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About the Pacific Asia Resource Center course

"Popular Education for Movement Building" or マットの英語でデモクラシー(仮)

I will be teaching a course at PARC's Freedom School in Tokyo, Japan, this May. The course is six sessions, from May to July, 2008. The cost (which may change) is 15,000 yen. The maximum number of participants is 15 people. Contact PARC to register.

It is an English course, but the subject of the class is unique. Here is the course description from PARC, followed by my description of the course in English:
Learning Democracy through English


民主主義教育(popular education)という運動の手法が世界中の草の根運動家の間で広まっています。その手法とは異なる立場・意見の人びとを民主主義的に合意形成に導き、効率的に活動を行なうためのものです。このクラスではディスカッションやワークショップなどを多く取り入れた参加型形式でそれを英語で学びます。最後には学んだことを受講生自身で冊子にまとめる予定です。その手法を使ってボランティアや社会的活動を行ないたいとお考えの方、または教育の現場に携わっている人向けのクラスです。普段の活動で英語をお使いでない方にとってもその手法はきっと役に立つでしょう。

The course -- which I think of as "Popular Education for Movement Building" -- has three goals:

* To share teaching techniques that I have found useful for helping people organize in a way that is democratic and participatory. These techniques have been used by people doing popular education in many different countries and movements.

* To model those techniques by using them to look at our own lives and experiences. We will learn the techniques by using them. And we will learn about "popular education" -- what is it, what makes it different from other forms of education -- by practicing it.

* To start a dialogue with activists about popular education and how it can be used in people's activism in Japan and internationally. If there is interest, that dialogue may continue after the course is done. Maybe we can start a new course at PARC Freedom School, maybe we can create a working group, maybe there is some other way.

We will do all of this in English, but the focus will be on the learning techniques and the content of our discussions. We will use English as a tool we use to share, discuss, debate, etc.

The course is mixed level. People who speak a lot of English will be encouraged to use only English. Beginners can use both English and Japanese (other languages are welcome too). One challenge for the class participants will be how best to work across the different levels of English skills.

The course is very short -- only six sessions -- but I hope participants will leave the course with many new teaching techniques they can use in their work, with a basic understanding of popular education (and lots of questions for further study!), and with a positive experience of popular education.

I hope that they will develop their English skills in practice, becoming more comfortable talking about work, activism, and education in English.

And I hope that we will start a dialogue about popular education and movement building that will continue and grow.