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 Keturah Raabe will be unable to co-facilitate session as originally planned and has withdrawn session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.