POPULAR EDUCATION INFORMATION
CEPEHRG believes in educating through programs that focus on using popular education and the popular theatre methodology of learning to reach all participants in our programs. Popular Education involves giving people the tool to express themselves through many different forms, including the creation of their own poems, rap, role-plays, workshops, fish bowl, drama/theatre pieces, and through telling their stories. In this way, CEPEHRG is able to reach youth in a way that they will learn the most and teach others.
Popular Education aims for a better understanding of issues, as it allows participants to use what are called “the five different learning heads”, which show the amount of information we understand and retain with different ways to learn. This model, attributed to the Bob Hale Youth College for Social Justice Handbook, shows that when we listen, we retain only 20% of what is told us; when we see, only 30%; when we hear and see we retain 50% of the material; when we hear, see, and talk 70%; but when we hear, see, talk, and do we understand and retain 90% of the information passed on. Our goal is to have all participants in our programs hear, see, talk, and do, so they understand and remember the information they are taught to the best of their ability.
CEPEHRG also uses the Spiral Model (Bob Hale Youth College for Social Justice Handbook) as a way of understanding education. The Spiral Model suggests that learning begins with the experience and knowledge of participants.
After participants have shared their experience (whether it be prior experience or the participants’ experience from the activity at hand), they can look for patterns and analyze that experience. New information and theory can be collectively created (through facilitated discussion), or added by outside resource people. Once an issue or problem has been analyzed, it is important to practice new skills, strategize and plan for action so that the analysis is not passive. The Spiral Model is an important part of the popular education methodology that CEPEHRG holds as one of it’s core teaching methods.
Popular education is a teaching methodology that comes from a Brazilian educator and writer named Paulo Freire. Freire designed popular education for the poor and politically disempowered people of Brazil. Popular education is neither the formal education that is found in many schools, nor the informal education that we receive from living.
It is rather a process aiming to empower people who feel marginalized socially and politically to take control of their own learning, and to effect social change. For these reasons, CEPEHRG sees popular education as a key means of reaching out to the marginalized populations of sexual minorities in Ghana. Through popular education, we are all teachers and learners, and we all facilitate one another’s learning and help each other grow in understanding. By empowering our peer educators to lead discussions and workshops in their communities, we hope that both participants and PEs come away with a better understanding of the issues they face daily.
As the goal of popular education is to lead to action for social change, the process must extend beyond the workshop. It is hoped that participants will return to their own groups and share the experience and thoughts from the workshop with others for further critique, strategy and applied action within the groups and daily living.
Popular education then is a process, continually moving through the cycles to gain better understanding and more effective action. When using popular education it is important to keep the principles in mind, as it is the goals of popular education and not simply ‘experiential’ activities that empower.
For more information about Popular Education, please visit Popular Education Now!, a resource used for the information on this page.