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The Popular Education and Community Organizing Collection Annotated Bibliography

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Last Update: 09-Oct-2005 10:27:05 am


New Weave, A: popular education in canada and central america


Ric Arnold, Deborah Barndt, and Bev Burke


CUSO Development Education and OISE, Adult Education Dept, Toronto







out of print





The thread in this publication is the use of popular education for social change. In A New Weave the authors explore the link between education and organizing, the links between educators working' in different sectors and for various issues, but toward a similar vision of a more just society. The two starting points for this book are Canada and Central America, two regions that share common threads. Both Canada and Central America share an historical pattern of dependence with the United States, the dominant power between our borders. The three authors participated in a 10-day workshop in Mexico that brought together 40 popular educators from Mexico and Central America. It was the annual gathering of Alforja, a network of popular education centers that for five years has coordinated the development of this work in the region. There is a special pattern to the design of this booklet, and it reflects the three sections and objectives of the publication: The first section, The Fabric of our Lives, examines the historical development of popular education in both Canada and Central America. The two contexts are compared for similarities and differences. We are introduced to the work of the Alforja network of popular education centers. The bulk of the book is the second section: Some New Design which invites us to examine in more detail just how popular education can be that creative thread - contributing to the new weave. We have selected four new ideas or designs from the Central American experience and tried to adapt them for use in Canada. A learning loom which provides a framework for designing educational events which will respond to the needs of participants, help them think more critically, and prepare them more strategically for action. Two new ways of doing social analysis: one through intersectoral monthly meetings, the other using the Social Tree, an analytical tool for identifying economic, political, and ideological aspects of any social structure or change process. Next is a method for developing creative program designs within workshops that can be used outside in our organizational and community work. And finally the section of the book ends with new ways of doing old tasks, showing how we can constantly create variations on a design or technique to make our educational work more engaging and effective. In the smaller, final section, Making Connections, we refocus on our own task as educators in Canada. We want the examination of the Central American experience and the reflection on our own work to mobilize us to action. The Alforia network is one model of how popular educators can unite, share analyses, exchange methodologies, develop a clearer theory, and coordinate strategic work. But the critical question is how can we develop our own forms of ongoing exchange, a network that fits our social con-text and furthers our work. It is for us to create those forms, and this booklet aims to encourage the process. The book concludes with a bibliography and an appendix which provides further information about the kinds of activities organized by the member centers of the Alforja network.




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