Thursday, April 05, 2007

Popular Education Around the World

For some time now, i've been wanting to survey popular education around the world. No small task. Especially if you consider that there are many groups out there that are practicing various forms of emancipatory, anti-authoritarian, participatory, democratic educations (and pedagogies) that are popular education in all but name. While jargon helps us make connections and delimits a field in helpful ways, it can also exclude and cause us to overlook things. So... today i'm starting a new section on my blog called "The World of Popular Education" (see the right hand column of this blog) listing groups that are committed to popular education praxis. I'm gonna start with those groups that use the term "popular education" and consider how to include others in time. I also include Theatre of the Oppressed in the popular education world. I plan to profile these groups, given what i already know and what i learn. And my dream is that sometime in the next couple of years we might find the financial and material resources to bring us all together to meet, compare notes, celebrate.

Here's a beginning:


Anonymous said...

Hey, Chris! I share in this lovely dream! It would be the ultimate experience to learn from pop educators from around the world!!! Wow. I would love to talk more about how we can make this dream come true. I have an appointment to visit the PF Institute next week, finally! Will let you know what it is like;)

Hey, the NGO I'm working with here does popular environmental education. The website ( doesn't phrase it as "pop-ed" but the educators definitely take a Freirian approach. They are doing some cool stuff. The Brazilian way is amazing...everyone is so relaxed, the language is simple and full of slang (with our audience at least) and the greetings are my favourite...everyone gives a kiss on the cheek and hug when they enter/leave the room. We need to start this tradition in Canada!

Ok, just wanted to say that I strongly support your dream of uniting pop educators from around the world and am very interested in discussing it in more detail. abra├žos, claudia

Chris cavanagh said...

Thanks, Claudia,

yes, this is a dream i hold dear. And your point about groups doing popular education work in all but name is a good one. And what a research project that would be: to seek out all those groups around the world applying freirian principles, practicing anti-authoritarian pedagogies, promoting participatory democratic learning and more. For as important as is a term such as popular education (especially for recognizing links between groups), terms can also blind us to connections.

I really believe that one of the huge weaknesses of left organizing in the world is the failure to incorporate the lessons of popular education. And we need some way of comparing our experience around the world, learning from each other, challenging each other. Alas, this kind of grassroots networking is a costly business. Hmmm...