Friday, March 25, 2011

Revolutionary Pedagogy in Action: Mexico's Rural Teaching Schools. East Coast Mini-Tour, April 1-11, 2011

I'm excited to announce my upcoming mini-tour.  From April 1-11, I'll be speaking in Sarasota, Baltimore, and Philadelphia about Mexico's rural teacher training schools (escuelas normales rurales in Spanish).  Mexican teachers' public enemy number one, Elba Ester Gordillo, refers to the schools as "guerrilla breeding grounds."  She's wrong, but she and the rest of Mexico's power elite are afraid of the schools because they train teachers to be community organizers, to help rural towns demand their rights and combat poverty.

Event Dates:

Saturday, April 2, 2:30pm: I'll be speaking on the rural teacher training schools at the All Power to the Imagination! Conference at the New College in Sarasota, FL.  I'm speaking as part of the Institute for Anarchist Studies' Anarchist Theory Track.
RSVP for the conference on Facebook, and share it with your friends!

Thursday, April 7, 7pm at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse in Baltimore, MD.
Red Emma's is located at 800 St. Paul Street.
RSVP for the talk on Facebook, and share it with your friends!

Monday, April 11, 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books and Records in Philadelphia, PA. 
The Wooden Shoe is located at 704 South Street.
RSVP for the talk on Facebook, and share it with your friends!

Revolutionary Pedagogy in Action: Mexico's Rural Teaching Schools

In the 1920s, Mexico’s revolutionary government created normales rurales (rural teaching schools) to train teachers to “bring education to the most marginalized and distant places in every state in the country and to offer a dignified form of life to peasants.” Rather than simply teaching students reading, writing, and math, rural teachers must also “assist in the organization of the populace to improve its quality of life and work on projects for social development” as well as “contribute to the struggle against imperialism and the nation’s bourgeoisie.”

The Mexican Federation of Socialist Peasant Students, the semiclandestine organization that coordinates the nation’s network of seventeen normales rurales, believes that providing carefully screened applicants with explicitly socialist, anti-imperialist, and antiracist education is what has maintained the normales rurales’ revolutionary project, and has protected it from the infiltration and co-optation that has derailed all other government-funded revolutionary education projects in Mexico. This presentation will cover the history and philosophy of the normales rurales as well as some of their most infamous graduates. It will also provide illustrative details about particular normales rurales’ struggles along with tactics to defend themselves against the neoliberal government that threatens to destroy them.

Kristin is a freelance journalist covering militarization, social movements, human rights, and the drug war in Latin America. She is the Security Sector Reform Resource Centre’s Latin America blogger, a regular contributor to Upside Down World, and a former NACLA research associate. Her articles have appeared in the Huffington Post, IPS, Counterpunch, Telesur, Upside Down World, Rebelión, Left Turn, the Indypendent, Por Esto!, and the News (Mexico). She has appeared on Al-Jazeera, Democracy Now!, Radio Mundo (Venezuela), Morning Report (New Zealand), and various Pacifica radio programs.

"As long as poverty exists, the rural teaching schools will have a reason to exist." 


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