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. 25 February 2005                              THIS MONTH'S THEME: Civic Participation and Literacy

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. WELEARN CONFERENCE NOTICE
2.
REVIEW OF THE MONTH
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. WELEARN CONFERENCE NOTICE

March 11 - 12, 2005 2nd Annual (Net)Working Conference on Women & Literacy, Women & Literacy... Strengthening the Web Providence, RI

******Pre-registration deadline is February 28******

http://www.litwomen.org/conferences/flyer05.html

The WELEARN website listed below is a rich source of resources. Check it out: http://www.litwomen.org/learnmats/educ2.html#poped

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2. REVIEW OF THE MONTH

Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook: A Resource for Adult Educators edited by Andy Nash. New England Literacy Resource Center, 1999. http://literacytech.worlded.org/docs/vera/index1.htm

I had not looked closely at this sourcebook until I noticed that it was edited by Andy Nash, one of the principle speakers at the WELEARN conference mentioned above. It had been part of the collection of popular education and community organizing facilitator and practitioner materials at the Resource Center of the Americas for several years. It has been a hidden resource. Not many are aware of how valuable it would be for teachers in GED/ABE/ESL and other adult literacy classes as it brings practical application of popular education ideas together with their possibilities in classroom settings.

The primary purpose of this sourcebook is to provide resources for people preparing for participation in democracy. It is a rich action guide of activities that lead people to direct forms of civic participation, advocacy and organizing. It presents a range of tools that can help readers examine their own beliefs about community, citizenship, and democracy; identify and analyze issues that concern them; and build strategies and skills to take informed action.

The text is organized into five sections. The first section, "Finding Connections to Communities and Issues," addresses, head on, the challenge of integrating any kind of civic participation with the adult education curriculum. The remaining four sections - "Holding Decision-makers Accountable," "Building Community by Helping Others," "Expressing Ourselves and Educating Others," and "Organizing for Change," in the author's words "focus on the more successful aspects of projects carried out in diverse settings. Along with acknowledging the barriers that make such projects difficult, we wanted to highlight the real possibilities that exist, and the strategies educators have used to bring civic participation into the adult education context."

Within each section there are two kinds of tools. One is a collection of short articles that give a narrative account (written mostly by teachers) of past community education and action projects. The other is an array of activities that draw from a repertoire of popular education activities that develop skill and confidence building in the areas of reflection, analysis, research, and communication. Collectively the articles cover a wide variety of topics relevant to the lives of people in their communities. The accompanying activities build some of the essential skills and knowledge needed to take similar action. The activities also cover a wide variety: from community mapping and power analysis, basic civics, and conflict resolution to timelines, groups communication, and the participation action spiral, to give some examples. "Some skills - listening, for example" the authors advise, "are key to every story although the activities only appear in one place." They hope the approach of narrative accompanied by what they call prep and practice activities will motive others to their own creative action.

I find two helpful and useful things in the appendices to the sourcebook. The first is the various list of rights. There are lists, for example, of human rights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of rights of basic adult education students (reminds me of the International Council for Adult Educations current global campaign on the right to learn), the rights of immigrants, and others.

The final appendix is a series of pictures, of codes in the Freirian sense. I have recently gotten re-interested in this Freirian idea, particularly the use of codes to animate discussion and raise consciousness, not only about the political contours of experience - the social analysis that is an important part of popular education practice, but also to raise consciousness about what it means to be human and the right of everyone to participate in "naming the world" and "the making of culture." I shall add the sourcebook to the list of materials that provide good examples of codes. Others on the list include Making Sense of the Media, Understanding and Challenging HIV Stigma, and, of course, Education for Critical Consciousness by Freire, the book that first gave me a concrete example of codes. (See annotated bibliography on www.popednews.org for links to these books.) It is a pleasure to find yet another resource to recommend. ..review by Larry Olds


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3. ADDITIONS TO WHERE POPULAR EDUCATORS WILL GATHER

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/ (Program includes a special event by the "Founders of NAAPAE" giving Chilean popular educator Francisco Via Grossi a lifetime achievement award, a panel on the global state of popular education and participatory research, and a report by Bob Hill, Acting Vice-President for North America of ICAE on the recent WSF and a new initiative to connect activists and educators in North America as well as a rich and creative regular conference program.)

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

Paulo Freire's work developed as a response to cultural silence. (Others have suggested that in industrial countries noise, not silence, is the reality.) Freire developed techniques for giving voice to people submerged in a culture of silence; it was the culture of silence that he saw kept people powerless, that kept them from seeing themselves as fully human.

What has the popular education tradition brought to our attention?

From "Notes on Popular Education" by Larry Olds - written while attending the Cobscook Community Learning Center/IPEA week-long institute in 2001 in Cobscook Maine

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The youth walks faster than the elderly but the elderly knows the road. - Nilotic proverb
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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.