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Popular Education Working Group

United Association of Labor Educators

Meeting Notes 12.12.18

Introductions & Agenda (10)

Name, Location, Affiliation:

Riahl O’Malley (UFE), Richard Gaboton (CUPW), Darby Frye (AFSCME Council 28), Susan Williams (Highlander), Keturah Raabe (Consultant in DC), Tish Glenn (CUPW), Eric Larson (UMass Dartmouth), Zach Cunningham (CSEA), Tess Ewing (Cambridge, Retired), Elizabeth Pellerito (UMass Lowell Labor Center), Cassie Bell (AMAPCEO)

Highlights from Last Meeting & Survey Results (5)

Riahl gave an overview of the survey results (available in previous email)

Conference Update (5)

  • · Proposals process and timeline- what to expect

Our Working Group is a place to connect people to work together on workshops at the conference.

Proposals to facilitate a session at next year’s conference in Philadelphia, April 2-5, due Friday, December 21st. Send proposals to and cc Popular Education WG co-chairs (Darby, Richard, and/or Riahl)

  • · Community scholarships (Susan Williams)

Please invite community groups to attend and as facilitation partners. Scholarship pool is 5,000 with a geographical distribution. There is more information on the website.

Workshops for 2019 Conference (20)

  • Working Group Submissions ( Top survey topics were: Justice Workshops and Skills-Based Training Using Popular Education)
    • Who is facilitating? Who wants to facilitate?
    • Who needs curriculum support?
    • Do these themes build on topics from last year?
  • Individual Submissions: 
    • Who is submitting?
    • Who needs co-facilitators or curriculum support? Who wants to facilitate?

Who is submitting?

Elizabeth: UMass Microaggressions / Bystander Training

Zach & Deb Kidney: AFSCME New Member Orientation

Darby: Mentorship- peer to peer

Keturah & Darcy: Skills-based

Richard: Maybe facilitator training or mental health in the workplace

Eric: Racism; Formerly-Incarcerated Workers

Workshop on Training Trainers?

Riahl brought up, Richard (how to handle tough situations- white fragility), Susan interested in hearing people’s experiences in train the trainer, Cassie happy to help, Darby too

Willing to facilitate sessions from other designers: Tess, Cassie

Ongoing Work (10)

  • Update on curriculum exchange- no volunteers at this time- will revisit in April

Next Steps and Wrap Up (10)

-Get notes out include link to proposal page

-Subcommittee for reviewing conference proposals: Cassie, Zach, Darby

-Riahl- willing to assist before Dec 21st if needed

-Will continue over email and then reach out again when planning in person meeting for April

Popular Education Working Group

United Association of Labor Educators

June 21, 2018

Attendance: Riahl O’Malley (UFE), Darby Frye (WFSE), Richard Gaboton (CUPW), Zach Cunningham (CSEA), Joe Twarog (MA Nurses Assoc.), Tess (Retired/UMass), Elizabeth Pellerito (UMass Lowell), Antonio Gismet (AFSCME C75), Indira Trejo (UFW), Eric Larson (UW), Susan Winning (UMass Lowell), Bill Shields (AFT 2121 City College San Fran), Tish Glenn (CUPW Windsor), Kate Shaughnessy (AFL-CIO)


1. Welcome and Introductions (15 min)

  1. Name, pronoun, affiliation & one thing you like about UALE
  2. Introduce and propose order for “circle”

2. Conference Committee (20 min)

  • Review some of the ideas from last meeting
    • Planning progression within popular education “track” at conference
    • Build on topics/themes from last year’s conference
    • Think about follow-up with conference/session attendees
    • Soliciting pop ed workshops for conference
    • Train people to facilitate ,at subsequent conferences
    • And more
  • Notes from go-around
    • Riahl: how do we influence conference as a whole? We would like volunteers for conference committee.
    • Zach: I can help in whatever way that might be needed.
    • Elizabeth: Using pop ed techniques in plenaries, this seems like a priority.
    • Susan: Might be confusion still about what is in the pop education track and what isn’t. Can help with that, not necessarily interested in being on the committee.
    • Darby: We have submitted proposals that haven’t always been applied as proposed.
    • Bill: Being ahead in the processes will help, and we will also weigh priorities with others who attend the conference. I hope I can be more active in working group now having left the board. Workers oral history project, keep in mind that kind of agency.
  • Volunteers to work on conference committee
    • Bill Shields, Zach, Elizabeth, Richard
    • Riahl specifically on language justice, asked for volunteers to help

3. Pre-Conference Pop Ed Project (20 min)

  1. Review ideas that might imply a mid-year project
    • Curriculum exchange (online? In-person?)
    • Networking platforms
    • Train the trainer (different forms of delivery)
    • Take leadership connecting labor and social movements
    • Reading list of popular ed theory
    • Might be workshops for next year:
      1. Popular Education and Technology
      2. Skill-based learning using popular education
      3. Driving attendance at trainings
  2. Notes from go-around
    • Richard: What current curriculum share resources do we have? What more would people like to see?
    • Tess: We have some resources on our page as well as the conference page, but there’s much more we can do to build this up
    • Zach: Interested in prioritizing these options after the call
    • Joe: Would like to continue discussing ‘driving attendance’ at trainings
    • Antonio: Interested in training on skill based learning using popular education such as ‘how to write a grievance’/ Also interested in working on tracking to demonstrate that participants retain and use more skills and information using popular education methodology
    • Eric: Most interested in connecting labor to social movements
    • Bill: Skills-based learning and connecting labor to social movements
    • Tish: Connecting labor to social movements and train the trainer
    • Bill: Would be good to make a schedule moving forward

4. Next Steps (5 min) - Darby

  1. Follow-up with conference planner
  2. Schedule meeting for project planning, if applicable
  3. Notes
    • Richard: I can send out an online form or survey asking priorities in order to compile for August meeting. We can work on that which has most votes
    • Darby will send people’s emails who volunteered to be on conference committee
    • Darby will send along last proposal regarding Pop Ed Track to those who volunteer for conference committee
    • Kate Shaughnessy is on the board and on Popular Education working group offered to support
      1. Note: after call Tess the following board members on the Pop Ed WG listserv: Deb Kidney, Mary Bellman, Susan Williams, and Kate Shaughnessy.

 5. Meeting evaluation (will be over email)

    1. What did you like about this meeting?
    2. What might we change?                                                                                                                                                                                  

Popular Education Working Group

UALE 2018, Seattle

Friday, April 5th, 7-9pm


Monika Warner, Joe Twarog, Jeffrey Santos, Tess Ewing, Zach Cunningham, Elizabeth Pellerito, Catalina Rojas, Indira Garmendia, Richard Gaboton, Tish Glenn, Anneta Argyres, Darby Frye, Bill Shields, Antonio Gismet, Riahl O’Malley

Facilitated by Darby Frye, Richard Gaboton, and Riahl O’Malley (Co-Chairs)


  • Introductions
  • Review the Working Group:
    • We reviewed the purpose of our group and key examples of the work we have done
    • We reviewed our working definition of popular education
  • Areas of Future Work: We brainstormed areas of future work. Then, participants put their names next to topics they were interested in. From there, we broke into smaller groups and discussed next steps for some of these areas of future work followed by a report back.
    • The following notes reflect this process. Where available, the notes from small group breakouts are included under each topic.


Curriculum Exchange & Development

  • Curriculum exchange (Tess, Darby)
    • Mid-year meeting?
    • Online access to conference materials from different sessions
  • Create a platform for networking
  • Intentional curriculum development/ exchange
  • Skills based learning using popular education (Joe, Zach, Antonio, Bill)
    • Document w/ participatory exercises that highlight power/social justice (crowd sourced)
    • Get class on above topic on next year’s agenda
  • Train the Trainer- different forms of delivery
  • Intersections of popular education and technology (Monika)
    • Managing conference calls (interactive, raise hands, Maestro, Zoom)
    • Full participation valued
    • Translation/involvement
    • Document share/screen share
    • Invitations- text reminder
  • Take leadership connecting labor and social movements (Bill, Elizabeth, Riahl)
  • Create a reading list of popular education theory (Tess, Zach)
  • Resources for engaging all senses in accessible ways (Zach, Elizabeth, Darby, Monika)
    • Create a space in curriculum exchange to share engaging icebreakers, energizers, creative techniques for grouping participants, techniques for ensuring full involvement (potential 2019 workshop?)
  • Driving attendance at trainings (Monika)
    • Publicize trainings in exciting ways
    • Follow up with audience
    • Overcome barriers to attendance
    • Invitations and phone banking
    • Incentivize to bring colleague

Conference Planning

  • How do we impact conference structure? (Tish)
  • Plan sequence/progression in workshops at the conference within the track (Richard)
    • Give specific roles to members of the working group/organization
    • Use solidarity school model
    • Keep track of previous year’s workshops
    • Suggest to 2018 presenters to follow their workshops with a higher level in 2019
  • Think more about conference audience and follow-up after sessions
  • Fewer sessions proposed with more over 2 time slots? (as we piloted in 2018)
  • Solicit workshops for the conference
  • Create opportunities for members to develop skills and gain opportunities (Jeffrey Santos)
    • Use the sequence of workshops to create opportunity
    • Participants could attend one year and facilitate the next
    • Leadership development path

UALE Popular Education Working Group

Meeting via conference call Feb 23, 2018

Attendance: Tess Ewing (retired, formerly UMass Boston), Adriane Paavo (USW), Zach Cunningham (CSEA), Riahl O’Malley (UFE), Darby Frye (AFSCME WA), Kate Shaughnessy (AFL-CIO), Eric Larson (UMass Dartmouth), Richard Gaboton (CUPW)


  1. Introductions and Agenda Review (D)
  2. Proposal Review Sub-Committee Report back (D)
  3. Plan for In-person Meeting: What might you hope to get out of it? (R)
  4. Sub-committee report-back and feedback: Popular Education definition (see below) (R)
  5. Next Steps (R)2.23.18


1)  Introductions and Agenda Review

See attendance above

 2) Proposal Review Sub-Committee Report back

  1. All of the proposals we recommended for popular education track were accepted
  2. Keturah Raabe will be unable to co-facilitate session as originally planned and has withdrawn session
  3. Proposals from Sarah Laslett and Deb Kidney and proposal from Zach Cunningham are going to run concurrent to other Popular Education sessions.

 3)  Plan for In-person Meeting: What might you hope to get out of it?

  1. Working group meeting Thursday, April 7th 7pm-9pm
  2. Make sure we get on to committees that make decisions about the following conference
  3. Coming up with a project that we can do before next meeting
  4. Working Group represents many organizations, opportunities, challenges, etc. where we are at in our work
  5. Be more interactive at the meeting itself
  6. Northeast regional breakout in November, curriculum exchange
    1. Some people did longer presentations and some people had 5 minutes to talk
  7. Doing online resource exchange, already have venue in place
  8. Setting some top priorities and set some strategy in changing conference direction
  9. Some people are new, think about good ways to get people excited and ask what ways they would like to get involved
  10. Call for co-chairs and election (can have as many as three)
  11. How to create sequence or a path to follow in next conference agenda
    1. We have a popular education track, but there is more we could do

4)  Sub-committee report-back and feedback: Popular Education definition (see below)

  1. We will send this to working group and say it is going in the 2018 program book.
  2. We will also bring this definition to the in-person working group meeting for final approval.

5) Next Steps

  1. Will send this definition to Working Group and to conference committee to include in program agenda
  2. Planning for Working Group in-person meeting (Richard, Darby, Riahl)


Popular Education is an approach to teaching and learning that is aimed at radical transformation for social and economic justice. It begins with the experiences and issues of the learners involved rather than the knowledge of an expert teacher. Participants observe patterns in their experiences and link them to theory about global and historical trends. This process promotes critical thinking and reflective practice as learners design ways to improve their situation, try them out, evaluate, modify and try again.

Popular education does not pretend to be neutral, it is openly on the side of the oppressed. It is focused on empowering a group that is engaged in progressive struggle rather than only promoting individual growth. It challenges oppression not only outside, but as it plays out inside the classroom. A popular educator strives to design and facilitate learning events that hold to these values. This process should be accessible to people of all education levels and should engage people’s minds, bodies and emotions.

UALE Popular Education Working Group Meeting               11.27.17

1) Welcome, Introductions & Agenda Review

  • Keturah Raabe IBEW, Riahl O’Malley (UFE), Darby Frye (AFSCME WA), Zach Cunningham (CSEA), Susan Winning (UMass Lowell), Tess Ewing (retired UMASS Boston), Don Taylor (UW), Kate Shaughnessy (AFL-CIO), Eric Larson (UMASS Dartmouth)

2) Reminder to submit proposals by November 30th!

  • Working group proposals submitted to conference committee due on January 15th
  • Some workshop proposals we will say are on behalf of working group
  • We will also submit those individual proposals that we wish to include in a “popular education” track at the conference
  • Proposals discussed so far: from Don Taylor on Janus or Popular Education & labor history, from D’Arcy and Keturah using popular education on skill-based curricula, from Susan and Annetta on social justice unionism, from Riahl & UFE on “curriculum deck” resource, from Tess and Riahl on Popular Education what it is and how to address challenges in dedicating more time and resource to pop ed.

3) Sub-committee to review proposals [Darby]

  • Zach Cunningham, Kate Shaughnessy, Eric Larson, Darby & Riahl
  • Darby will send Doodle to schedule meeting

4) Report back sub-committee (see below) [Riahl]

  • Definition of Popular Education (Susan, Tess, Richard, Riahl)

      See draft below

      Subcommittee will take feedback, revise, and send back to the group with a deadline for final feedback

      Thanks to Tess for taking a lead on making this project happen

      Suggested changes/additions:

  • Overall positive feedback from the group
  • Suggestion to re-order bullets from experience toward practice and transformation
  • Egalitarian but specify the facilitator’s unique role and responsibility
  • Contrast to banking model/status quo?
  • Popular education strives to confront the power dynamics in the classroom, workplace, and beyond; anti-oppression
  • Address popular education specifically in the context of labor education- make a case for popular education in labor education

5) Next steps [Riahl]

  • Darby will help schedule sub-committee meetings
  • Riahl send notes on pop ed definition for feedback with deadline
  • Schedule next meeting right before 1/15

The sub-committee is working to define popular education as it pertains to our working group. Based on a variety of sources the sub-committee established a list of the following ideas. What would you add? We will compile the following and your feedback into a coherent paragraph to be reviewed once more and brought to the working group.

  • Aim is radical transformation/social and economic justice
    • It does not pretend to be neutral; it is openly on the side of the oppressed.
    • It holds that no education can be neutral: it must either take the side of those struggling for change, or it de facto takes the side of the status quo
    • It is focused on empowering a group that is engaged in progressive struggle, rather than promoting individual growth
    • It is based on the experience and issues of the learners
      • Its content is determined by that experience and those issues (generative themes)
      • Typically a particular session starts with the experience of the participants
      • It is egalitarian: everyone teaches, everyone learns. All adults bring experience from which others can learn
        • It is interactive
        • It engages mind, body and emotions
        • It is accessible to people of all educational levels
        • It promotes critical thinking and consciousness-raising. It links local issues to the global and the historical
        • It aims for reflective practice (praxis): learners strategize ways to improve their situation, try them out, evaluate, modify and try again

Popular Education Working Group Meeting


The call started at 2:08pm

Attendance: Riahl O’Malley, Co-Chair (UFE), Keturah Raabe (IBEW), D’Arcy Martin (Independent Contractor), Kate Shaughnessy (AFL-CIO), Guy Bosworth (AFA-CWA), Richard Gaboton (CPWU), Tess Ewing (Retired), Susan Winning (UMass Lowell)

Workshop Proposal Ideas:

Riahl started the meeting inviting us to brainstorm proposal ideas. The ideas generated in no way committed us to submit an actual proposal or guaranteed acceptance of a proposal.

  • D’Arcy started by noting that he posted something on the discussion board on the UALE website as a follow up to Richard’s suggestion from the previous meeting. Keturah responded to his post and they are working on a proposal that focuses on using popular education methodology for skill-based curricula.
  • Susan suggested a workshop on engaging members on the Janus decision and expressed the importance of using popular education to mobilize members as opposed to adopting a philosophy of signing up as many members as possible.
  • Kate would be interested in examining PopEd material that focuses on engaging members around what the union means
  • Susan also suggested a workshop that addresses White Supremacist and Anti-Union sentiments. She also suggested something on social justice unionism which Anneta Argyres has developed for MTA.
  • Riahl informed us that UFE is working on updating their training material and changing how they title and write curriculum. They are using cards, like an oversized playing card, that has an activity on it, and the most direct language possible. He would be interested in bringing it to the UALE Community for feedback.
  • Guy, who is also a member of the online working group, is interested in bringing together online education and popular education. AFA is currently pursuing ways to utilize technology to educate on the concept of unionism. He will not be submitting a proposal on it as he will not be able to attend the conference due to a work conflict.

Lessons Learned from the 2017 UALE Conference

  • Susan noted that the Pop Ed 101 workshop was not well attended even after Sarah Hughes pitched it to the Young Workers caucus. There could have been a number of factors that contributed to the low turnout (i.e. scheduling, title, etc.)
    • Several people spoke to the need to connect the theory to content (which is what Keturah and D’Arcy will be doing in their workshop) and suggested that we come up with a catchier title for the introductory workshop
    • D’Arcy expressed interest in having both a Popular Education introduction workshop and an application style workshop because people need to understand the theory. Kate reiterated this point and noted that too often people mistake participatory education for popular education.
    • Riahl and Tess volunteered to work together on developing a proposal for a Popular Education introductory workshop.
  • Riahl noted that thus far, it sounds as if there will be two proposals submitted by committee members.

Call for Proposal

  • Riahl asked for other ideas/mediums for gathering information and ideas other than the conference call and discussion board.
  • Susan suggested that we keep utilizing the listserv and Tess suggested that we do a mini call for proposals (specifically for PopEd)
  • Keturah expressed concerns with proposal ideas being submitted to our working group not meeting the popular education criteria. This led to a discussion as to our working group description and criteria for proposals. It was noted that we currently don’t have a description posted online.
  • As it relates to the call for proposals, Riahl shared the current description, our experience with suggesting changes in the past, and a recommendation that we invest our time on other topics as this one seems to come up frequently with no tangible results. It was also noted that there is still confusion between the demonstration track and Popular Education and should clarify this for the proposal.
    • The committee recommended that we propose taking out “teaching” in front of demonstration.

Working Group Description

  • It was agreed that we need to have a description for our working group and Riahl, Tess, Richard, and Susan agreed to serve on a committee to develop a description for the Popular Education working group. D’Arcy suggested that we be sure to include in the description the concepts of creating new knowledge and challenging power relationships.

Popular Education Resources

  • At last month’s meeting, we talked about creating a committee to research resources to post on the UALE website. There was some conversation as to how that differs from our ability to post resources on our working group page now and if it was necessary to create another Resource link. Tess noted that there is not a good way for ppl to upload materials and offered to create a space on the Popular Education page. She also volunteered to serve as an adjunct to this committee.   No other committee volunteers came forth.
  • Also at last month’s meeting, we discussed the possibility of helping workshop presenters include more Popular Education theory/techniques into their workshop. Guy volunteered to work with presenter upon request and Riahl offered support.

Next steps:

  • Develop proposals to submit to the working group
    • Popular Education introductory workshop (Riahl and Tess)
    • Popular Education application workshop (D’Arcy and Keturah)
  • Develop a description for the Popular Education working group (Riahl, Tess, Richard, and Susan)
  • Submit suggestion to the conference planning committee regarding removing “teaching” in front of demonstration for conference materials (Riahl/Darby)
  • Send out a Doodle poll to determine our next meeting date and time (Riahl/Darby)




UALE Popular Education Working Group


August 11, 2017


  1. Introductions & Agenda Review RIAHL
  • Participants: Riahl (UFE), Darby (WFSE), Annetta (UMass Boston), Susan (UMass Lowell), Darcy (Independent Union Educator), Tess (UMass Boston retired/WILD), Keturah (IBEW), Richard (Postal Workers Union in Ottawa), Janna (UCLA)

2. Getting Popular Education Working Group members on the Conference Planning Committee for 2018 DARBY

  • We have several working group members on the planning committee: Darby Frye (Program Committee), Riahl O’Malley (Language Justice Committee), Bill Shields and Zach Cunningham (Plenary Committee), Jeannette Huezo (Community Grants Committee), and Jerry Levinsky and John Lepley
  • Darby will follow up with Bill and Zach to connect them about plenaries

3. Having a track or slate for Popular Education, as we often have in the past RIAHL

  • Comments:
      1. Clarify: Is the track just those using the methodology or also workshops about popular education?
      2. What about workshops that aren’t popular education but are participatory?
      3. Sub-committee: Richard, Darby, and Riahl will review and resubmit the proposals from last year
      4. Would be great to have a progression in the track- opportunity for coordination in our WG- we could include this intent in our proposals and the titles of our workshops

4. Having longer sessions for popular education- should we propose workshops running over 2 sessions or having one longer session for workshops? DARBY

  • Comments:
      1. We recommend to keep the sessions 1 hour 45 minutes or longer. Darby will bring this proposal forward as a popular education representative on the Program Committee.
      2. We can submit double workshop proposals and see how they go. We should only plan for two knowing that time is limited and we want to accept a variety of proposals
        1. Always possible that some participants may leave half-way through
      3. Working Group sub-committee last year received proposals that seemed to use popular education methodology from the Program Committee and then sent them back ranked and prioritized. We expect this to be the same process this year.
      4. Would we like to elicit a proposal (or more) that specifically takes up popular education itself as a follow up to the Popular Education Basics workshop from 2017?
      5. We will schedule another meeting in September to further discuss proposals and topics for 2018
        1. Suggestion to have conversation over discussion board on the website and/or email ahead of our phone call

5. We could propose having an interactive component in each presentation, workshop, or panel RIAHL

  • Possibility of sending an email to those with proposals accepted offering support for interactive components from a group from our working group
  • To be discussed at the next meeting in September

6. Online curriculum and resource sharing

  • To be discussed at the next meeting in September

7. Next Steps DARBY


  1. There is an opening for a 3rd co-chair if anyone is interested
  2. Subcommittee will re-submit last year’s proposals on call for proposals
  3. Discussion board/email list on proposals ahead of our next meeting
  4. Schedule next meeting on themes and proposals ahead of the proposal deadline- meeting dates in September
  5. Discuss interactive components and curriculum share at next meeting
  6. Send notes to Tess (Darby)
  7. Scheduling next call (Riahl)
  8. Agenda for next call (R & D)


UALE 2016

Attendance: Susan Winning, Riahl O’Malley, Tess Ewing, Steve Schnapp, Don Taylor, Annetta Argyres, Susan Williams, Maureen Lamar, Eric Larson, Jeffery Santos, Corina Crawley, Monique, Lara Skinner, Bill Shields

The working group mission: UALE includes a broad range of people involved in labor education, including union- and community-based educators as well as academics. The Popular Education Working Group will work to ensure that the organization serves the needs of those of us who work in a non-academic setting or who are able to use non-traditional and transformative teaching methods within the academy. We will promote the use of Popular Education methodology in working with adult learners by soliciting proposals for popular education workshops at the UALE conference; sharing techniques, activities and materials; and any other means at our disposal.

Examples of previous activities:

  • Reviewing and recommending workshop proposals
  • Making recommendations of how to organize popular education participation at conference
    • Recommended for 2016 that we reframe the categories of workshops, some of our proposal was approved (demonstration workshop being lumped with teaching demonstration)
  • Sharing curriculum on the website
  • Have lead workshops on “what is popular education?”
  • Some plenaries have been participatory in the past
  • There is also a listserv

Examples of previous proposals:

  • Exchange with educators in Brazil
  • Putting a proposal for a plenary
  • A round table about what popular education is

Observations from previous activities

  • There were many demonstration workshops at this conference
  • There is momentum for popular education in the labor movement and it shows at this conference


  • Continue to clarify categories of workshops and what the working group would recommend
    • Demonstration workshop being new methodology but not necessarily new content
    • How do the tracks show up on the app?
    • There are also proposals that address popular education that don’t necessarily use popular education principles and practices
      • Tess: we should have this offered, just not part of the track
      • Susan Winning: Our track could also include content around what is popular education? That is some pushback that people got, where else would it fit?
      • Susan Williams: It’s important to have these discussions at UALE. I think all labor educators should use popular education
      • Monique: A lot of confusion about this, would be great to have a discussion
      • Eric: Need to have a discussion about those principles and reinterpretation of those principles
      • Corina: I would like to see popular education as a priority at UALE, if you are working with workers starting with experience is essential
      • Lara: Haven’t seen a lot of feedback sessions
      • They have been there, but not at all teaching demonstrations
  • Do a “What is Popular Education?” workshop at UALE 2017?
    • Submit a proposal for a plenary
    • Project South did a great activity with Jobs with Justice in Massachusetts and addressed Montgomery Bus Boycotts through a popular education workshop. Could we do something like that for popular education?
  • Using our meetings to talk more deeply about popular education
    • A visionary exercise with this working group about what would we like to see and how would we like to get there?
    • Tess: some people here don’t necessarily educate workers. Academics need to deliver papers at conferences
    • Is there anything we can do to maintain ongoing conversation?
    • Use some sort of technology to facilitate these conversations

Next Steps:

  • USA-Vietnam Solidarity
    • Tess will send out an email to the working group to solicit curricula. Working group should submit things!
    • Riahl will report our progress
  • Riahl follow up with Keturah and say we can connect people to these online workshops (there is interest in participants)
  • Riahl send minutes to Tess
    • Do it once half-way to the conference
  • Next Meeting
    • Try to set up video call (Lara could help with WebX)
    • Create plan to develop proposal for workshop on popular education
    • Submitting workshop for website
    • Corina offer to folks who are interested consulting for presentation / delivery at future conferences

Riahl O’Malley, Mareen Lemar, Murphy Institute, D’Arcy Martin, Theresa Williams, AUPE, Mille Rodrigues AFGE, Bill Shields, Tess Ewing, Deb Rosenstein, UFCW, Marsha Love, Susan W - notetaker


1. Recap UALE meeting – this agenda came from the Pop ed WG meeting at UALE, please see notes from meeting.

2. Popular Education Plenary – we need to submit a formal plenary proposal if we would like to be involved

  1. Discussion:

Bill – would be good to have a plenary and what we have to offer is substantive; concern is that we need to be mindful of our location and local organization and see if we can highlight people who are using pop ed in their work in the DC area

Deborah – agree with Bill, not sure if this would be part of the plenary; but thought it would be useful at the conference to have people grapple with their hesitations in using pop ed – how can we get people in the room – we don’t’ get deep about why people don’t think it would work in their context

Maureen – has there ever been a plenary in the conference; do we have the same definition, for ex. Is participatory research part of it.

Tess – probably we are not coming from the same definition or same place. We have had plenaries that use techniques that some would define as pop ed. Might be hard to get a plenary

D’Arcy – its only worth doing if it invites people to reflect on their own practice – but we are talking about a strategy or building power together – and would hold to that- don’t just talk about techniques – need to talk about how to build the power in the room together

Riahl – one idea is people reflecting on their own practice, another is engaging local groups who use that lens, incorporating some set of tool into the plenary itself

Susan W – endorse D’Arcy’s point of view

Theresa – there needs to be some recognition or discussion on what we mean by popular education, recognition of the various forms that we use to mobilize and advance workers/social justice issues – we use a variety of educational approaches

Bill – think about the purpose of the plenary – unless it’s linked to something that is ongoing, not sure we will be able to claim plenary space. Plenary is by definition presentational - -how could we address tension that popular education start the the participants

D’Arcy – if we just engage in groups of 25, if we engage in an internal process – we talk about how we can build power

Bill – what is the deadline for putting in a plenary proposal? Bill will find out

B. Some additional thoughts on proposal,

Reflective process with whole conference group would be good – Maureen – good idea, but wouldn’t have time to work on it. Tess – good idea, doesn’t have time to work on it, Deborah – good idea but is it worth it? Are we all on the same page of whether it would be valuable.

Bill – can’t take on being the lead, can be the liaison and advance on the ex bd, but would need other partners to take the lead on the cmte

Bill – we should get in there early, we have an exciting idea, connects with the theme of the conference, we have a good chance.

D’Arcy – if we want to build excitement, we will need to do some participatory research with UALE and building from there.

Theresa – great idea, very light lifter.
Millie – great idea, very light lifter

Riahl – new to UALE, give feedback

Marsha Love –

Bill - -Riahl can talk to her about being part of this

Deb - notes form this call reflecting the draft and if anyone wants to join us that would be great

C. Next steps: D’Arcy and Deborah will draft an outline proposal and it will be sent to the Pop ed WG listserv. Others are welcome to weigh in. Proposal will be submit to the ex board and Bill, as the lisaon will advocate for it. Riahl will talk to Jeanette Huezo to get her input into the proposal.

3. Proposal from Popular Education working group to Conference Committee  regarding number of workshops, option of having “popular education track”, etc.

A. Discussion

    • Susan – Yes
    • Tess – we should advocate very strongly for a track of participatory track of some kind, and engage some that are really popular education
    • Bill – what exactly is a “track” – it means at every given time slot, there is at least one session that is participatory workshop
    • Do we want to guide people into conference them?
    • Tess – we should try to solicit workshop that we think are popular education
    • Deb – de facto, for people who are familiar enough and you get a a WG to back you
    • Tess -- We have in the past taken the role of vetting proposed workshops that have been submitted in general – a useful thing to do, maximized the number of workshop that could have some popular education aspect
    • D’Arcy – sort of see this as the popular education caucus and in support of how this is heading
    • Deborah – perhaps the person will reveal themselves to be a working group member that's also on conference committee? (Did someone already volunteer?)
    • Bill – we need to work with Elise and Labor Heritage foundation – do we need more than participatory techniques – what are we talking about here?

    B. Consensus and next steps:–

    • We will submit by the ex bd meeting and also to the conference cmte a proposal for a participatory track of some kind, and engage some that are really popular education; will get defined a bit more when WG discusses the current format and makes proposal to edit (Elissa and Susan will start)
    • Executive board meeting on May 14th – for call for proposals it would be good to have something – clearly define that there is space in that
    • We need proposal to ex bd – the call should also be bi-lingual – Call Tony to see who else is on the conference cmte
    • Bill – Nov 20-21st mid year meeting – that is when the plenaries are finalized


    Agenda items not discussed – for future call


    C.     Proposal for review about definitions of demonstration workshop and popular education – Elissa and me – for next call


    4.      Discuss ways that we could influence the format of all sessions – do we have a role in advancing pop ed within academic programs/teaching? (discussion) – this could be a roundtable discussion at next year’s conference


    5.      Ideas for workshops for next UALE – deadline likely to be end of this calendar year

    a.     On rights of blind and deaf

    b.     Roundtable on using pop ed in the academy

    c.     Workshops on different pop ed methodologies – a different model/approach each day


    Chair: Tess          

    Here: Tess, Elissa McBride, Manuel Melendez, Nancy Lessin, Milly Rodriguez, Paul McNeil, Howard Kling, Marsha Love, Susan Winning, Maureen Lamar, Riahl O’Malley, Dale Melcher, Anneta Argyres, Eric Larson, Bill Sheilds


    Overview of WG:

    -       WG needs a few new co-chairs and two are stepping back.

    -       Tasks that the working group has been doing:

    • Soliciting and reviewing proposed sessions for the UALE conference
    • Posting of pop ed curriculum on website
    • Impact on UALE conference


    Ideas for next conference workshops

    -       on rights of blind and deaf

    -       roundtable on using pop ed in the academy

    -       workshops on different pop ed methodologies – a different model/approach each day

    -       plenary!

    What would people like this group to do?

    -       clarify workshop/pop ed labels at UALE conference

    -       continue to pick workshops for the UALE conference

    -       do we have a role in advancing pop ed within academic programs/teaching? (discussion) – this could be a roundtable discussion at next year’s conference

    -       we could write up a guiding document for what we mean by a paper, roundtable, panel, workshop, teaching demo vs pop ed workshop (Elissa and Susan W will work on this. Tess and Dale will work on including some basic principles/definitions of pop ed—something to be included in the call for proposals.)

    -       pressure to hold fewer concurrent sessions – do people think the balance was ok this year?

    • Drawing distinction between workshops and pop ed workshops
    • Only one room was set up with round tables; why not set up more rooms this way to accommodate/promote small group discussions
    • Next year in DC we’ll have many more union-based and community-based educators and so may need more workshops
    • Can we include a way for people to identify if they are using pop ed methodologies in their workshops? (concerns about just focusing on methodologies rather than pop ed as a set of principles)

    -       Interest in getting more training on more popular education methodology – next year could we do workshops about pop ed methodology

    -       What efforts have there been to think of the whole conference experience from a pop ed lense?

    • To the extent that they’ve happened, they take place among the Board and the Conference Planning Committee
    • Bill is our Board liaison and will help to take some ideas back to Board (responsible for planning the plenaries), but we need people to be on the Conference Planning committee
    • Take on a plenary – discuss this with the Board (?)
    • Reformat paper sessions to allow for time for analysis and application of paper’s points/learning
    • Get pop ed people onto the Conference Committee to look at the overall structure
    • Have a plenary topic on the role of pop ed in labor education/labor movement/to make change in this setting – “pop ed: what, where, when and why?” – Bill will inject idea of a plenary on pop ed this to the Board with the Pop Ed working group’s promise to run it

    -       What’s our relationship to LRAN? What’s their use of pop ed? Elissa’s insight: lots of overlap of people who are involved; but more focused on idea sharing

    Co-chairs for the committee: Riahl O’Malley & Susan Winning

    New co-chairs will figure out how to hold conference calls.

    Will need the committee to do a few tasks:

    -    develop plenary proposal and, potentially, plenary

    -       develop workshop proposals (see ideas above)

    -       review workshops submitted to conference committee and recommend which to advance

    Popular Education Working Group Meeting - 3/28/14

    Present: Anneta Argyres, Cameron Barron, Dale Melcher, David Neun, Keturah Raabe, Bill Shields, Helena Worthen, Don Taylor (co-chair), Steve Schnapp (co-chair)

    1. Brief introductions followed by a proverbs warm-up activity in which we named some hopes for the Popular Education WG going forward. These included having a broader impact on integrating popular education practices into the conference, developing criteria for conference session proposals to be considered “popular education” and identifying them as such the conference book (with an asterix, for example), and offering an “advanced” workshop on popular education theory.

    2. Reflection on the “Demonstration Workshop” track and other uses of Pop Ed:

        - As in past conferences, the Pop Ed WG reviewed session proposals forwarded by the Conference Committee, and ones the WG solicited. The WG, using a pop ed then made its recommendations for the Demo Workshop track, to the Conference Committee. Some proposals we recommended for other tracks.

        - Some sessions in the “Demo” track used pop. ed., some did not. And some sessions in other tracks, including panel presentations, used pop. ed. practices. There seems to be broadly shared unclarity about the definition of a “demonstration workshop” and the connection to Pop Ed.

        - Several of us heard many positive comments about the sessions that used Pop Ed, particularly from community-based labor educators.

        - There were no sessions on popular education theory or advanced practice, as there have been in the past.

    3. Suggestions for what to do next

        - Have discussions on line about what popular education is. Perhaps we can end up with a summary of this dialogue and a short description of Pop Ed, including basic principles, that we can share.*

        - There are at least 2 members of the Pop Ed WG who are on the 2015 Conference Committee. This is an opportunity to advocate for greater inclusion of popular education principles and practices in the conference, although a balance of presentation methodologies is important. Another suggestion is for the “call for proposals” to be more specific about designating a session as “Pop Ed.”

        - Don and Steve agreed to continue as co-chairs but invited others to step up to replace either or both. We will also tell Tess, the WG’s 3rd co-chair, that she was unanimously re-appointed.

    * Dale will circulate a past discussion thread on popular education, and we will encourage continued online dialogue by asking such questions as: What have we learned about these issues since the original discussion in this thread? What are the elements of popular education that contribute to our “best practices?”

    Popular Education Working Group Call

    Nov 1, 2014

    These are notes, not official minutes. I can’t guarantee I’ve captured everything!

    The second conference call of the UALE Popular Education Working Group took place on November 1, at 1:00pm EDT.

    On the call were: Susan Williams, Corina Crawley, Ruth Needleman, Keturah Raabe, & Tess Ewing. Steve Schnapp joined call at the end.

    We discussed the draft of the “mini-call” for workshops that Tess had put together in accordance with the decision made in our September conference call. Steve asked for an additional sentence about the funds that will be made available to community-based groups to help them attend the conference. Everyone agreed to the draft as amended by the addition of Steve’s sentence.

    Tess agreed to be the contact person (i.e., email address) for people submitting proposals to the Pop Ed WG. She will create a spreadsheet on Google docs and give other WG members access so that we can keep track of what has been submitted.

    We discussed having a subcommittee to vet the proposals, as we have in past years, but we ended the call without having actually taken names of people who would be on the subcommittee.

    We shared what we know so far about who is planning to submit a workshop proposal:

    • From Ruth:

    Demonstration Workshop: Using popular education to help local unions implement genera equity policies: Nina Benjamin, Labour Research Service, Cape Town, South Africa. Over 2-3 years the LRS worked with a number of locals to transform their culture and policies to promote gender equity. These pilots have already been completed and evaluated, and Nina will share the methodology and the materials.

    This is the workshop Ruth had described to us last time. Solidarity Center will pay Nina Benjamin’s way, so it looks as though this is a “go”

    • Tess said she had talked to her former colleagues at UMass Labor Extension, and they may submit a workshop perhaps about popular education.
    • Steve said (after most people had left) that he is encouraging his colleague Jeannette to submit a workshop.
    • Ruth suggested a follow-up on last year’s popular education discussion/workshop. She is going to try to track down the notes from that discussion.

    The phone call ended at about 1:40.

    P.S. Within ½ hour of the “mini-call” for workshops going out, two people expressed interest in proposing workshops: Steve Ashby, on “teaching messaging in union campaigns,” and Sarah Laslett, on best practices for integrating basic workplace rights information in to a variety of education settings and are seeking partners.


    These are notes, rather than official minutes. Highlighted names indicate where someone has taken responsibility for a particular task.

    Popular Education Working Group Notes

    October 18, 2013

    The UALE Popular Education Working Group met on Friday, October 18, by conference call. On the call were: Tess Ewing, Jerry Levinsky, Steve Schnapp, José Soler and Don Taylor.

    Background information: The conference will have 9 sets of 5 concurrent sessions this year. This is fewer than the past (last year, we had 7 concurrent sessions, and before that usually 6). Also, this year, working group meetings will take place in those same concurrent session spots, as opposed to during snatches of “free time”, as in the past. This means that we will have more time for our meetings (a full 2 hours), but it further cuts down on the available slots for concurrent sessions. In the past, the PopEd WG has had control over a full “track” of sessions (i.e., 1 session in each time slot), but this year that seems extremely unlikely. We do not know how many slots we will be allocated, nor whether we will have any role in deciding what workshops or teaching demonstrations to accept other than those submitted by our group.

    Working Group Meeting: Working groups are getting a full 2 hour session for their meetings. We discussed having a discussion topic for our meeting, possibly something along the lines of “Barriers top Using Popular Education” or possibly something like “Using Popular Education to build union/community relationships”. But see below under “workshops”.

    There is a new Working Group forming for community based educators. Since many of them will be popular educators and immigrants, we want to make sure that WG meetings are scheduled so that there is no time conflict among the Pop Ed WG, the new WG and the Immigration/Globalization WG. Steve will contact the Conference Planning Committee about this.

    Workshops: We discussed how to get proposals for workshops/teaching demos for the conference.

    Tess will send out an email to the UALE list serve, the PopEd WG list serve, and the list of community organizations that Steve has, encouraging people to submit workshop proposals—a sort of “mini call for proposals” (Steve will send Tess the community organization list)

    We discussed several concrete possibilities for workshops:

    • Ruth observed a workshop at a Conference on Gender in Brazil on gender and work by a South African woman. The conference was sponsored by the Solidarity Center. She said it was wonderful, and that there was some indication the Solidarity Center might be willing and able to bring the woman to the UALE conference. Ruth will follow up on this possibility,
    • Steve suggested that we contact Monica Bielski Boris, who is working on an updated version of Common Sense Economics for the AFL-CIO. Perhaps a piece of that could be a demonstration workshop. Steve will call Monica.
    • Steve also suggested contacting some of the community groups we are working to bring to the conference. Some of them are doing great popular education. He specifically mentioned CASA Maryland. There is some UALE money for bringing community organizations to the conference, but there is a timing problem because the scholarships won’t be decided until January and the proposals are due in November. Nonetheless, we could try to get some proposals from some of these groups. At the last conference, a group of people, including himself and Guillermo Perez, got together to talk about starting a new Working Group for community-based educators. Steve will follow up with Guillermo about how to go about doing this.
    • We might sponsor a workshop (as opposed to our meeting) that would be a discussion, possibly facilitated by a union person, a community person and a university person, on the subject of using popular education to build union/community/university relations. Or perhaps it would be a popular education workshop on this theme. Whether this topic is a separate workshop, or whether it is folded into our meeting, would depend at least partially on how many conference time slots our Working Group is allotted.

    Where to go from here: We agreed to try to flesh out these various ideas in the next couple of weeks via email, and then re-convene for another conference call in early November. Tess will set up another Doodle poll to find out the best time, and then set up the call.



    Steve Schnapp (United for a Fair Economy)
    Tess Ewing (UALE Retired)
    Susan Winning (UMass Lowell Labor Extension)
    Anneta Argyres (UMass Boston Labor Extension)
    Jenn Sherer (U of Iowa)
    John Lepley (Steelworkers Pittsburgh)
    John Kretzschmar (U of Nebraska)
    Rhonda Rogers (Machinists Training Center)
    Richard Suarez (Machinists Training Center)
    Edgar Moore (U of Nebraska)
    Bill Shields (City College of San Fran)
    Jose Soler (UMass Dartmouth)
    Deborah Rosenstein (UFCW)
    Charles Paidock (Machinists)

    What should this working group (WG) do between conferences?

    • Historically, this WG has taken responsibility for planning "demonstration workshop" and "pop ed" tracks for the UALE conference
    • Ideas of what else we could do between conferences:

    -       convene 2-3 video conference/skype discussions during the year about pop ed applications (theory and practice)

    -       develop budgets for projects: (Proposal due to E-Board by November)

    -       host regional gatherings:

    • Midwest wants to do a regional meeting to share pop ed curriculum later this summer
    • Northern CA did this in the spring; offering to pilot again in fall (UALE gave $100 for food)

    -       organize an international pop ed "exchange" -- a few of us go somewhere else, or bring international pop ed folk(s) here

    -       explore issue of new technologies in education and how we should deal (resist or not…)

    -       sponsor popular theater/Boal fest

    -       solicit finished curriculum on specific topics -- potentially request UALE funds to pay for that development

    -       do periodic (every x months) check-ins via email

    • Convene mini-committee to develop a budget proposal which would be voted on by rest of WG -- committee would work via conference call:

    -       Volunteers: Bill, Susan Winning, Tess Ewing, Don Taylor (volunteered in absentia!)

    -       Will solicit other volunteers through email

    • WG Co-Chairs will take on responsibility to convene periodic discussions (whether via email, video conference, etc.)

    Feedback about posting curricular materials

    • E-Board raised issue of posting curricula in a way that would be searchable, organized…national repository for pop ed/labor education materials
    • Buildthewheel.org is a site that exists and would welcome us soliciting, contributing, posting materials to their site -- we could brand our stuff as UALE
    • What are pros/cons of using a 3rd party to host VS. doing it on UALE website?

    -       Buildthewheel has a searchable capacity / UALE doesn't

    -       Doing it in house helps to drive people to UALE and gives added value to membership/UALE

    -       make sure that UALE logo or tag is added to all posts to Buildthewheel

    -       Buildthewheel has a very broad range of topics, but that could also get UALE more exposure

    -       could also list curricula on UALE website driving people to Buildthewheel to find specific curricula

    -       Buildthewheel has a wide range of curricula, from an activity to a full course; their "quality control" may be quite limited

    -       Reach out to Buildthewheel to see if they will create a sub-section on workers' education

    -       Does Buildthewheel limit to pop ed? Need place to post non-pop ed worker curriculum

    -       UALE doesn't have internal capacity to build own searchable database

    -       how can we push people/programs to write up curricula and post them to UALE or wherever? Maybe ask them.

    -       Curricula do NOT need to be polished to post!

    -       posting video of pop ed activities to YouTube -- and add links to UALE webpage

    • Post individuals' expertise/interests

    Nominees for new WG chairs

    -       Don, Steve and Tess are all willing to continue

    -       Bill would like to offer participation as popular theater point person to team

    -       Steve will do WG web maintenance

    -       officially give feedback to conference committee that this (Wed afternoon/evening) is a great time to run WG meetings


    -       What role can labor educators play to help connect efforts to unions and others?

    -       Occupy Spring raises long-term tensions in our work: can we explore how to address them? politics and opportunities?

    -       Bill Shields: developed six session curriculum "Occupy-Educate-Agitate" -- happy to share curriculum

    Workshop drop

    -       Meet at 8:30 : AA will facilitate continued discussion on 99%Spring