Democratic Education for Social Change

On Tuesday, September 9, we had an affirming and empowering workshop with the clinicians, educators, and staff at the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT) in Greenfield, MA.

NELCWIT recently received a grant to develop an economic empowerment program for the women who used NELCWIT’s services. As part of this grant, they approached us about developing a workshop for all of their staff about popular and participatory education.

Working with them, we created a half-day workshop that explored the history of the pedagogy, with a specific focus on how it has been used by community-based organizations and social change movements.

We talked about applying the principles of participatory education to a program that works with women who are dealing with domestic and sexual abuse, and within the community where NELCWIT does prevention education and other related programs.

By the end of the workshop, NELCWIT staffed had laid the foundation for a new training program, a revamped interview process for new employees that would include elements of, and questions about, popular education, and a plan for how to integrate popular education into their perpetrator education program.

TESA’s workshop on popular education was interactive and engaging. As a Child & Family Advocate at a domestic violence and rape crisis center, it inspired me to continue to build more participatory practices into all of the work I do with teens and families. The workshop was also a good reminder of how important it is to ground my work in educational strategies that challenge power structures and view everyone as both a learner and a teacher.
—Madeleine Gorman

Partnering with an organization on the frontlines of making community change was incredibly empowering and educational for the TESA members who facilitated this workshop. In short, working with NELCWIT was inspiring, energizing, validating—we definitely hope to work with them again soon.

Want to learn how democratic education can powerfully transform your workshops and organization? Get in touch with us to set up a free one-hour consultation!

(Image: NELCWIT Executive Director Barbara Drew-Rivera)

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