Stephen Brookfield

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Stephen Brookfield (born 1949 in Liverpool, England) is a scholar in adult education who holds the John Ireland Endowed Chair at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Before that he was a Professor of Higher and Adult Education at Columbia University in New York for ten years. During 2002 he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

In his teaching career, Stephen Brookfield has worked in England, Canada, Australia, and the U.S., teaching in a variety of college settings. He has written seventeen books on adult learning, adult teaching, critical thinking, discussion methods and critical theory as well as critical pedagogy. He won the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education six times (in 1986, 1989, 1996, 2005, 2011 and 2012),[1] as well as the 1986 Imogene Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education, all awarded by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. His work has been translated into several languages including Korean, German, Finnish, Japanese and Chinese. In 2001 he received the Leadership Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) for "extraordinary contributions to the general field of continuing education on a national and international level", and in 2008 he was awarded the Morris T. Keeton Award for Contributions to Adult and Experiential learning, awarded by the Council for Academic and Experiential Learning.

He has three honorary doctor of letters degrees; from the University System of New Hampshire in 1991, from Concordia University, St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota) in 2003, and from Muhlenberg College in 2010. In 2009 he was inducted into the International Adult Education Hall of Fame.


  • Adult Learners, Adult Education and the Community, 1984. ISBN 0-335-10409-6
  • Self-Directed Learning: from Theory to Practice, 1985. ISBN 0-87589-743-6
  • Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning: A Comprehensive Analysis of Principles and Effective Practices, 1986. ISBN 978-1-55542-355-1
  • Developing Critical Thinkers: Challenging Adults to Explore Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting, 1987. ISBN 978-1-55542-055-0
  • Training Educators of Adults: The Theory and Practice of Graduate Adult Education, 1988. ISBN 0-415-00564-7
  • Learning Democracy: Eduard Lindeman on Adult Education and Social Change, 1988. ISBN 0-7099-5017-9
  • The Skillful Teacher: On Trust, Technique and Responsiveness in the Classroom, 2006 (2nd edition). ISBN 978-0-7879-8066-5
  • Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, 1995. ISBN 978-0-7879-0131-8
  • Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms (with Stephen Preskill), 2nd. edition, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7879-4458-2
  • The Power of Critical Theory: Liberating Adult Learning and Teaching, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7879-5601-1
  • Teaching Reflectively in Theological Contexts: Promises and Contradictions, Co-edited with Mary Hess, 2008. ISBN 1-57524-284-2
  • Leading as a Way of Learning: Lessons From the Struggle for Social Justice (with Stephen Preskill), 2009. ISBN 978-0-7879-7807-5
  • Handbook of Race and Adult Education (Co-edited with Vanessa Sheared, Scipio Colin III, Elizabeth Peterson and Juanita Johnson Bailey), 2010. ISBN 978-0-470-38176-2
  • Radicalizing Learning: Adult Education for a Just World (with John Holst), 2010 ISBN 978-0-7879-9825-7
  • Teaching for Critical Thinking: Helping Students Question Their Assumptions, 2011, ISBN 978-0-470-88934-3
  • Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults, 2013. ISBN 978-1-118-01700-5"
  • "Engaging Imagination: Helping Students become Creative and Reflective Teachers" (with Alison James), 2014, ISBN 978-1-118-40947-3


  1. ^ Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education, John Wiley & Sons

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