Our 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 works 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 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.

Our work is guided by the following definition of popular education. 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.

Join Us

To learn more about the working group, or to join, please contact one of the Co-chairs.


Darby Frye
Washington Federation of State Employees

Richard Gaboton
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)


Riahl O'Malley
United for a Fair Economy

617.423.2148 ext.127