Activity Descriptions

Activity-Desc Cvr pg-brainstormingBelow are PDFs of popular education activity descriptions. Of course, any activity in and of itself is not popular education. And that popular education is misinterpreted as simply a bunch of fun “touchy-feely” exercises is a common thing. That popular education includes a wide variety of forms of learning and making knowledge together (including many games that are typically framed as “for children”) is an application of a radical theory of learning and communication that challenges the extremely limited (and hegemonic) forms of information sharing and pedagogical exchange. That one of the earliest and most powerful forms of learning in virtually all human (and non-human animal) life is play is something quickly “forgotten” when theorizing and applying learning methods for older children and adults. Though it is not so much forgotten as it is extremely hegemonically regulated. Play is still allowed – and can even be recognized if not also affirmed as a good way to learn – but where, when and how it is practiced is limited to rather strictly policed (sometimes literally) domains. Popular education embraces play in many forms. Nor does popular education reactionarily exclude conventional forms of communication and learning. Lectures, which many have learned to loathe, can very much be a popular education tool – if it has been agreed, democratically, that it is the best means by which some subject matter can be communicated. Popular education, in fact, includes the frequent use of “mini-lectures” – the “mini” signifying that people, sitting still in groups, listening to a single voice for prolonged periods of time tend to become sleepy. And increasingly sleepy people take in decreasing amounts of information. And yet, a staggering number of people still blithely plan lectures of one or more hours. Popular education, practicing democratic dialogue, recognizes that sharing information dynamically is a better way to learn. To go further on this point entails elaborating still more theory of learning. Suffice to say, popular education treats as radically important the context (or environment) for learning. Only when the activities shared here (and exemplified – for there are many sources of great material around the world) are applied in an emancipatory environment (and all of it subject to self-reflexive critique) can we begin to call this popular education praxis.

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