Activist education is conducted by and with activists, is openly interested in the processes of change, and utilises educational methods that bring about change toward social justice. Activist education builds a sense of personal agency in the learning environment.
We use the expression ‘activist education’ to describe our work. This has implications not just for what we consider important for community organisers to learn, but how we believe adults learn most effectively. We’ve facilitated discussions and workshops with other social movement trainers and facilitators to explore just what might be involved in working as activist educators.
Activist education is a key theme of our research and resource development. We refer to our activist education workshops as ‘educating-the-educator (or ed2) to consciously distinguish them from ‘train-the-trainer’ work. We believe that training is just one form of education, which more often describes competency-based learning that promotes one ‘right’ way of doing things. The kind of education we are interested in consciously builds people’s own theory and practice (praxis) of education for social change. For more on the educational principles and practices (or pedagogy) that guide our work, see our Activist Education page.
Share and develop understandings of the philosophy and practices of activist education;
Introduce participants to activist education techniques and tools, and provide a supported space for practice and critique; and
Provide safe and supportive spaces to challenge and ‘stretch’ educators to further develop their activist education skills and confidence.
Key elements and tools
Our ed2 work is inspired by traditions of popular education, experiential and empowered learning and informal community education. Key elements of our ed2 work include:
- Understanding education traditions and theories, and the difference between the ‘banking model’ of education and other forms of education;
- Exploring educational processes and techniques;
- Planning and designing experiential learning with the Spiral Model and other action-learning cycles;
- Learning styles and principles of adult learning;
- Facilitation styles and techniques, including co-facilitation; and
- Real-life and supported practice
Who would benefit?
Ed2 is for people who facilitate workshops and other learning opportunities with adults engaged in community action or those with an interest in doing so.
If you’re interested in exploring activist education theory and practice and building your skills in this area, please contact us.