Educating for Action

A Curriculum for Social Activists

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We live at a time when the competitive, capitalist model of action has eclipsed all other contemporary social and economic models and threatens the greater cooperative good of society. Neoliberalism is an attempt to reimagine governance in an age of mass democratic policies by its intention to inoculate capitalism against the threat of democracy.

Education for Action: A Curriculum for Social Activists sees social action as a vital vehicle in challenging this intense individualistic, managerial and competitive ethos. Such action is a collective, transformative response to capitalism which combines local activism, community development and the advocacy of social, political and economic rights to help committed citizens initiate, stimulate and support social change at both local and global levels.

The book explains the methods, instruments, theories and practices that help educators encourage activists to build power amongst concerned individuals using a curriculum that emphasises the importance of critical theory and which is accessible to everybody and rooted in their community. The author also stresses the vital role of education in helping activists resist the ideologies, actions and slogans imposed on society by authoritarian powerholders while simultaneously regenerating grass-roots politics and its belief in the viability of collective solidarity and social activism.

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Roger Hopkins has a degree and teaching diploma from the University of Wales and has taught in colleges of further education, technical and higher education. He has published widely on social action, community development and adult education.
Introduction
 1 What Are You? The Case of Cabo Verdeans

1 Social Action and Its Threatened Future
 1 Social Action Characteristics
 2 Affective Intelligence, Social Action and Social Movements
 3 Social Action under Attack
 4 Neo Liberal Attitudes
 5 A Collective Response

2 Common Sense: The Driver of Social Action?
 1 Characteristics of Common Sense
 2 Common Sense and Culture
 3 Common Sense Durability: Its Drawbacks and a Short History
 4 Some Common-Sense Thinking Examples
 5 Theory and Hostility
 6 Organic Intellectuals and Common Sense
 7 Neoliberal Language
 8 Gramsci’s Relevance

3 Studying and Thinking: A Critical Curriculum
 1 John Dewey’s Ideas
 2 The Seeking Curriculum – A Counterweight
 3 Reflective Thinking and Group Exercises
 4 Countering Compartmentalism
 5 Systems Thinking – A Group Process
 6 The Cynefin Framework
 7 An Overview

4 Critical Thinking and Other Thought Processes
 1 Why Critical Thinking?
 2 Critical Thinking and Rationality
 3 Biases, Fake News and Power
 4 Thought Processes of a Tutor
 5 Five Exercises to Improve Critical Thinking
 6 An Overview of the Process
 7 Group Thinking Processes

5 Types of Talk: Conversation and Dialogue
 1 Positive Conversation
 2 Good Conversation
 3 A Frenchman and Conversation
 4 Generating Effective Communication – Dialogue vs. Discussion
 5 Getting Started
 6 Deeper Listening and Thinking
 7 Speech Processes and Metaphors
 8 Task vs. Dialogue Process
 9 Summing Up
 10 A Personal Example
 11 Dialogue, Technology and Democracy

6 Questioning, Acting and Framing
 1 The Paul-Elder Model: Some Questions
 2 More Questions, Questions …
 3 Generative Themes
 4 Goffman’s Frames
 5 Replacing Frames – With Other Frames
 6 Four Activities

7 Informal Settings and Authentic Language
 1 Informal Settings
 2 Authentic and Inauthentic Language
 3 Three Validity Claims
 4 Bullshit
 5 Challenging Bullshit
 6 Summing Up

8 Formal and Informal Language
 1 Language and Codes
 2 Formal and Casual Language
 3 Playing Bingo
 4 Using Clichés
 5 Clichés, Banality and Evil
 6 Tags and Lies

8 Formal and Informal Language
 1 Language and Codes
 2 Formal and Casual Language
 3 Playing Bingo
 4 Using Clichés
 5 Clichés, Banality and Evil
 6 Tags and Lies

9 Paying Attention
 1 Pancakes and Attention
 2 Some Relevant Questions – Or Not?
 3 Attention Control – An Employee’s Warning
 4 Sharing, Space and Time
 5 Redirecting Attention
 6 Concentrating
 7 Listening to Learn
 8 A Circle Exercise – Individual and Group Attention
 9 Multitasking

10 Storytelling
 1 Telling Stories
 2 Giving Feedback
 3 Levinas’s Ideas
 4 “Engaged” Stories
 5 Keeping Hope Alive
 6 Political Stories
 7 The Uses of History
 8 Some Welsh Examples

11 Leadership and Group Development
 1 Why Leaders?
 2 Leadership Styles and Situations
 3 A Group Leadership Grid
 4 Small Groups
 5 Facilitating Meetings – Some Principles
 6 More Suggestions for Groups
 7 The Circle of Voices Exercise
 8 Team Talking
 9 Two More Exercises
 10 Summing Up

12 Social Action Practices
 1 Action Practices and Strategies
 2 Overview

13 Challenging Power
 1 Types of Power
 2 Castells’s Grounded Theory of Power
 3 A Pioneering Exemplar
 4 Power and Politics
 5 A Dynamic, Positive Force?
 6 Are the Net and Old Protest Habits Enough?
 7 Students Are Activists, Too

Postscript: Covid-19 and Beyond

References
Index
Activists, adult educators, community and voluntary group members, undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in social action, community regeneration, citizenship, social policy, organisational learning, human resource development, politics and participative democracy.
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