In April 2016, a group of students and community participants completed the Teaching Democracy training on popular education. Teaching Democracy is a training and web platform for Tufts students, faculty, and community partners to build their capacity in popular and community-based education methods. Its goal is to build capacity for a community of popular and community-based educators and to provide resources for those seeking to integrate popular education practices into their teaching. Teaching Democracy is hosted by the Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and supported by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and a Tufts Innovates grant from the Office of the Provost.
Popular and community-based education methods arise from community organizing and empowerment practices, particularly with marginalized groups. As articulated by one of its founders, Paolo Freire, popular education is “an educational approach that collectively and critically examines everyday experiences and raises consciousness for organizing and movement building, acting on injustices with a political vision in the interests of the most marginalized.”
Over the 2-day training, 9 students and 12 community participants from 4 partner organizations reflected on their own experiences with education, learned about the principles and framework of popular education, and applied these lessons through practice and interactive workshops.
In November 2016, more than 50 Tufts students and faculty and community partners gathered for a symposium to share key learnings from the pilot training and discuss how to support the use of popular education at Tufts and in our communities.
For more information, resources and curriculum on the Teaching Democracy project, visit the website https://teachingdemocracyblog.wordpress.com.