I have been having an interesting time working through ideas inspired by Jacotot/Ranciere in a two-semester course at Meiji University that I call the "learning seminar."
There are many ways to form small groups for learning activities. One tool that I like for its flexibility is to give each participant a playing card, then form groups on the basis of poker hands (or some other game): Four of a kind, Flush, Straight, Straight Flush, etc.
You can have face cards (or any other set) be observers or note-takers. You can have jokers be facilitators. You can form groups of any size.
Idea for a role play/improv activity:
Have people think of the most disagreable or objectionable person they know -- it has to be someone they can visualize, someone who they have seen.
Give people time to get ready (a few minutes).
Joker says "go!" and everyone walks around playing the role of the objectionable person they chose.
OR, taking turns, the objectionable person is interviewed by the group (or one or two members).
OR, two objectionable people meet and/or discuss a given topic.
Participants' Agenda (write on big paper)
Facilitator's Agenda, three copies
Materials: paper, markers, stickers, other
Handouts: 25 copies
DRAFT PLAN for June 11 BAJA RETREAT
Matt Noyes/Charley MacMartin
FRIDAY, 7pm to 9pm
motivation: to give facilitators a better sense of who is there, to break the ice and get started, we want this to be quick.
process: quick go around, names areas of work, a particular skill each person has
2. Two Activities to Prepare/initiate Retreat
The answer to most workplace and union democracy problems is the same: you have to organize with your coworkers. Easy to say, harder to do. With no staff, nobody on the union payroll, everyone working their regular jobs, how can you build and sustain an organization that is democratic and participatory? How can you spread the work around so it doesn't all fall on a few people? How can you keep track and hold people accountable? How can you avoid burnout and keep the group open to new people?
These power lines are reproductions of the original (very large) power lines created by participants in a strategy workshop I helped design and facilitate for members of the opposition New Directions caucus in Transport Workers Local 100 in New York City, in 1999. (Click on the images for larger pop-up versions.)
So, what's this handbook about?
This handbook is:
- a toolkit for educators and activists
- a case-study of grass-roots worker education in the US workers movement
- [an argument for popular education for union democracy, and
- [an argument for union democracy for worker education
- [a call for allies
- [a starter
[box]What kinds of activities can I use to help workers learn their rights and develop their ability to organize for democracy and power?[image: we're all here, now what do I do?]
[img_assist|nid=138|title=Visions of Unionism 1|desc=The first image -- what do you see? Who are these people? What do we know about them? What do the arrows and circles mean? Why are some pointing in different directions?|link=none|align=left|width=450|height=348]
[img_assist|nid=139|title=Visions of Unionism 2|desc=The second vision: What do you see here? Who are the various people? What are they all doing? What are their relationships to each other? Have you ever experienced this type of unionism?|link=none|align=left|width=450|height=348]
Case studies in basic legal rights. (Any resemblance to persons or institutions living or dead is largely coincidental.)
1. Two Minutes
What does the word "collective" mean in the phrase "collective bargaining?"
When can an individual employee or group of employees bargain their own contract with management?
2. Three Minutes