THE POPULAR EDUCATION NEWS
NO. 2 FEBRUARY 2003
A monthly newsletter about the Popular Education/Community Organizing Resources Collection in the Penny Lernoux Memorial Library at the Resource Center of the America, 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, Larry Olds and Kristi Papenfuss worked on this issue. You can contribute to future issues by sending suggestions, notices of materials you know about and short reviews to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
REVIEW OF THE MONTH
Educating for a Change by Rick Arnold, Bev Burke, Carl James, D’Arcy Martin, and Barb Thomas Toronto Between the Lines Press, 1991.
This is a book for all educators - and anyone else interested in how education works - who agree that the time for fuzzy platitudes and top-down practices is over. If you are working for systems change, you'll find skills and new confidence for challenging the status quo in this book. You will also find tools for transforming power relations and applying the principles of democratic practice to change efforts as well as daily work. Running through the book are three important threads 1) education must empower all people to act for change, 2) education must be based on democratic practice creating the conditions for full and equal participation in discussion, debate and decision-making, and 3) the issue of power is central to any attempt to bring about change.
The book is a facilitator’s and organizer’s manual for improving educational work. Not only is it filled with examples of participatory, democratic activities that could be in the repertoire of all educators and activists, but those activities are embedded in a coherent theoretical framework reflecting the years of popular education work by the authors. Among its strengths are that it is the premier source for the spiral model of popular education and the authors eloquently combine personal reflection and theory with practical exercises for trainers and facilitators.
The content and layout of this book are engaging, informative and helpful in building skills, confidence, and depth for both individuals and groups who are facilitating popular education workshops and doing grassroots community organizing. The activities, thoughts and reflections contained in this book make it an extremely valuable collection of wisdom and futuristic thinking for anyone involved in the popular education movement. Although published more than ten years ago Educating for a Change is still one of the best books available for guiding the popular education practitioner. It is a highly recommended tool for making good work even better and providing inspiration for the continuing renewal of thoughtful facilitation and creative curriculum development in a manner that supports the principles of popular education.
RESOURCE MATERIALS IN SPANISH
We have recently added to our website information on a variety of materials in Spanish that are part of the resource collection. The annotations of the materials are written in Spanish. By bridging the language gap, Spanish speaking individuals and organizations and the English speaking community can work together and have equal access to the wealth of information regarding the use of popular education methods in building a progressive movement and furthering adult education.
A sampling of the Spanish materials in the resource collection include Pedagogía del Oprimido, the Spanish version of Paulo Freire’s classic book Pedagogy of the Oppressed; Pedagogía de la Esperanza, 4a edición, a translation of Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of Hope; La Formación Laboral y Sindical Desde una Perspectiva de Genero, an article recognizing the increase of women in the workforce worldwide and discussing the role of labor and unions from the perspective of gender; Para Cambiar esta Casa La Educación Popular en Tiempos de los Sandinistas, which documents and celebrates how popular education transformed all aspects of life in Nicaragua following Somoza’s overthrow in 1979; and Curriculum Participativo en la Educación de Adultos, a discussion that compares the methodologies of popular education and formal education.
QUOTES FROM FOLKS ABOUT POPULAR EDUCATION
"The process of people’s expression and action through the arts and other elements of culture is people’s cultural action. This process restores control and ownership of the cultural means of production to communities. People’s cultural action insists that the audience be actors as well, that communities use whatever cultural and artistic resources they have to examine their situations, to rehearse ways of changing their realities, to express their true sentiments, to effect individual and collective action." Ramilo quoted in pepe pilar, Vol. 6, Nos. 3-4, p. 1.
"As a first step, we could contact those adult educators around us who are also working for social change, and begin regular sessions like these, to reflect on what we are doing and why.
We could encourage ongoing training opportunities for people doing education work within our sector (labour, women, etc.) who haven’t thought about themselves as popular educators.
And funding opportunities don’t have to stand in the way if we start locally. We can learn from the experiences of popular educators in other sectors and put some collective thought into how education relates to the organizing efforts of the grassroots movements we support.
One way to reduce our isolation from other popular educators would be to record some of our local discussions and send them out to other groups of educators in the form of a newsletter or case studies.
Or we could put together a book that reflects on our experiences with popular education here in Canada!
As our group strengthens, and we can find out about other initiatives, we might help set up a structured network which could focus on regional popular education efforts.
We would also be in a position to decide what national connections might benefit our regional and local work. We might want to invite educators from other regions to a yearly methodological school as an opportunity to learn from their experiences."
- Quoted in The New Weave Popular Education in Canada and Central America, pp. 92-3.
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
*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )
Project South (www.projectsouth.org )
North American Alliance for Popular and Adult Education
Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (www-gse.berkeley.edu/research/pepr/ )
Popular Education Links Directory
"WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?"
DEFINITION OF THE MONTH
The term popular education, a translation from the Spanish educacion popular, defines this approach. Frierian popular educators, promote "conscientization" as a key aim of this type of education. For radical educator Paulo Freire conscientization refers to a learning process in which people, as knowing subjects, achieve a deepening awareness of both the socio-cultural reality that shapes their lives and of their capacity to transform that reality. In Southern and Eastern Africa the term "people’s education" or "education for self reliance" are in common usage. In Asia activists speak of "education for mass mobilization" and of engaging in "participatory research." In Europe we often hear of "cultural animation" work, while in Canada and the United States "transformational education" has influenced development education, feminist pedagogy, community-based adult literacy programs, anti-racist education, and union education programs. - From "First Enliven, Then Enlighten Popular Education and the Pursuit of Social Justice" by Lee Williams
"…What is most important in the world? …it is people, it is people, it is people." - Maori proverb