Popular education is a highly effective strategy for sharing information, building skills and developing leadership. In a health promotion context, popular education helps people analyze the root causes of ill health and create healthier and more just communities.

The Community Partnerships & Capacity Building program teaches a variety of groups to use popular education for health promotion and other purposes. Participants become familiar with the underlying philosophy of popular education and learn to use key popular education methods, such as the following:

  • Brainstorming
  • Sociodramas (social skits)
  • Cooperative learning
  • Role plays
  • Dinámicas (educational games)

What Is Popular Education?

Popular education is based on the idea that, whether we are farmworkers, doctors, waitresses or lawyers, we all know a lot as a result of our life experience. Therefore, educators and organizers should always start with what people already know and build on it.

It is most closely associated with the literacy instruction methods of Brazilian Paulo Freire, and has been adapted for use in health education and many other fields.

Learning Objectives

(Varies depending on the group and workshop length).

  • Understand the sources, goal, principles and values of popular education
  • Be able to use several popular education methods and understand how those methods support and embody the principles and values of popular education
  • Understand and be able to use the action-reflection-action (or practice-theory-practice) circle in popular education


A typical agenda for a day-long workshop might look like this:

  • Introduction
  • Brainstorm: What do we already know about popular education?
  • Radio Play: History of Popular Education
  • Simulation: Planning and Preparing a Class
  • Sociodrama/Problem Posing Activity
  • Cooperative Learning Activity
  • Learning Loom Lesson Planning
  • Evaluation
  • Conclusion

Workshop Schedule

Registration for these workshops has closed.

  • February 12, 2020, 9am - 5 pm - Lloyd District
  • May 20, 2020, 9 am - 5 pm - Location TBD

Related Documents

Popular Education Fact Sheet (21.26 KB)
Popular Education Booklet (749.08 KB)
Dinámica Booklet (76.76 KB)


  • Wiggins, N. (2011). Critical Pedagogy and Popular Education: Towards a Unity of Theory and Practice. Studies in the Education of Adults, 43, 34-49.
  • Wiggins, N. (2011). Popular Education for Health Promotion and Community Empowerment: A Review of the Literature. Health Promotion International. doi:10.1093/heapro/dar046.

Contact Us

Beth Poteet, Partnerships Coordinator
503-314-3136, beth.poteet@multco.us