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THE POPULAR EDUCATION NEWS

NO. 8 SEPTMBER 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).

The Popular Education News is participating in the Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) initiative making September Anti-Racism Month. For information about joining the initiative see www.worldwidewamm.org.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. REVIEWS OF THE MONTH

- TEACH ME TO THUNDER A TRAINING MANUAL FOR ANTI-RACISM TRAINERS

- TRAINING FOR TRANSFORMATION A HANDBOOK FOR COMMUNITY WORKERS, BOOK 4

2. A RECOMMENDED RESOURCE

3. NEW MATERIALS COMING

4. LINKS TO POPULAR EDUCATION WEB SITES AND ONLINE BOOKSTORES

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

 

1. REVIEWS OF THE MONTH

TEACH ME TO THUNDER A TRAINING MANUAL FOR ANTI-RACISM TRAINERS, by Alma Estable, Mechthild Meyer and Gordon Pon. From the Margin Publishing & the Canadian Labour Congress, 1997.

Teach Me To Thunder was written with the intention of promoting dialogue among anti-racism workers about theoretical issues, while sharing practical perspectives involved in the complex task of anti-racism training. Presented in a three-ring-binder format, with removable pages, this book was clearly intended as a hands-on tool for use by people working in the field. Setting aside the debate that some might wish to have about the contradictions and the appropriateness of calling anti-racist work "training," a term often associated with education that is the antithesis[antithesis is not hyphenated] of popular education, the book is nevertheless a rich source of ideas and practices. In the view of the authors,

"Anti-racism training is based in a critical pedagogy; it demands cooperation, participation, respect, critical thinking, honesty, creativity and commitment. Anti-racism training is participatory and interactive, and employs both experiential and conventional learning techniques, in the context of adult learning strategies. Anti-racism training is one of many means to an end, not an end in itself." (p. 9)

The book is divided into five main sections. The fifth and longest section"Training Activities"is an extensive, detailed, and practical set of ideas and instructions on how to carry out actual anti-racism training exercises. The four sections preceding it provide the theoretical context within which the activities are to be understood and used.

The theoretical points touched on in the four sections - What does Anti-Racism training mean?; Why do we do Anti-Racism training?; Notes to the trainer; and Why conduct a training needs assessment and how to do it - cover how "race" happens in a culture of whiteness, the relationship of anti-racism training to anti-racist action, and what trainers need to know about themselves, among many other topics. The book avoids the trap of assuming that people currently engaged in training have already covered "the basics." The authors take the time to discuss such "basic" issues as "what we mean by "race," the meaning of race as a social construct, and "How is anti-racist training supposed to work?" The authors advocate diverse approaches. An example of the kind of discussion found in the book is the contrast they point to between narrow-based and broad-based anti-racism. They clearly favor the latter, which they define as the view that "race and racism cannot be abstracted from the broad political, historical, and social processes of society which have institutionalized unequal power."

Following the section on training activities, the authors offer an extensive set of handouts and overheads for use by trainers. Although they are drawn from the Canadian context in which the authors work, many of the handouts may be adaptable for work in the USA and elsewhere. The Canadian context for the manual may also give USA anti-racism workers a measure of distance from their own situations and thus make the debates about racism and anti-racism more accessible.

The book concludes with a section of "Additional Information," mainly a bibliography and resource list.

…Review by Jeff Nygaard and Larry Olds

TRAINING FOR TRANSFORMATION A HANDBOOK FOR COMMUNITY WORKERS, BOOK 4, by Anne Hope and Sally Timmel. International Technology Development Group, 1999.

Training for Transformation A Handbook for Community Workers, Book 4, is the continuation of the three-volume Training for Transformation, first published in 1984 and revised in 1996. This fourth volume is a practical and accessible workbook for community development workers and popular educators. It includes a series of highly participatory exercises on five themes that make a mosaic of the contemporary interlocking issues for popular movements the environment, gender, racism, culture, and building participatory governance. Each theme is a chapter of the book that offers a variety of activities to help address the issues. This review focuses on the lengthy chapter on racism.

The chapter on racism is divided into five sections Privilege and Power, Perceptions, Discrimination, Racism, and Moving Forward. Each section contains various activities for workshop participants, a continuation of the wonderful graphics the authors introduced in the first three volumes of the Training for Transformation series, and handouts, some of which provide background and analysis on topics relevant to the section, and others that are for use in the participatory activities. Examples of backgrounder handouts are those on the topics of Time, Oral Expression, Spirituality, Liberal Racism, and Principles of good practice working against racism in the workplace. There are sixteen participatory exercises described in the chapter. Examples of handouts for participatory activities include Identity, Personal self-assessment of non-discriminatory behavior, and Power Inventory form.

One of the strengths of the book and its approach to anti-racism education is that it comes to us from Africa. The drawings that illustrate the book and the stories and examples used attest that the connections among people who struggle against oppression and for social justice reach across the globe. There is much we can learn from the authors whose work and wisdom have inspired many who have known of and used the Training for Transformation books for many years.

…Review by Larry Olds

 

2. A RECOMMENDED RESOURCE

Facing the Challenge of Racism and Race Relations The Busy Citizen's Guide, 3rd Edition. Topfield Foundation, 1997. A 40-page study circle and discussion guide for use in community-based groups. Available from Study Circles Resource Center, PO Box 203, Pomfret, CT 06258

 

3. NEW MATERIALS COMING

Among the new materials soon to be added to the Resource Collection and online database are

Teach Me To Thunder

Ready for Action - A Popular Theatre Popular Education Manual

On Our Feet A Handbook on Gender and Popular Education ‘Workshops

Doing Democracy

The Mediator’s Handbook

be the difference a beginner’s guide to changing the world

Participatory Workshops a sourcebook of 21 sets of ideas & activities

The Democracy Owners’ Manual

Education for Changing Unions

Teaching for Change: Popular Education and the Labor Movement

 

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 (www.peopleseducation.org/ )

*Resource Center of the Americas (www.americas.org )

Project South (www.projectsouth.org )

The Popular Education News (www.popednews.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)

 

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

Popular education is the educational work in ordinary people’s democratic social movements against all forms of oppression and for economic and social justice, sustainability, human rights, and peace.

…Larry Olds

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WHAT TO BE FOR IF YOU ARE AGAINST WAR SUPPORT THE NONVIOLENT PEACEFORCE. BUY PEACE BONDS OR JOIN WORK-A-DAY FOR PEACE SEPTEMBER 11. See www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org

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This newsletter is produced by the Popular Education Resource Collection Circle. Betsy Barnum, Jeff Nygaard, and 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.