By Matt Noyes, adapted from Tecnicas Participativas Para la Educacion Popular, Tomo I, in collaboration with Nadia Marin Molina of the Workplace Project/Centro Pro Derechos Laborales.
By Matt Noyes, from a workshop with Leon Rosenblatt
This is a spur of the moment role play where participants and educators act out the actions and problems they have been discussing, with no preparation or script.
No popular education technique has spread as far and wide as this one. I first learned it from Eleonora Castano Ferreira and Joao Castano Ferreira, thanks to Maureen LaMar at the old International Ladies Garment Workers Union Worker-Family Education Program. To my mind the authoritative version is the one found in Volume 2 of Alforja's Tecnicas Participativas Para La Educacion Popular.
A website for sharing popular education tools and ideas related to democratic self-organization. The main contents are the two books listed on the left: The Workers' Inspiration: Popular Education for Union Democracy, and Participatory Techniques for Language Learning.
Brooklyn, New York; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Tokyo, Japan
Assistant professor, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan;
Internet coordinator, Association for Union Democracy, Brooklyn, USA www.uniondemocracy.org
This is where the spiral of popular education takes shape. You did the preparation work, shared information and built trust, analyzed problems, got and shared new information, planned strategy and people took action. Now what?
Well, assuming you have a group that continues working together, you start all over again: getting people together, sharing information, building trust. But you start in a different place. Now you have a group that has been through a learning process together and taken action to solve problems.
In this chapter I depart from the pattern of the other chapters. Instead of activities, I describe a few cases where education moved into action, using them to raise issues that educators and activists face as we follow this crucial step in the spiral of popular education.
In the previous step, Adding New Information, the need to share new information raised a danger of slipping back into traditional approaches to education and the assumptions about expertise and knowledge that they reflect. By using participatory techniques and sticking with the underlying democratic and egalitarian method, that danger can be overcome.
This step can be tricky for popular educators. It is easy to slip back into the old "banking" model of education: and play the role of the expert whose job it is to give people information or ideas, treating your fellow participants like so many empty vessels waiting to be filled.
Providing new information (or helping people find it themselves) and helping them learn how to use it is essential in any educational process. Obtaining and learning to use information is a central part of building power. Sharing information and helping others learn is essential for democracy.
Another term for popular education is problem-posing education. We are getting people together to identify, analyze and figure out how to solve problems.