THE POPULAR EDUCATION NEWS
Connecting popular and community-based educators and activists to resources for improving educational work in social movements against oppression and for democracy, sustainability, social justice, and peace.

A monthly newsletter about popular education/community organizing resources for facilitators and practitioners: Many of the materials reviewed or listed in the newsletter are part of the collection in the Penny Lernoux Memorial Library at the Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406.

NO. 24 February 2005                              THIS MONTH'S THEME: AH-HAH!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. REVIEW OF THE MONTH
2. NEW RESOURCE ON TENANT ORGANIZING
3. WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER
4. LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES
5. "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

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1. REVIEW OF THE MONTH

AH-HAH! A New Approach to Popular Education by GATT-fly. Between the Lines, 1982.

I first heard of this book when I visited the Philippines Peasant Institute in Manila in 1986. The conversation with one of the staff members was an AH-HAH! moment for me. Not from learning about the book, however. It was when I saw the humor and light-heartedness that can be part of what, until that time, I saw as the serious business of popular education. "Yes, we do pop ed," I was told; the first time I had heard popular education referred to in such an irreverent manner. I have had a fondness for the book since that time.

This small book looks at a popular education seminar developed by the Canadian organization GATT-Fly (which became the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice). 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 by the authors in over one hundred situations between the mid-1970's and the time they wrote the book, 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 a seminar process which is based on drawing a large picture on the wall of the participant's experiences as a starting point for creating dialogue, analysis, and action strategies. It provides both logistic information on using the technique as well as suggestions for facilitation/recording. The examples of the elements of the large wall drawings, simple and easy to learn - for example, the drawing for a basic person, a women, a worker, a banker, a politician, institutions like factories, churches, etc. - are scattered throughout the first part of the book. 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.

The book is one of the classic popular education books that has been reprinted by the Catalyst Centre in Toronto. It can be ordered from the bookstore on their website, www.catalystcentre.ca.

.reviewed by Larry Olds with the help of the synopsis of the book on the Catalyst Centre website

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2. NEW RESOURCE ON TENANT ORGANIZING

Building By Building: A Tenant Leadership Manual is now available from Manna CDC, 614 S Street, NW, Carriage House, Washington DC 20001, tel. 202.232.2915, cost $10. This concise, clearly written small manual with excellent layout and graphics should be a valuable resource for organizers. Although it deals with issues facing the Shaw Neighborhood in Washington DC, it is clearly written to be helpful to other neighborhoods that are struggling with affordable housing issues.

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3. ADDITIONS TO WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER

February 8-10, 2005, PRIA Society for Participatory Research in Asia in cooperation with the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Canada, International Conference on Participation, Learning and Social Transformation: 3rd International Conference on Citizenship and Governance, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, UP, India http://www.pria.org/cgi-bin/international.htm

February 12, 2005, 9am to 3 pm, Another Kind of Movement Education Is Possible: Popular Education, Garden Street Family Center, Bellinham, WA (This participatory session will demonstrate, describe and define a popular education framework and popular education tools for improving educational work in the classroom and in social movements against oppression and for democracy, sustainability, social justice, and peace.) marcialeister@yahoo.com

February 25-27, 2005 The Healing Story Alliance, Healing through Story A Multi- disciplinary Conference Celebrating the Oral Tradition, Minneapolis, Minnesota, (The purpose of this experiential conference is two fold: To investigate and explore the use of story to create occasions for healing and to promote health for individuals and communities and to support participants in developing practical skills in story evoking, gathering, telling and listening skills. http://www.healingstory.org/events/overview.html

March 11-12, 2005, Women Expanding / Literacy Education Action Resource Network (WE/LEARN), Second Annual (Net)Working Conference, Women & Literacy: Strengthening the Web, Providence, RI. (Call for Presenters: deadline November 30, 2005) www.litwomen.org/welearn.html

April 1-2, 2005, Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (CPEPR), Conference on the theme Citizenship and Power in the 21st Century, University of California, Berkeley. http://www.cpepr.net/

May 29-31, 2005, Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (Co-hosted by the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed and Applied Theatre Arts, Los Angeles) 11th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, California, (May 24 - 28Theatre of the Oppressed Preconference Workshops with Augusto Boal) http://www.unomaha.edu/~pto/conference.htm

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4. 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 (IPEA) (www.peopleseducation.org/ )
*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )
*Growing Communities for Peace (www.humanrightsandpeacestore.org )
Centre for Popular Education (www.cpe.uts.edu.au)
Project South (www.projectsouth.org )
Center for Popular Education and Participatory Research (www.gse.berkeley.edu/research/pepr/ )
Pop Ed Links Directory (www.flora.org/mike/links/poped.html)
WE LEARN: Women Expanding-Literacy Education Action Resource Network(http://www.litwomen.org/news.html)
Centre for Popular Education, University of Technology Sydney (http://www.cpe.uts.edu.au/)

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5. "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

The Ah-hah Seminar's approach to education is through dialogue. It is a forum where the participants talk together about their own experience and make decisions about their own learning. It is rooted in the principles developed by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Freire distinguishes his approach to education from the traditional "banking" approach where participants are treated as empty vessels that must be filled with information. The underlying implication of the traditional approach is that students are "uneducated" and in need of knowledge that can come only from teachers or experts. This need creates a dependency and reinforces a sense of powerlessness. People learn to distrust themselves, their own knowledge and intuitions and this can lead to confusion. They often feel there is something wrong but they are not sure what. Freire's method encourages participants to see themselves as a fount of information and knowledge about the real world. When they are encouraged to work with the knowledge they have from their own experience they can develop strategies together to change their immediate situations.

Excerpt from "Chapter One: Our Approach to Popular Edcuation," AH-HAH! A New Approach to Popular Education, p.13.

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Many stars cannot be concealed by a small cloud - Maori Proverb **********************************************************

This newsletter is produced by the Popular Education Resource Collection Circle. Larry Olds worked on this issue. You can contribute to future issues by sending suggestions, notices of materials and short reviews to lolds@popednews.org. Help improve the newsletter. Subscribe by sending your email address to lolds@popednews.org.