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The Palgrave International Handbook of Alternative Education

Editors: Lees, Helen E., Noddings, Nel (Eds.)

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  • Explores how education needs to be re-invented and be child-centred 
    Profiles numerous global empirical examples of innovative, democratic and autonomous education 
    Offers theoretical perspectives on education through an alternative lens

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  • ISBN 978-1-137-41291-1
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About this book

This state-of-the-art, comprehensive Handbook fully explores the field of alternative education on an international scale. Alternatives to mainstream schooling and education are becoming increasingly recognised as pertinent and urgent for better understanding what really works in successfully educating children and adults today, especially in light of the increased performance driven and managerially organised economic modelling of education that dominates. For too long we have wondered what “exactly” education done otherwise might look like and here we meet individual examples as well as seeing what alternative education is when a collection becomes greater than the sum of parts. The Handbook profiles numerous empirical examples from around the world of education being done in innovative and excitingly democratic and autonomous ways from Forest Schools and Home Education through to new technologies, neuroscience and the importance of solitude. The book also sets out important theoretical perspectives to inform us why seeing education through an alternative lens is useful as well as urgently needed. 

Global in its perspective and definitive in content, this one-stop volume will be an indispensable reference resource for a wide range of academics, students and researchers in the fields of Education, Education Policy, Sociology and Philosophy as well as educational practitioners. 

About the authors

Helen E Lees is Lecturer in Education Studies at Newman University, UK and founding Editor-in-Chief of Other Education – The Journal of Educational Alternatives. Her latest monograph is Education Without Schools - Discovering Alternatives (Policy Press, 2014). 

Nel Noddings is Jacks Professor Emeriti of Child Education at Stanford University, USA. She is a highly published, globally renowned philosopher of feminism, education and care.


“An ‘International Handbook of Alternative Education’ is indeed timely, given the intensifying critiques of global education systems. ... for a broader range of professionals and adults concerned with the mental, physical, moral and spiritual welfare of young people.” (David Leat, Other Education - The Journal of Educational Alternatives Volume, Vol. 7 (1), 2018)

“The Palgrave International Handbook of Alternative Education is a much friendlier and accessible text … . I think the real strength of this book is its diversity of research, writing styles and countries covered … . I think this book fills a much needed gap in the market of diverse and rigorous academic and practitioner research into alternative education and I would recommend it to students, academics and parents interested in learning more about educating differently.” (Alys Mendus, Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, Vol. 10 (21), 2017)

“The Handbook convinces that the value of alternative education lies not just in the benefits it may provide to particular groups of learners who are engaging with it at any point in time. Rather, its ultimate value is in the challenge it can provide, to disrupt existing ways of thinking, doing and acting. For this reason, it is an essential read for all educators.” (Nicola Kemp, British Journal of Educational Studies, September, 2017)

“Amazing in its scale and scope, this collection is a glorious demonstration of the multitude of 'alternatives' which have been stimulated in recent decades by the global ubiquity of performance-driven national education systems. Whilst such creative opposition risks tangled incoherence, the collection is tamed and given progression by its three part structure of 'Thinking', 'Doing' and 'Acting' differently. And thus the book stands as a multi-faceted clarion call - to bravely, boldly, think outside the box.” (Professor Andrew Pollard, Institute of Education, University College London, UK)

Table of contents (30 chapters)

Table of contents (30 chapters)
  • Introduction & This Handbook

    Pages 1-13

    Noddings, Nel (et al.)

  • The Mind of the Educator

    Pages 17-30

    Meyer, Kris

  • An Ordinary Day

    Pages 31-48

    Klaus, Philipp

  • Mother Nature’s Pedagogy: How Children Educate Themselves

    Pages 49-62

    Gray, Peter

  • Using the Future in Education: Creating Space for Openness, Hope and Novelty

    Pages 63-78

    Facer, Keri

Buy this book

eBook n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-137-41291-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-137-41290-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Palgrave International Handbook of Alternative Education
  • Helen E. Lees
  • Nel Noddings
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
XIX, 505
Number of Illustrations
13 b/w illustrations, 6 illustrations in colour