Details of some of books are given below – especially those you can read for free. There are support pages for a number of these publications. If ‘look inside’ is active on Amazon – you can click on the link to access parts of the book.

Mark K Smith

Youth work and faith: Debates, delights and dilemmas

Cover - Youth work and faithFollowing the recent decline in statutory youth work provision alongside growth in the faith-based sectors, thinking about youth work and faith is crucial, both to those working in faith-based settings and those working with them as partners or funders.

This unique book draws on the debates, delights and dilemmas of the relationship between youth work and faith. It is informed by a range of perspectives, from specific faith traditions as well as cross-cutting issues, and will enhance both practice and study.

In recent years, the balance of youth work provision has markedly shifted so that, at present, more full-time workers are employed in faith settings than secular ones. This book fills a gap in the market for a contemporary youth work text that addresses the underlying tensions within faith-based work and embraces a multi-faith approach. Its editors have worked within faith-based, voluntary and statutory youth work sectors; this balance of experience ensures that the book approaches the debates around youth work and faith in a way that is relevant to the youth work field as a whole.

The chapter authors approach the issues from academic and practitioner perspectives and cover a range of pertinent topics, including: Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth work; talking about sex and sexuality with young people of faith; youth work around death and dying; using spirituality as a youth work tool; and the issue of indoctrination in faith-based provision.

The book opens up the debate between the faith-based and wider (or other?) youth work sectors, recognizing the field in its current form and the issues and opportunities we face as we approach a new era in youth work policy and practice.

Edited by Mark K. Smith, Naomi Stanton and Tom Wylie
Published by Russell House. Paperback. 176 pages. 978-1-905541-86-7. 2015. £14.95. Available from Amazon

Learning through outdoor experience. A guide for youth groups and schools

cover - learning through outdoor experience

Learning through outdoor experience has been written by a team of people involved in outdoor learning and experience. They are part of a network of workers and agencies linked to the Rank Foundation (yarn) in the UK. As well as drawing on their own experience and expertise they were also helped by responses and contributions by more than 50 other people in the network.

Edited by Alan Rogers and Mark K Smith. Published 2012. Available as a pdf, and for mobiles and Kindles (prc).

The art of helping others: Being around, being there, being wise

Cover: The art of helping othersWhen people search for someone to help them reflect upon and improve their lives, they tend to be drawn towards those who are compassionate, committed and wise. This book explores the helping processes involved and draws upon the experiences and practice wisdom of helpers such as youth workers, housing support workers, the clergy and those working in a religious setting, and education.

Written by Heather Smith and Mark K. Smith. Look inside the book at Amazon.

Informal education. Conversation, democracy and learning

This book explored how informal educators encourage conversation, democracy and learning. It also examines evaluation, working with process, living with values and planning.

Written by Tony Jeffs and Mark K Smith. First published 1996; 2nd edition 1999; 3rd edition 2005. Published by Educational Heretics.

New edition March 2017

Journeying together: growing youth work and youth workers in local communities

Cover: Journeying togetherThe book explores a way of working – pioneered and developed over 22 years by the Rank Foundation’s Youth or Adult? initiative. Youth or Adult? has ‘grown’ youth work by supporting individuals to train professionally, while working in community-based organizations. Through this investment in people, the work is having a lasting impact within communities. Grounded in workers’ personal experiences, as well as in relevant theory, Journeying together explores the experiences of community-based organizations, volunteers, part-time and full-time workers, and provides questions for both non-specialists and experts to consider.

Edited by Alan Rogers and Mark K Smith. First published 2010. .

Local Education. Community, conversation, praxis

Cover: Local educationDrawing upon the experiences of adult and community educators, youth and community workers, Mark K. Smith examine the practice of educators who build up ways of working with local networks and cultures. Shops, launderettes, streets, bars, cafes and people’s houses are the settings for much of their work, and when they do appear in schools and colleges, they are most likely to be found in corridors, eating areas and student common-rooms. Their work is not organized by subject, syllabi or lessons; it is about conversation and community, a commitment to local democracy and self-organization, and is often unpredictable and risky.

Written by Mark K Smith. Published by Open University Press 1994. A paper on the research methodology is available on Look inside the book at Amazon.

Read for free books

It is possible to download and view online a number of older books for free (with some Kindle versions to come).

Creators not consumers: rediscovering social education

Two main themes run through Creators not Consumers. First, there is a concern to encourage young people to get involved in organizing things for themselves. This flows from a belief in the benefits of associational life both for the happiness and self confidence of individuals, and for the strengthening of community life. Second, there is an invitation to workers to embrace and explore their educational role. These two themes help to explain the sub-title – rediscovering social education. Written by Mark K Smith. Read the second edition from 1982. Originally published by NAYC Publications (now Youth Clubs UK). First published August 1980. Reprinted October 1980. Second Edition January 1982.

Developing youth work: informal education, mutual aid and popular practice

Developing Youth Work (1988) was an attempt to construct a coherent and distinctive understanding of youth work. It looked to informal education and association (mutual aid) as the core of the work, and argued that despite appearances, the youth service was starting a process of terminal decline in England and Wales. Written by Mark K Smith. Read the book. Originally published by the Open University Press. First published 1988.

Using informal education: An alternative to casework, teaching and control?

In the late 1980s there was a growing interest in the use of informal education in welfare and schooling. Using Informal Education was the first major exploration. Edited by Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith. Read the book. Originally published by the Open University Press. First published 1990.

Born and Bred? Leadership, heart and informal education

Leadership, for us, is not about influencing groups and communities to follow a particular person’s vision, but rather working so that people may come together, flourish and build better lives.

Born and Bred? explores some key themes for educators about leadership. These include:The idea that leaders are people with special qualities.

  • The experience of leadership as a shared process.
  • The place of heart in the work.
  • The centrality of service, association and well-being.
  • The relationship between animation, formation and education.
  • The special role informal educators can play in developing environments where people can take responsibility and have a concern for each other.

Written by Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith. Published 1999 by the Rank Foundation/YMCA George Williams College.

Acknowledgement: Writing? Yeah. Picture by Caleb Roenigk. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons  Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.