For over forty years M. L. J. Abercrombie contributed through her teaching, research, lecturing and writing, to the theory and practice of education. In particular, she carried out pioneer research into the use of groups in learning with medical, architectural and education students, and she shared with diverse audiences in many countries her extensive knowledge and expertise as a teacher who used the methods and principles of group analytic psychotherapy. Her best known publication, "The Anatomy of Judgement" was reissued in 1989 (Free Association Books). Many of her other writings are now out of print or are difficult to locate, particularly because she was a prolific writer whose work is scattered through a host of journals, conference proceedings and books. This book brings together an edited selection from the educational writings of Jane Abercrombie. The extracts are arranged in four parts. The first gives an overview of her educational convictions, of the development of her research and thinking from her early years as a zoology teacher and of her growing involvement in group analysis and its application in education.
The second illustrates the way in which, throughout her work, three themes - the selective and projective nature of perception and reasoning; the difficulty that human beings experience in changing; the subtlety and complexity of communication - continually interact with and enrich one another. The third part focuses in greater detail upon group analysis, its relevance to and use in higher education. The fourth gives detailed examples of "free" or "associative" group discussion as she used it in her own work with students. "The Human Nature of Learning" should be of interest to teachers in higher education; to group conductors; and to students and teachers in all occupations in which the ability to communicate sensitively and productively with others is of central importance.