Popular Education for Water Sustainability: Three Lessons from Reflective Practice
Between them, the authors of this paper have over sixty years experience in water education working in primary and secondary schools, universities, field study centres, professional development programs; and with community, industry, and government groups, focusing on coastal zones and catchments. Over the last three years, they have undertaken a systematic process of personal and dialogic reflection and deliberation on this experience, particularly in the area of popular education. This paper presents three key water education lessons gained from this iterative process and provides examples to justify the sagacity of this choice. First and foremost, popular water educators really need to know their participants, what is important to them, why, and what they know already. Second, popular water educators should give their participants an opportunity to share with others what they have learned about water. Lastly, metaphorically speaking, popular educators need to focus their practice on the head, the heart, and the hands. Knowledge, emotion, and action are dialectically interrelated. Integrating them in popular water education is a challenging yet satisfying task that can have significant outcomes.
Keywords: Popular education, community outreach, watershed management