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Teaching Class to Adults

March 22, 2002, 6-9 pm, Illini Union (on South Woolcott between Polk and Taylor). Demonstration of use of Popular Education techniques to help teachers of adults use the concept of "class" in teaching. Dramatic,
fun, free. Martin is a Union educator from Canada -- Steelworkers, Communication workers, other. Sponsored by the Chicago Center for Working Class Studies.
It's hard, if not impossible, to sort out what is happening today in the US without that famous old concept, ""social class." But outside the left, use of this concept is practically verboten. Teachers, especially, have run up against a wall trying to teach a coherent analysis of our society using the concepts "middle class, upper class, and poor" or "disadvantaged", "underprivileged" or worse yet, "underclass." What do those words mean, actually? They signify something, of course, but it's more likely to be speech patterns, taste in clothing or movies or food, level of education -- and maybe money. And when you mix these terms up with our particular race legacy, the mess is hopeless. What we need to be able to use is the basic classic Marxist (yes) term, "class," as in "ruling class" and "working class," which refers to how people relate to the process of production in the capitalist system.

We had to bring in a Candian -- they're more comfortable with this kind of talk, and even have a National Health system -- to give us a session on how to break through the linguistic barbed wire and make "class" a concept we can function with. The presenter this evening, Friday March 22nd, is D'Arcy Martin who has worked for the Canadian Steelworkers, the Communications Workers, and the Canadian Labour Council. He's a well-known popular educator and author, presently at the University of Ontario. He's also funny and good on his feet. This will be a lively, interactive session that will be useful to teachers and help us all cheer up a bit.



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