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THE POPULAR EDUCATION NEWS

NO. 4 APRIL 2003

A monthly newsletter about the Popular Education/Community Organizing Resources Collection in the Penny Lernoux Memorial Library at the Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406. It is a collection of practical materials for facilitators and practitioners to improve the educational work in our movements for democratic social change. The three main parts of the collection are 1) Materials in English, 2) Materials in Spanish, 3) Books by Paulo Freire with some titles also in Spanish. An annotated bibliography with links to where to purchase materials is at www.americas.org (follow popular education link).

This newsletter is produced by the Popular Education Resource Collection Member Circle of the Resource Center of the Americas. Betsy Barnum and Larry Olds worked on this issue. You can contribute to future issues by sending suggestions, notices of materials you know about and short reviews to lolds@mtn.org. Please help improve this newsletter.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

· EXTRA A SUPPLEMENT TO LAST MONTH - Teaching for Change: Popular Education and the Labor Movement

· REVIEW OF THE MONTH - The Nature of Transformation

· A POPULAR EDUCATION TOOL FOR THE MONTH A Tree of Knowledge

· POPULAR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESOURCES

· LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES

· "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

EXTRA A SUPPLEMENT TO LAST MONTH

Last month’s Review of the Month described a new labor popular educator manual, Education for Changing Unions. This review supplement covers a newly published book that will be a good companion to it. Teaching for Change Popular Education and the Labor Movement is the first book to capture the stories and experiences of popular educators in the U.S. labor movement. From the Highlander Center in Tennessee to the Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles, from the National Labor College in Maryland to the Avondale Shipyard workers of Louisiana, popular education has played a critical role in organizing workers, developing new leaders, and strengthening labor and community alliances. While drawing from the rich history of popular education nationally and internationally, popular educators today are forging a new path based on the changing needs and conditions of workers and unions.

The book features essays by Susan J. Schurman, National Labor College; Elaine Bernard, Harvard Trade Union Program; Jose La Luz, AFSCME; Susan Williams, Highlander Center; Susan Washington, AFL-CIO; John Hurst, UC Berkeley; Barb Thomas and D'Arcy Martin, Canadian popular educators, and others. (For order information contact jamonroe@ucla.edu.)

REVIEW OF THE MONTH

The Nature of Transformation Environmental, Adult and Popular Education, Second Edition by Darlene E. Clover, Shirley Follen, and Budd Hall, 2000.

The Nature of Transformation is the best single resource in our popular education/community organizing collection for the popular environmental educator, and would be an excellent resource for any popular educator. Its primary strength is in the rich repertoire of ideas for organizing workshops within an ecological context-- workshops that stimulate critical and creative thinking, that use both people in the community and the rest of nature as teachers and sites of learning, that weave environmental and social issues, and that examine local and global issues. According to Julia Robinson, Peace and Environment News, March 1999, "One of the book’s strengths is the ability to integrate the social, political, cultural, economic and ecological elements...This is an excellent book for people who are beginning to explore alternative education approaches."

This book links the principles of adult learning with a social vision, an analysis of power, and the importance of passion and emotions to give guidance in designing workshops that are truly participatory. It draws on experiences from a wide range of workshops facilitated by the authors across Canada, in the United States and abroad, and contains activities from workshops facilitated by others in Australia, Philippines, Fiji, and Hong Kong.

Another strength of the book is its theoretical discussions. It provides information on principles and theories of feminist, popular, environmental and indigenous education as well as an in-depth discussion of adult education in terms of its streams of self-growth and social transformation. It also presents new ideas and principles of the theory and practice of environmental adult education.

- Reviews by Larry Olds

 

A POPULAR EDUCATION TOOL FOR THE MONTH: THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE

The first activity of a week-long workshop on Mural-Making and Popular Environmental Adult Education in Kampala, Uganda, in 2000 was the creation of the Tree of Knowledge. The creation began with the roots. Participants were asked cut roots for the tree from the orange construction paper that we provided. (The colors of the paper were simply determined by the supplies we happened to have on hand.) Participants were asked specifically to "cut roots for the tree from the orange paper and write a word of two identifying things that you learned from your family that are valuable to you in your life and work today." Participants taped the roots at the bottom of the large easel paper that had been prepared on the wall, gathering to briefly share what each participant had placed before going on to the next step.

"Knowledge from formal schooling valuable in your life and work today" was the bark of the tree. We chose purple paper. The third step was the blue branches, things learned "from the rest of nature"; and the fourth, the green leaves "things you learned from self-directed or non-formal learning." The final two steps for the opening activity were to add pink buds of expectations "a word or two identifying what skill and knowledge you would like to take away from the workshop" and finally, golden nurturing raindrops of "knowledge or skills you can share with the other participants during the workshop." The final step of creating the tree would come at the end of the workshop when participants would return to add the multi-colored fruits of the workshop "knowledge gained from the workshop." We would end the workshop by ritually harvesting those fruits, reading out the words describing what was learned, placing the fruits in baskets, and taking them to the ceremonial dedication of the mural.

The result of the first six steps was astounding visually as well as rich in content. We didn’t foresee that the tree would be a wonderful collectively made piece of art whose presence on the wall would give us pleasure to see and would enrich our environment throughout the week’s workshop activities.

(A description of the Tree of Knowledge/Tree of Learning educational activity can be found on page 38 in The Nature of Transformation reviewed above. To receive a jpeg image of the tree described above send an email request to lolds@mtn.org.)

POPULAR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESOURCES

Adult Environmental Education A Workbook to Move from Words to Action by Anne Camozzi. International Council for Adult Education, 1994, p.150.

Northwest Earth Institute Discussion Courses (four study circle guides with the following titles Deep Ecology, 1998; Choices for Sustainable Living, 1999; Discovering a Sense of Place, 2000; and Voluntary Simplicity, 2000.

Training For Transformation A Handbook for Community Workers, Book 4 Chapter One The Environment by Anne Hope and Sally Timmel. International Technology Development Group, 1999, pp. 2 69.

LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES (*those with online bookstores)

*Catalyst Centre (www.catalystcentre.ca/index.htm )

*Highlander Center (www.highlandercenter.org )

*Institute for Peoples Education and Action (www.peopleseducation.org/ )

*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )

Project South (www.projectsouth.org )

North American Alliance for Popular and Adult Education (www.naapae.org )

Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (www-gse.berkeley.edu/research/pepr/ )

Popular Education Links Directory (www.flora.org/mike/links/poped.html)

"WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

The principles and philosophy of popular education are often associated with the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, but the practice of popular education predates Freire. The historical roots of popular education can be found in several areas of the world, including the folk school movement in Scandinavia and the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee.

While there is no single definition of popular education, CPEPR characterizes popular education according to three central themes. First, popular education is community education, aimed at empowering communities through cooperative study and action. Secondly, popular education is political education, with the goal of collective social change toward a more equitable and democratic society. Finally, popular education is people’s education, traditionally aimed at those communities who are excluded or marginalized by dominant society.

…From the Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research website

http//www-gse.berkeley.edu/research/pepr/definitions.html

 

He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. - Confucious