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Last Update: 09-Oct-2005 10:27:02 am


Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook: A Resource for Adult Educators


Edited by Andy Nash


New England Literacy Resource Center











The primary purposes of this sourcebook is to provide resources for people preparing for participation in democracy. It is a rich action guide of activities that lead people to direct forms of civic participation, advocacy and organizing. It presents a range of tools that can help readers examine their own beliefs about community, citizenship, and democracy; identify and analyse issues that concern them; and build strategies and skills to take informed action. The intent of the sourcebook is to develop greater capacity for community participation and informed action. These are both grounded in critical inquiry about specific issues and their social and historical contexts, our own priorities, and our options for making change. The sourcebook supports this inquiry by providing two kinds of tools. One is a collection of narrative accounts (written mostly by teachers) of past community education and action projects - predecessors we can learn from. The other is an array of "prep and practice" activities that focus on skill- and confidence-building, particularly in the areas of reflection, analysis, research, and communication. Very few of these pieces were written specifically for the sourcebook. Most were gathered from past issues of The Change Agent (a publication of the NLLRC), or excerpted from other curricula and project documents. Because this is mostly a compilation of what already exists and what we know about, there are bound to be gaps and imbalances in what is represented. The pieces also vary in focus, level of detail, and intended audience. They need to be approached as models that can be adapted for particular teaching contexts. We hope you will see this variety as a strength, as it introduces you to a wide range of related resources that can be used to dig more deeply into each specialty area. It also introduces you to teachers and students whose experiences, we hope, guide and encourage you in your own work. The text is organized into five sections. The first section addresses, head on, the challenge of integrating any kind of civic participation with the adult education curriculum. The remaining four sections focus on the more successful aspects of projects carried out in diverse settings. Along with acknowledging the barriers that make such projects difficult, we wanted to highlight the real possibilities that exist, and the strategies educators have used to bring civic participation into the adult education context. Within the sections, each narrative is accompanied by prep and practice activities that build some of the essential skills and knowledge needed to take similar action. Some skills - listening, for example - are key to every story although the activities only appear in one place. In fact, most of these skills are transferable from one form of civic participation to another, and beyond. What brings these prep and practice activities to life are the stories of lived experience that we hope will motivate others to their own creative action. Enjoy and share the stories.




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