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?”