THE POPULAR EDUCATION NEWS
NO. 6 JUNE - JULY 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 some titles in Spanish. An annotated bibliography with links to where to purchase materials is at www.americas.org (follow library/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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help improve this newsletter.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
REVIEW OF THE MONTH
· The Leader's Manual A Structured Guide and Introduction - Kingian Nonviolence The Philosophy and Methodology by Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and David C. Jensen, IHRR Publications, 1996, 154 pages.
· The Community Leader’s Workbook The Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation Program Strategies for Responding to Conflict and Violence by Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and David C. Jensen, IHRR Publications, 1998, 80 pages.
These manuals have been developed by two veterans of the United States Civil Rights Movement who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 1960s.
The authors distinguish the purposes of the two books by identifying The Community Leaders Workbookas designed to assist leadership, the second to assist participants and leaders. It is clear that by this they mean the first is for the planners and facilitators of the workshop, the second for the participants all are recognized as leaders. In both cases the purpose of the manuals is to help people working on nonviolent education programs to appreciate the full range of issues related to the philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his methodology of nonviolent conflict reconciliation.
The main strength of these books is in their historical and social analysis a very important aspect of popular education work. They are not as strong in their methodological approaches. Although they do include a number of graphics -- visual aids or illustrations -- done in a popular and accessible style, they appear to be primarily materials for a series of study circles or for use as support materials for a series of presentations. Producing good materials for such purposes is no small achievement.
A helpful appendix to The Leaders Manual provides an "Outline of Education Methods." The appendix might have been even more helpful, however, if it drew from the rich repertoire of popular education experience. The questions I find myself asking are ones like
· What methods might be good to help workshop participants to start with their own experience and link it to the rich history and social analysis provided by the manuals? (The timeline activity that uses sticky notes described in The Popular Education News, No. 4 comes to mind.)
· What methods might be used to help participants know that their voice is present, that their ideas and opinions are valued?
· How might one use art and music to help workshop participants both express and build their knowledge?
I don’t view these as faults of the manuals but rather as indicative of some of the next steps for improving our educational work on nonviolence. These authors have made a considerable piece of the road for that work.
The second of these two training manuals that are part of the collection is also available in Spanish El Manual de Lideres de la Comunidad. In addition a related booklet, Folleto de Instrucciones, is available in Spanish.
See the web site www.americas.org and follow the library/popular educational link to learn more about these manuals and where to order them.
TRAINING FOR EDUCATING ABOUT THE NONVIOLENT PEACEFORCE
By Pat O’Keefe and Larry Olds
This is a plan for individuals to train themselves (with a Group Process Option) to conduct educational activities about the Nonviolent Peaceforce. It is modeled after a two-session training conducted at the Nonviolent Peaceforce’s St. Paul office. The training promoted an educational process that does not just appeal to people’s heads by presenting information, but that appeals to the whole person, both the head and heart, by using a variety of modes presentation, story telling, and participatory activities. In their five-minute practice sessions the participants in the St. Paul training demonstrated an impressive array of activities and modes of presentation. They shared with each other not only good examples of presentation, but also the use of poetry, music, discussion activities, personal stories, and drawings, activities that truly appealed to both people’s heads and their hearts.
It is important to learn enough about the Nonviolent Peaceforce and its development that you can feel comfortable being before a group. The website and the electronic newsletters, www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org, are primary sources for this.
The Process for Individuals (For the group training option find a friend or two and go through the process together. Suggestions for a group process are in parentheses.)
1) Consider experiences in your life that relate to your interest in nonviolence. Choose one and image yourself telling about this experience as part of a talk you might give. Does the story as you imagine yourself telling it appeal more to the hearts of the audience or to their heads, or both? (Take turns sharing stories of your experience. After everyone has shared, discuss the questions.)
2) Make a list of about twenty of the most important topics you think you would like to hear in a talk about the NP. Consult the Frequently Asked Questions list. (See the web site.) Rank the items in your list according to which are the most important for your talk. (Work together to make up the list. Each rank the items individually, then combine rankings for prioritizing. Discuss.)
3) Write a description of one of the best educational experiences you have had either as a teacher/facilitator or a participant /student. Choose one in which you or the participants/students felt most engaged in learning. Were presentations or participatory activities used? Did the experience appeal more to the head or hear, or both? (Take turns sharing stories of your experience. After everyone has shared, discuss the questions.)
4) Divide a sheet of paper into four squares. Write "Head" at the top of one column and "Heart" at the top of the other. On the left side write "Presentation" by one row and "Participatory Activity" next to the other. This will create four different possible modes for the different parts of your talk or educational activity.
5) Place each of your 20 important topics in one of these squares depending on what approach would work best for you in educating about the particular issues. (As each person place an item in the grid they give a sentence or two describing the approach they would take to that topic.)
6) If you are working alone on this training, after you place each of your 20 important topics in the grid go back to your list and add a sentence or two describing the approach you would take to that topic. For example, if one topic was "Where has war solved problems?", you might choose an activity in which you would ask the group to divide in two and each take one side of this question. If you were addressing how the Nonviolent Peaceforce will be financed, you could do a "head" presentation or you could consider a personal story about the relativity of costs, comparing the cost of the NP to the costs of armed conflict. It is important to consider variety in any educational activity.
7) Prepare a five-minute educational session on one or two points on your prioritized list using the methods you have chosen. Try it out with someone you know. Talk it over with them after you finish. (Take turns giving you practice sessions. After everyone has shared, discuss.)
8) After completing the training consider where you could go to speak about the NP and begin making contacts.
9) Please feedback and suggestions about the training process to email@example.com and don’t forget to share your stories and participatory activities.
What to be for if you are against war. Support the NONVIOLENT PEACEFORCE. BUY PEACE BONDS! See www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org.
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)
WE LEARN Women Expanding-Literacy Education Action Resource Network (http//www.litwomen.org/news/issue1.html)
"WHAT IS POPULAR EDUCATION?" DEFINITION OF THE MONTH
Popular Education - a translation of the Spanish educación popular, and a form of social change education with roots in Latin America. It starts with the experience of oppressed people, links new knowledge to what people already know, and leads to an expression of that knowledge through collective action for social change. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, pioneered its theory and practice.
Social Change Education - the term we use to describe the work of union or popular education in general. It signifies an approach to education that is in the interests of oppressed groups. It involves people in the process of critical analysis so that they can act collectively to change oppressive structures and practices. The process is participatory, creative, and empowering.
From EDUCATION FOR CHANGING UNIONS
Having a good discussion is like having riches - Kenya