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The Popular Education and Community Organizing Collection Annotated Bibliography

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Last Update: 09-Oct-2005 10:27:01 am


AH-HAH! A New Approach to Popular Education




Between the Lines










This small book looks at a popular education seminar developed by the Canadian organization GATT-Fly. The authors define "Ah-Hah" as the moment when a person understands clearly for the first time something they knew before in a partial or confused way. Used in over one hundred situations since the mid-1970's, the Ah-Hah! seminar's focus is to allow participants to piece together their individual experiences in a way that clarifies their understanding of political and economic systems. The basis of the seminar is that people possess the knowledge through their own experiences to analyze their situation and make links to the bigger picture. The book outlines the seminar process which is based on drawing a picture of the group's experiences as a starting point for creating dialogue, analysis, and action strategies. It provides both logistic information as well as suggestions for facilitation/recording. The seminar outline is valuable to popular educators partly because the design is fairly simple. The only materials needed are a large sheet of paper and colored markers. The authors clearly stress that their educational approach is liberatory and participatory. With this in mind, they summarize several different examples of using this technique to show the various settings the Ah-Hah! seminar can be used and because they would rather "tell the story" behind the seminar than present a rigid method. The three examples they use involve Latin American Immigrant Workers, Steelworkers, and a Native Indian Tribal Council (all examples are groups living in Canada). The authors stress that the seminar is designed for an already established group that has a material interest in changing the present economic system, and has not been effective for middle-class or upper-class people, students, or educators.




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