfield, S., & Preskill, S. (2009). Learning as a way of leading: Lessons from the struggle for social justice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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