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. 23 January 2005                              THIS MONTH'S THEME: Power Tools

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. REVIEW OF THE MONTH
2. ADDITIONS TO WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER
3. LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES
4. "WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH

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1. REVIEW OF THE MONTH

Power Tools: A Manual for Organizations Fighting for Justice, Produced by Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)/ The Environment and Economic Justice Project (EEJP) with AGENDA, The Los Angeles Metropolitan Alliance, and CIPHER, Los Angeles. (Includes CD)

The dominant paradigm for planning in education and in other areas of the social sphere - as well as in business and technology - has become a model employing instrumental or technocratic rationality, a mode of linear-rational planning. The paradigm has been a powerful tool in the hands of pentagon and corporate planners, and has been adopted widely across bureaucracies and even the foundation world that require social change organizations to adopt it. Part of its success derives from its profoundly conservative and control-oriented character. Key to the paradigm are a "goals first" process, strategies identified that are "instrumental" in achieving those goals, valued knowledge becomes applied knowledge, all worthy action is limited to goal-directed action, and "needs" and "goals" are de-problematized after the starting point. The political and historic nature of the paradigm are submerged as it has become a hegemonic model. Can this instrumental methodology be adopted and used to help build a just and peaceful world? Can the tools of the oppressor be used to facilitate progressive social change, to empower communities and the people within them?

The stream of popular education that resonates most strongly with me is built on another paradigm. (The most elegant articulation of an alternative to the dominant paradigm that I have recently encountered is in "Training for Social Action," a course curriculum document by the Animation Project in Western Sydney, Australia - contact popednews for more information.)

One of the issues that has long intrigued me is where the use of the dominant paradigm fits within a popular education framework built on "interlocking and overlapping principles". And can attention to these principles of popular education be used to enhance and improve the educational parts of the work within the process organized by the dominant paradigm? This manual, which puts popular education inside the dominant paradigm, offers an affirmative response to the latter question.

In spite of the theoretical questions I raise, even from within a popular education framework - where I place myself - it is important to recognize that there are moments in the life of communities and organizations when they need to plan strategically. These are organizing moments. At such moments this manual will provide tools for the tasks, well-developed tools, carefully thought through tools. The manual is a rich, rich resource. The core of the manual is divided into six chapters (I) An Introduction to the Theory of Social Change Framework, (II) Defining Our Social Change Goals, (III) Power Analysis, (IV) Worldview Analysis: Understanding the Power of Ideas, (V) Strategies for Building Power, and (V) Developing More Effective Campaigns.

The contents of each chapter of the manual include: Overview: session description, session goals and agenda, and materials needed; Facilitator's Notes: suggestions appearing throughout the session to help facilitators) understand, use, and adapt the tools; Facilitation Outline: instructions and scripts for doing a training, educational session, or meeting using the tools and materials in the session; and Materials: handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and worksheets needed before, during, and after the session. There are also sections on Examples: How Organizations Have Used Tools in Power Tools and Appendix: Additional Social change and Organizational Tools.

The promotional flyer for the manual identifies its features as 1. Easy to Use Training Outlines, 2. Sample Exercises for Participatory Training, Education and/or Planning Sessions, 3. Adaptable and Interactive Political Education Tools, Materials and Handouts, 4. Real-Life Examples of How These Tools & Materials Have Been Used by Grassroots Organizations Around the Country, and 5. Actual Electronic Versions of Training Materials on a C.D. It does not understate when it claims, "Much, Much More!"

The manual is expensive for a movement resource. But it can be ordered at a sliding scale cost. The order form that was included with my copy of the manual lists the scale from $125 to $175, the order form at the link below lists the price from $150 to $300. I urge you to contact SCOPE/EEJP, 1715 W. Florence Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90047, 323/789-7820 to negotiate a price for your organization. The order form can be found at http://www.scopela.org/eejp/manualorderform.pdf .

.review by Larry Olds

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2. 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 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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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 (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

(Without the graphics in the original)

"a method of education that is specifically concerned with the liberation of the people who are a part of it" - It sees all participants as learners AND teachers - teacher as student & student as teacher

What is Praxis? "reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it"

Goal is Humanization: What is important is the discovery of the oppressor-oppressed dialectical relationship, and to transform it. Otherwise, oppressed people can fall into the trap of striving to become the oppressors within the same structure.

LEADERSHIP (We cannot use monologues to convince oppressed people about the necessity of struggle - they must act and reflect for themselves. The work should not be FOR oppressed people, but rather WITH oppressed people.)

Key Ingredients: Trust & Dialogue

.Produced by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), quoted in Power Tools . Appendix A: Additional Social Change & Organizational Tools, Page 4.

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The river swells with the contribution of the small streams - Bateke 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.