Using Popular Education With Health Promotion Students in the USA

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Health Promotion International Journal

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Recent publications have called for new approaches to training the next generation of health promotion professionals, for whom effective practice depends on understanding how systemic inequities are created and function and how they can be dismantled. These approaches gain particular urgency in the context of recent trends toward commodification of knowledge at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. Popular education, a liberatory pedagogy, has been used in social movements around the world for decades. In a health promotion context, its use has been associated with increased empowerment and improved health. To explore the potential of popular education (PE) for helping health promotion students develop a systemic analysis of power and privilege and the concrete skills needed to address health and social inequities, we conducted a case study in the context of a community organizing class in a Master's in Public Health curriculum. Analysis of mixed methods data collected from students suggested that PE, with its focus on concrete practices and interactions, is a valid alternative to conventional pedagogy and a useful complement to liberatory pedagogies more common in university classrooms. Application of PE in higher education will require overcoming barriers, including student resistance and institutional pressures that discourage its use.


© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.



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