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Dinámicas/Movement Building Activities for Popular/People’s Education Booklet

Popular/people’s education (PE) is a philosophy and methodology for education and organizing that has been used around the world for generations. One of the main ideas of popular education is that we all learn and accomplish more together when we feel a sense of trust with the people around us. One method used in PE to build trust are social learning games. In Spanish they are called dinámicas. In English, they can be called “movement-building activities” (MBAs). This name has a double meaning. Many MBAs involve physical movement. They also help to create a social movement for justice.

Unlike the “icebreakers” used in the U.S., dinámicas/MBAs are used intentionally with a specific purpose. They can be short or long, simple or complicated, funny or more serious. Some of the dinámicas included in this booklet came from work in El Salvador in the 1980s. Many of them are also included in a book called, Técnicas Participativas para la Educación Popular (Participatory Techniques for Popular Education) published by Alforja, a Costa Rican publisher of materials for popular education, as well as Games for Actors and Non-Actors by Augusto Boal. This booklet was refined and revised in 2017 by Beth Poteet of the Multnomah County Health Department, with input from various groups of participants. It has been further revised in 2021 with input from Teresa Campos-Dominguez, Pennie Jewell and Victoria Adewumi.

Over the years, we have learned a number of things. One is that participating in dinámicas/MBAs can be scary for some participants at first. Therefore, we always invite participation, and never force it. To help people feel more comfortable engaging, we usually do a welcome and introductions first, as well as sharing the objectives and agenda for a session. Only then do we invite people to participate in the dinámica/MBA. Finally, we have learned it is important to specify that dinámicas/MBAs can be adapted for different physical abilities. For example, many dinámicas that involve movement can be done sitting or standing. It’s really important to support all participants to choose an appropriate level of activity.

We hope that you will enjoy the dinámicas/MBAs in this booklet and use them often!

Download Dinámicas/Movement Building Activities for Popular/People’s Education PDF

2021_Dinamica-Movement Building Activity Booklet_updated
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