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Awareness, attitudes and actions of Peru Project participants Ryeburn, Barb Jan 31, 2014

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Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        1         Awareness, attitudes and actions of Peru Project participants Informal learning through teacher solidarity Barb Ryeburn  Graduating Paper EDST 590 University of British Columbia Jan. 31, 2014 Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        2 Table of Contents Abstract                     5 Introduction                               6 Purpose                        9 Literature Review                      11 Methods                   27  Methodological framework                           27  Sampling                  28  Data collection                 29  Data analysis                                                                                   31  Maintaining a reflexive stance throughout the research process           33 Ethical considerations                                34  Language                  34  Insider research                 35  Positionality of the researcher               35  Confidentiality                  36 Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        3 Trustworthiness                  36 Findings                   37  Research participants                 37  Learning goals                 39  Nature of learning                 41  Learning related to professional development             44  Learning related to public education               47  Learning related to teachers? unions               61  Attitudes towards unions                66  Actions taken in response to learning               71 Discussion                   79  Variations in learning                 80  Factors contributing to variations in learning                83  Variations in actions                 89  Features of social movement unionism              92 Implications                   98 References                 106         Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        4 List of tables Table 1: Participants? learning goals                40 Table 2:  Nature of learning                 41 Table 3: Learning related to professional development             46 Table 4: Previous perceptions of public education               49 Table 5: Learning related to public education              52 Table 6: Learning related to teachers? unions              62 Table 7: Attitudes towards unions                67 Table 8: Union involvement before Peru Project participation             72 Table 9: Actions resulting from Peru Project participation             73 Table 10: Factors influencing union involvement               78 Table 11: Specific recommendations for the Peru Project           102            Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        5 Abstract  This research investigates the changes in knowledge, attitudes and actions related to teachers? unions and the defense of public education that emerge for workshop facilitators through participation in the Peru Project, a solidarity initiative of the British Columbia Teachers? Federation and the Peruvian national teachers? union. Interpretivist, feminist and decolonizing epistemologies guided this qualitative research, which considered learning through the theoretical lenses of Social Movement Unionism, Social Movement Learning and Libertarian Education. Thematic analysis was applied to examine data collected from semi-structured interviews with three Peruvian and three British Columbian Peru Project workshop facilitators. The degree to which Peru Project participation contributed to participants? increased awareness of threats to public education, improved attitudes towards their unions, and increased engagement in activities in defense of public education differed between British Columbian and Peruvian participants. A number of factors contributed to these variations, including the nature and scope of learning opportunities provided during the Peru Project, support for democratic member participation, participants? awareness of project goals, and their pre-existing perceptions of public education and their union. Application of recommendations based on these findings could improve the outcomes of the Peru Project and similar solidarity projects and allow participants to engage more fully in Social Movement Unionism. Findings suggest the advantage of delivering professional development through teachers? unions? international solidarity programs as well as the potential of such projects to contribute to a wide scale movement in defense of public education.    Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        6 Introduction  According to Samora Moises Machel, Mozambique's first president after liberation, "International solidarity is not an act of charity. It is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives. The foremost of these objectives is to aid the development of humanity to the highest level possible" (BCTF, 2006-2013). The British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) International Solidarity Program is involved in a number of acts of solidarity that unite British Columbian teachers with teachers from Latin American and African countries. One of these activities is the Peru Project.  The Peru Project offers weeklong English teaching methodology and English language enhancement workshops each summer for teachers in Peru. This BCTF funded project was initiated in response to the request of Julia Enriquez, an executive member of the Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores en la Educaci?n del Peru, the Peruvian national teachers union (SUTEP), who was impressed with reports on a similar project in Cuba (MacRae, 2008). The official goal of the project is to offer professional development opportunities for Peruvian teachers. However, less official goals include increasing Peruvian teachers? support for and involvement in SUTEP by raising awareness of the role that this union plays in providing professional development and increasing BCTF and Peruvian teachers? involvement in their unions? support of public education (Ryeburn, 2010).  I began my involvement in the Peru Project in the summer of 2009, when I joined four British Columbian teachers in the delivery of English teaching methodology and English enhancement workshops for Peruvian teachers in Lima and Piura. I found this to be an extremely rewarding learning experience. Firstly, I was able to become a more skilled and confident workshop facilitator. I also learned a great deal from Peruvian teachers. While my initial Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        7 understanding of the goal of the Peru Project was that of providing professional development opportunities for teachers, this perception quickly evolved as I interacted with Peruvian teachers. Many of the Peruvians whom I met were extremely competent and skilled teachers. My workshops soon turned into a sharing of ideas, in which I learned as much from my Peruvian colleagues as they did from me. At the same time, I began identifying some shared challenges faced by Peruvian and British Columbian teachers. Although the situation in Peru was more severe than in British Columbia, similar changes in government policies were responsible for comparable challenges to our work in the public school system, including increased class size, decreased funding, and increasingly challenging classroom compositions due to large numbers of students from higher socio-economic backgrounds moving to private schools. Peruvian teachers told us stories of vilification by the government and by the media that echoed the experiences of British Columbian teachers. One difference, however, was that the majority of Peruvian teachers expressed a lack of trust in their union executive. As a result of government measures, union dues are not automatically deducted from paycheques. Consequently, SUTEP, the national teachers' union, is only able to fund a small number of executive members, resulting in very limited union support for teachers. This, coupled with a negative portrayal of SUTEP in the media, has contributed to teachers? low levels of support for their union. In response to this situation, the Peru Project facilitators run sessions in which participants discuss their impressions of SUTEP and make recommendations on how their union could better support teachers. BCTF members also discuss the role that SUTEP plays in making professional development accessible to teachers through the Peru Project, and encourage Peruvians to become involved in their union by participating in teacher-led professional development activities with their colleagues. Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        8  Since this first year, the Peru Project has expanded to include up to eight British Columbian and Peruvian workshop facilitators. Each Peruvian teacher is paired up with one or two teachers from the BCTF to deliver teaching methodology workshops. While BCTF participants develop workshop plans before coming to Peru, Peruvian workshop leaders, who are familiar with the specific needs of Peruvian teachers, are encouraged to contribute their ideas and adapt the workshop to meet these needs. This collaborative planning process provides opportunities for BCTF and Peruvian participants to learn from each other. Over the course of the first week, Peruvian teachers deliver an increasing proportion of the workshop until they feel confident to act as independent facilitators. Peruvian facilitators also participate in a workshop aimed at developing their skills as facilitators, in which they develop and practise delivering a language enhancement workshop. In the second week of the program, teams made up of Peruvian and British Columbian teachers move to several different sites, where each member delivers her workshops independently. It is hoped that through this process, Peruvian facilitators will be ready to facilitate professional development in their communities with the support of SUTEP. In supporting teacher led professional development, the Peru Project contributes to one of SUTEP?s key strategies in defending public education, that of developing alternative pedagogies through teacher collaboration. This is discussed in greater detail in the literature review.  Through my master's degree program in Adult Learning and Global Change, I carried out research examining the correspondence of the work of the BCTF International Solidarity Program with Social Movement Unionism. I also learned about a number of adult learning theories that may apply to the learning occurring through Social Movement Unionism and their implications for learning in an increasingly globalized context. Two adult learning theories, Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                        9 Social Movement Learning and Libertarian Education, involve coalitions of participants at the national, regional or global level whose learning occurs through the praxis of developing and carrying out actions in response to challenges associated with the neoliberal policies of globalization. In considering implications of globalization on my own practice, I began to wonder whether the Peru Project corresponds to Social Movement Unionism and if the learning supported by participation in the project shares features of Social Movement Learning and Libertarian Education.   Purpose   As its first objective, this research examines the informal learning that occurs through Peru Project participation. While an objective of the Peru Project is bi-directional education around teaching methodologies, this is not the principal focus of this study. This research examines the other types of learning that occur within the context of the Peru Project, specifically related to the work of the union and the challenges faced by public education. The second objective of this research is to assess whether the learning that occurs impacts teachers' support for and involvement in their union and its struggle to defend public education. During the three weeks spent preparing and delivering workshops, Canadian and Peruvian facilitators have many opportunities to share experiences through informal interaction and to take on leadership roles. In her study on worker exchanges between Canadian and Latin American steel workers, Marshall (2009) identified that informal interaction between Northern and Southern workers can provide opportunities for raised awareness of links between work and life-based challenges and the larger political context. This change in awareness, as well as the involvement of union members in leadership roles, can encourage member involvement and support of their Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         10 unions (Lambert, 1988). The types of learning identified by Marshall, including increased understanding of globalization, a disposition towards North-South solidarity, and networking and presentation skills, provide a starting point to investigate the learning that emerges from the Peru Project and the impact of Peru Project participation on participants' knowledge, attitudes and involvement in their union and its activities in support of public education.  The third objective is to discuss the implications of the findings for the BCTF with regards to continuing support for the Peru Project and similar activities. This objective is associated with the possibility of reductions in funding to the International Solidarity Program. Some members have suggested this measure as a response to financial constraints on the BCTF resulting from loss of BCTF revenue, due to teacher lay-offs, expenditures on court challenges to government measures, and mandatory deduction increases for pension reserve funds (personal email from L. Kuehn, Dec. 6, 2012).  This research will examine the nature of the learning that occurs for Peruvian and British Columbian Peru Project facilitators and identify the theoretical foundations of the learning that occurs. In accordance with this purpose, the following research questions will be investigated: ? The overarching research question is: what, if any, praxis, defined as knowledge in the form in increased awareness leading to action, emerges for BCTF and SUTEP Peru project facilitators as a result of participation in the Peru Project? This will be broken down into three research questions: o 1.What, if any, learning, do Peru Project facilitators identify in relation to: ? a: challenges to public education, in the Peruvian, Canadian and global  contexts?  ? b: perceptions of and attitudes toward their own union?  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         11 o 2. In what ways, if any, do Peru Project facilitators act on this increased awareness with regards to: ? a. the challenges to public education? ? b. participation in union activities? o 3. What are the implications of the research findings for the BCTF in terms of continuing support of the Peru Project and similar projects?   Literature review  A brief discussion of neoliberal policies and their implications for public education provides a foundation for understanding the goals of the Peru Project and the areas of learning investigated in this research. Poole (2007) defines neoliberalism as ?a political ideology grounded in an unshakeable belief in unbridled markets as the source of all benefits for a society and its citizens? (p. 1). According to Robertson (2008) the three principal features of neoliberalism are minimization of the state?s control of its economy through deregulation of markets and reduction of corporate taxes; application of private sector models such as quality assurance, choice and competition to public services; and the resulting privatization of public services, which reduces state expenditures. Neoliberal policies have since been adopted by most countries and have become, according to Clawson (2008), "the most pervasive social system to have ever existed in the history of the world" (p. 207).  A review of the literature provides ample evidence of neoliberalism?s implications for public education. Various authors provide evidence of the shift away from the traditional notion of education as a public good toward education as a private good. According to Robertson (2008), neoliberal educational policies are based on a conception of education as a highly Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         12 profitable commodity.  Firstly, the role of education has evolved to that of developing a workforce to meet the needs of the global economy (Robertson). This change in conceptions is used to justify decreased investment in teacher training programs, especially in developing countries, where minimally trained teacher technicians with lower salaries are deemed capable of teaching students the minimal literacy and numeracy skills required to meet workplace needs (Zeichner, 2008). Kuehn (2008) identifies another implication of neoliberal educational policies. Inclusion of education as a tradable commodity under free trade agreements has reduced the ability of the state to meet society?s specific needs. Kuehn?s ?flattening? (p. 54) of the education system refers to foreign companies? increasing involvement in development of standardized curricula, resources and assessment tools and the operation of schools in foreign countries. Finally, Poole (2007) describes several negative implications of the application of private sector models, which consider education as a commodity, schools as suppliers and parents and students as consumers. Based on this conception, private and charter schools and specialized academies are justified as a means to offer ?choice? to consumers; cuts in funding are applied in the name ?efficiency? and ?profit/cost ratios?; and standardized testing has been introduced, as a means to improve accountability and help parents to make informed choices. Negative effects of these tests include threats to the professional identity of teachers, a narrowing of teaching focus to the content of these tests, and increased inequity as parents with the financial means to do so move their children to private schools. Many authors provide evidence of neoliberal policies aimed at weakening teacher unions around the globe, which Weiner (2012) characterizes as a coordinated and well-funded attack. According to Weiner (2008), teachers? unions are a specific focus of neoliberal attacks because their organizational structures and resources, their awareness of threats these policies pose to public Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         13 education, and their ability to inform the public of these issues due to their close contact with parents, make them a powerful potential threat to neoliberalism. Poole (2007) provides specific examples of policies targeting teachers and their unions. The British Columbian government has taken several measures aimed at reducing collective bargaining rights, including: the designation of teaching as an essential service, which has limited teachers? right to strike; the imposition of collective agreements; and the loss of rights to bargain class size and composition. Poole also provides examples of government measures that vilify teacher unions. These include blaming teachers for poor standardized test results, and thus holding them responsible for weaknesses in public education, and attempting to distance teachers from their unions by referring to unions as entities that are separate from teachers.    This research examines the BCTF?s Peru Project through the theoretical lens of Social Movement Unionism. Scipes (1992), Waterman (1993), Lambert (1988) and Webster (1988) all contributed to the original conceptions of Social Movement Unionism in the late 1980s and early 1990s, all of which share four key defining features. Firstly, a specific challenge identified within the socio-political context characterized by a high degree of societal inequity and the inability for workers to influence political policies is considered the impetus for the emergence of Social Movement Unionism. In addition, all early conceptions of Social Movement Unionism are characterized by an expansion from the economic focus of labour movement unionism to include a political focus on societal needs. Thirdly, this expansion is made possible through the formation of alliances with groups pursuing similar goals. Finally, the development of Social Movement Unionism involves an increased democratic participation of members in the policies, strategies and activities of the union, both within the workplace and at the local, national and international level through political activism. Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         14 Ross?s (2007) theoretical framework, based on social movement theory, examines the degrees of variation between contemporary conceptions of Social Movement Unionism. The first component of this framework consists of Benford's "collective action frame" (1998, in Ross, p. 19), which describes the discourse used to identify and justify the goals of a movement as well as the actors and beneficiaries of that movement. This frame consists of three components. Benford and Snow?s "diagnostic frames" (2000, in Ross, p. 19) identify the problems to be addressed and identities of the actors involved. "Prognostic frames" (in Ross, p. 19) describe the strategies and responses to the identified problem. ?Motivations frames? (p. 20) provide the reasons for carrying out these actions. According to Ross, a labour movement?s discourse indicates its relative position within each of these frames. A second part of Ross?s analytical framework is an assessment of a union?s ?repertoire of actions? (p. 24), which are influenced by its diagnostic and prognostic frames. Thirdly, Ross?s framework assesses a union?s ?internal organizational practices" (p. 27), including roles, and power relationships of elected leaders, staff and members.  The first defining feature of Social Movement Unionism, a specific challenge identified within the socio-political context, is the impetus for the adoption of strategies associated with Social Movement Unionism. The nature of this challenge can be understood using Ross?s (2007) ?diagnostic frame? (p. 19), which describes the identification of the source of a given problem and its implications. A review of the literature indicates two principal challenges as the source of many forms of contemporary Social Movement Unionism. One stream identifies the weakening of trade unions under globalization as an impetus to adopt Social Movement Unionism strategies. A second stream identifies the implications of globalization on society as a whole as the motivating factor behind the development of Social Movement Unionism. This latter stream corresponds to Ross?s vision of Social Movement Unionism, which adopts an ?anti-economistic? Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         15 (p. 20) diagnostic frame, in which, workers? issues outside of the workplace are also considered. While this term may suggest an outright exclusion of any issue related to the workplace and the economy, this is not the case. These issues are incorporated into, but do not dominate, the expanded challenge identified within this stream.  In an analysis of Social Movement Unionism within the BCTF International Solidarity Program (Ryeburn, 2013), I concluded that the BCTF International Solidarity Program and its partner unions had identified challenges within their socio-political context corresponding to both streams of Social Movement Unionism. While identifying the context of weakening of teachers? unions, the committee?s activities are not limited to this understanding of context, but are based on a much broader understanding of the challenges within the socio-political context associated with the neoliberal educational policies that are responsible for societal inequities in British Columbia and all of the nations of the BCTF partner unions. In identifying the implication of this context on both teachers? unions and society in general, the impetus for the International Solidarity Program?s actions more closely corresponds the second stream of contemporary conceptions of Social Movement Unionism, suggesting a higher degree of influence from Ross?s (2007) anti-economistic diagnostic frame. While contemporary conceptions of Social Movement Unionism are all characterized by a second defining feature, the expansion of the traditional economic focus of business unionism to include non-workplace issues, the apparent purpose for this expanded focus varies. Unions that have adopted Social Movement Unionism as a response to the decreased strength of labour movements under neoliberal policies appear to have done so in order to support their principal goal of strengthening their union (Shumate, 2006). Conversely, unions that have adopted Social Movement Unionism in response to the implications of globalization for society as a whole Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         16 appear to have a truer commitment to their expanded focus, and in doing so, more closely reflect the original conceptions of Social Movement Unionism. Ross (2007) attributes these differing foci to the ?prognostic frames? (p. 19) that are adopted by unions. According to Ross, Social Movement Unionism adopts an ?anti-sectionalist? (p. 21) prognostic frame, in which actions are taken to defend not only workers? interests but the public good as well. [Anti-sectionalism will be described later in great detail.] For some unions, this prognostic frame is reflected principally in their discourse, while their actions indicate a principally economic focus. Analysis of Social Movement Unionism within the activities of BCTF International Solidarity program (Ryeburn, 2013), suggests that while a traditional focus on union building is present in a number of its projects, it does not limit itself to this focus. Many of the activities of the program are aimed at defending public education and addressing the implications of neoliberal educational policies on society as a whole. While this may be considered by some to be a form of union strengthening, the long term nature of this struggle and examples of these activities aimed at improving the quality of public education indicate that this focus goes beyond union strengthening. Further evidence is provided in the BCTF International Solidarity Program?s expanded focus on societal rights, its acts of solidarity in defense of human rights, and its support for issues related to social justice, including women?s and aboriginal rights, both within society and within the structures of its partner unions. This commitment to an expanded focus corresponds to Ross?s (2007) anti-sectionalist prognostic frame. However, the influence of a sectionalist prognostic frame is also present to a certain degree in the inclusion of teachers? rights in the BCTF International Solidarity Program?s principal focus on public education.   Although the third defining feature of Social Movement Unionism, participation in alliances, is an important aspect of all contemporary conceptions, the purpose, composition and Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         17 structure of alliances and the relationships between alliance members vary greatly between the two principal streams of Social Movement Unionism. The focus of Social Movement Unionism influences the motivating factors behind the formation of alliances, and thus determines the nature of these alliances. Ross (2007) uses these variations in alliances in her classification of the different forms of Social Movement Unionism, and considers the identity of a movement to be determined by the all of the actors involved. She uses the term anti-sectionalist to define not only the focus of Social Movement Unionism, but also this identity. According to Ross, in addition to identifying the challenge to which Social Movement Unionism responds, the diagnostic frame is involved in defining the identify of ?a ?we?, a community which has shared interests, mutual obligations and bonds of affection? (p. 19) and a common antagonist. In the case of Social Movement Unionism with a union strengthening focus, this identity includes an expanded version of the workers, to include non-unionized workers and the representation of the interests of the working class. In the case of Social Movement Unionism with an expanded focus, members of society in general, from diverse backgrounds, with a common focus, are included in their collective identity. Therefore, anti-sectionalism can refer to both inclusion of a broader set of workers as well as an expanded focus.  Analysis of BCTF International Solidarity Program?s alliances (Ryeburn, 2013) suggests that these alliances most closely resemble the conceptions of Social Movement Unionism based on an expanded focus on defending the rights of society as a whole. Some of the defining characteristics of these alliances include a shared focus, the development of networks, the absence of alliances with political parties, and democratic relationships of solidarity between partners. However, while some of the BCTF?s partners have developed alliances with social movements in their efforts at the national level, the International Solidary program limits its Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         18 alliances to teachers? and professors? unions, student groups and non-governmental organizations working with teachers and unions. This narrow range of alliance partners, which is limited to actors in the field of education and unions, may be too limited to fully correspond to Ross?s (2007) anti-sectionalist identity. The fourth defining feature of Social Movement Unionism, democratic member participation, is present in both streams, although the degree to which democratization of the union occurs varies. According to Ross (2007), the level of union democratization is characterized by the ?internal organizational practices" (p. 27) within the union, including roles and power relationships of elected leaders, staff, and members. Ross notes that the degree of member participation in determining the focus, strategies and practices as well as the relative importance and amount of involvement in actions carried out by leadership, staff and members, vary according to the union?s internal organizational practices. Ross identifies two principal categories of organizational practices in Social Movement Unionism. Unions with a union strengthening focus tend to adopt ?membership focused/mobilizational? (p. 28) organizational practices, in which members are active in applying union strategies but have limited democratic input into determining the focus or nature of their actions. Unions with an expanded focus are often characterized by ?membership-focussed/democratizing? (p. 28) organizational practices, in which members are involved in determining goals and strategies. Ross identifies this latter practice as a defining feature of Social Movement Unionism. Finally, while all conceptions of Social Movement Unionism are characterized by increased member engagement, Ross suggests that a unions? ?repertoire of actions? (p. 24), varies within the different conceptions of Social Movement Unionism. According to Ross, Social Movement Unionism uses a repertoire of ?contention" (p. 24) which includes a variety of practices such as political engagement, lobbying, Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         19 development of alliances, community action and mobilization, raising member support of unions, engagement in collective bargaining aimed at meeting goals, and acts of solidarity and charity with marginalized groups.  Analysis of the practices of the BCTF International Solidarity Program (Ryeburn, 2013) suggests that while its expanded focus on the implications of neoliberal policies on society as a whole should imply the adoption of democratizing practices described by Ross?s (2007) membership focused/democratizing organizational practices, the International Solidarity Program has not fully succeeded in attaining this degree of democratic member participation. The limited opportunities for engagement for a number of minority groups and for members in general, as well as the quasi-democratic member control offered through an International Solidarity steering committee appointed by the union executive, lead to the conclusion that the structure and practices of the solidarity program may more closely resemble Ross?s membership focused/mobilization organizational practices. However, evidence of the International Solidarity Program?s partial success at increasing its member involvement includes the large number of activities aimed at increasing women in leadership roles and examples of member involvement in initiating international projects. The involvement of members in diverse actions aimed at effecting change through providing alternatives to existing policies corresponds to Ross?s repertoire of contention.   Features of Social Movement Unionism can also be noted within the work of SUTEP. SUTEP has identified challenges within the socio-political context and an expanded focus that are similar to those identified by the BCTF International Solidarity Program. This focus is clearly stated in Declaration One of the Final Declaration of the Second Encounter of the Latin American Pedagogical Movement, in which SUTEP participates, which states the principal goal Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         20 of the movement to be placing the right to free, secular, and quality, public education in the centre of social debate (IEAL, 2013). SUTEP?s partnerships with groups working on a similar focus include alliances with the BCTF, the IDEA Network, the Latin American branch of Education International, and the Latin American Pedagogical Movement. SUTEP?s goal of increasing democratic member participation in this movement is highlighted in Declaration 1 of the Latin American Pedagogical Movement?s Final Declarations, which states the commitment to strengthen the involvement of teachers in developing educational policies in defense of public education (IEAL).   The same socio-political context and expanded focus have been adopted for the Peru Project. This is clearly demonstrated in the projects? goals of responding to threats to public education and teachers? unions through increasing member support for SUTEP and its support for public education. Analysis of the additional goal of the Peru Project, supporting Peruvian teachers in providing professional development for English teachers, can also be seen to contribute to the goal of defending public education. SUTEP and the BCTF?s support for member involvement in developing accessible, teacher driven professional development is an important strategy in the defense of public education. As members of the IDEA Network, the BCTF and SUTEP are involved in defending public education through the development of alternative responses to neoliberal educational policies (Kuehn, 2006). The support of teacher collaboration to develop and share alternative pedagogies is one of the strategies adopted to meet this goal. SUTEP?s support for this strategy is made clear in declaration fourteen of the Latin American Pedagogical Movement?s Final Declaration, which identifies as immediate responsibility of the movement to formalize the valorization, investigation, diffusion and promotion of teachers? experiences and pedagogical ideas (IEAL, 2013).  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         21  This research considers whether and to what degree Peru Project participants develop an increased awareness of threats to public education as a challenge within the social-political context and become involved in actions supporting their unions? focus on defending public education. It also investigates the degree to which the third and fourth defining features of Social Movement Unionism, participation in alliances and democratic member participation, are present in participants? learning and action taking resulting from their experience with the Peru Project. In addition, while an in-depth analysis of adult learning theories is not the goal of this research, the correspondence between Social Movement Learning theory and Libertarian Education and the learning that occurs for Peru Project participants will be considered.  Social Movement Learning has been selected as a theoretical framework for learning that may occur within Social Movement Unionism. While described using a variety of terms, the identification of a specific challenge within the socio-political context and the determination of a resulting focus of actions, both features of Social Movement Unionism, are also present in the definitions of social movements provided within many conceptions of Social Movement Learning. Power (2006) defines social movements as "organized endeavours of multiple individuals, communities, or organizations to pursue political objectives within society (which) are generally seen to act outside formal state or economic spheres" (p. 438). Della Porta and Diani (1999, in Hall, Turray and Chow, 2006) identify collective action directed at a commonly identified concern and solidarity as two key characteristics of social movements. According to Melucci, social movements "make power visible" (1998, in Hall et al., p. 8) by challenging the dominant interpretations of social phenomena and articulating their own interpretations, with the potential of transforming the way that the majority conceives of these phenomena. Danni (1996, Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         22 in Hall et al., p. 8) refers to these alternative conceptions as ?interpretive frames?, which Hall et al. equate to Freire's notion of ?naming the world? (1999, in Hall et al., p. 8).    Hall and Clover (2005) categorize of Social Movement Learning into two forms, informal and intentional, helps to clarify the types of learning that occur in social movements. Informal learning occurs in two ways. Through participation in the activities of a civil society organization or social movement, participants informally construct knowledge about an issue. Through carrying out a variety of actions, such as mobilizations and awareness raising activities, participants may develop the organizational skills needed to meet goals. The learning is thus unplanned and occurs incidentally. Della Porta and Diani (1999, in Hall et al., 2006) identify this informal nature of member interaction as a key characteristic of social movements. According to Hall and Clover, intentional learning, also known as formal learning, occurs through participation in educational activities organized by the movement. In the case of cross-cultural movements, Hall and Clover observe that learning is bi-directional, with participants from both respective cultures learning from each other. Hall and Clover also describe how the activities of a social movement can contribute to both informal and intentional learning for non-members of that movement. This learning, or awareness raising, is a key goal of social movements, and is carried out through their various public actions. Activities such as publicity campaigns and mobilizations help non-members to become aware of issues and may lead them to become involved in future activities.  Sullivan identifies three "educational moments" (1999, in Hall, Clover, Crowther and Scandrett, 2012, p. xiv) in Social Movement Learning: "critique, resistance and creation" (p. xiv).  These moments, which can occur simultaneously and have no prescribed order of occurrence, all contribute to the learning that occurs in social movements. Critique refers to the Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         23 identification of an urgent threat to society or to the planet and critical analysis of responses to these threats. Resistance involves the wide variety of responses resulting from this critique. Creation arises from reflecting on different interpretations and actions of diverse social movements to develop "an understanding of radical, democratic and transformative methods and processes which aim to create new spaces for personal, local and global change" (p. xv). For these authors, the most important role of social movement learning is the grassroots development of groups who exert their power to contest the dominant powers in society and are thus involved in the development of alternative visions of the future.   Paolo Freire's notion of "libertarian education" (2009, p. 164), aspects of which are included in many conceptions of Social Movement Learning, is another theoretical framework that may support understanding of the learning identified in this research. Freire's perspective is based on the notion that capitalism creates an imbalance of power leading to oppression of the poor and marginalization of certain members of society. Through Libertarian Education, the oppressed can become aware of the societal conditions affecting them and take action to improve their lives. Freire's "conscientisation", the principal goal of his learning model, corresponds to the initial stage of Sullivan?s critique (1999, in Hall et. al., 2012) in Social Movement Learning theory. Conscientisation occurs when learners develop a critical understanding of their social context. By discussing and reflecting on their situation in the world, learners may identify problems and in doing so are said to "name their world" (Ryoo, Moreno, Crawford, and McLaren, 2010, para. 3). This increased awareness may encourage participants to take action in order to transform their situation. Raised awareness and action taking, referred to as "praxis" (Freire, p. 168), are interdependent elements of conscientisation. As learners succeed in making changes in the world around them, they become increasingly critical of the world and Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         24 increasingly committed to their role in transforming this situation. As a result, they become aware of new challenges upon which they can take action. Thus, conscientisation does not have one set ideal in mind, but is an ongoing process of transforming one's life for the better (Blackburn, 2000). This generally occurs through collective reflection and action on situations affecting all participants. The correspondence of Freire?s ideas with aspects of Social Movement Learning theory make Libertarian Education a useful theoretical framework to consider learning and action taking resulting from participation in the Peru Project.  A review of the literature identifies a limited amount of research carried out on the learning that occurs through the international solidarity activities of unions adopting Social Movement Unionism and to which Social Movement Learning theory may apply. Of particular relevance is Marshall?s (2009) research, which focuses on north-south worker exchanges, in which members of the United Steel Workers? Union visited southern workers employed by the same company or in the same sector. The worker exchanges often included participation in events such as international forums, election monitoring, or a congress of the local union, but also involved simple exchanges with workers at their place of work and within their communities.  Marshall (2009) begins her analysis by considering some of the Canadian participants? attitudes before participating in exchanges. She categorizes their prevailing perception of southern workers? conditions as patronizing in its focus on poverty, violence, lack of knowledge, and corruption. Marshall also notes that Canadian participants demonstrated an overall lack of awareness of global issues. This included their limited understanding of challenges faced by their southern colleagues, which she credits to the limited degree to which they have considered their experience with colonialism and their position of privilege as citizens of a northern nation. In Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         25 addition, Marshall attributes Canadians? limited degree of reflection on their role in colonization to their tendency to accept commonly held assumptions with regards to changes associated with globalization, including the notions that these changes are an indicator of progress and that global policies should be shaped by the north.  Marshall (2009) begins her analysis of learning in describing some of the intentional, or formal, learning supported through participation in development education courses, which prepared and debriefed participants in worker exchanges. These courses included presentations from visiting southern workers. She concludes that these courses helped workers to identify commonalities between their workplace realities and those of southern workers, become aware of factors influencing their attitudes and behaviours towards their southern colleagues, and develop an increased awareness of the position of privilege held by north.   Marshall (2009) identifies three forms of informal learning that occurred during worker exchanges: the development of new knowledge, attitudes and skills. Marshall notes that new knowledge was constructed by workers from both the north and south through a reciprocal flow of knowledge. This knowledge included the awareness of similarities and differences in union structures and functions as well as increased awareness of the effects of globalization. Changes in attitudes included a shift from blaming southern workers to blaming employers for loss of jobs, a loss of the paternalistic perception of southern workers, and increased solidarity between north-south workers and between workers from different union locals in Canada. Marshall identifies informal interactions as the principal catalysts that provided workers with opportunities to identify challenges to which they could respond through acts of solidarity. Finally, new skills developed as participants shared their experiences after participating in exchanges included report writing, presentation skills, public speaking, networking skills, foreign language skills, Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         26 and ITC skills. Participants also developed an ability to work collaboratively through participating in acts of solidarity and identifying common learning needs which they addressed at international forums.   Marshall (2009) also considers the variety of actions taken by workers after participating in exchanges, which included development of workers? networks, participation in global campaigns, publication of articles, return visits, and the running of a globalization school. Marshall notes that activities supported similar changes in awareness and attitudes among the exchange participants? colleagues and led to development of networks that enabled communication and action in response to globalization.  Marshall (2009) concludes that globalization brings with it a need to challenge old forms of union participation in international relations and solidarity. She suggests that global alliances and networks should be a key focus of union solidarity. To help meet this goal, Marshall recommends the inclusion of participants from a variety of backgrounds in future north-south exchanges. As an in-depth analysis of north-south worker exchanges involving international solidarity programs of unions focused on responding to impacts of globalization, Marshall?s research provides a starting point to investigate the learning and praxis that emerges from participation in the Peru Project.  Limited research exists on international teacher solidarity, the adult learning associated with solidarity initiatives, and the potential for international solidarity to contribute to increased awareness and involvement in the resistance to neoliberalism and the promotion of public education. Artaraz (2011) examines examples of South-South solidarity networks between various public sector unions in Cuba and Bolivia. Duhalde's (2012) analysis of Latin American-Spanish teacher partnerships focuses on curriculum and school transformation. This research Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         27 contributes to an increased understanding of the impacts of teacher solidarity on awareness of and involvement in teacher unions and their actions to support public education   Methods  Methodological framework  This qualitative study is principally inductive in nature, as seen in open research questions and thematic data analysis, however, the consideration of underlying theories in developing the research questions and analysing data imply a partially deductive approach. The methodological approach, which considers participants' perspectives while avoiding their objectification, corresponds with interpretivist and feminist epistemologies (Bryman, 2012). As seen below, methodology is also influenced by decolonized epistemology, which attempts to reduce power imbalances between the interviewer and research participants (Vannini & Gladue, 2008). This epistemological stance acknowledges the fact that Canadians' history as colonizers has contributed to our position of privilege in our relationship with members of southern nations, in terms of our economic and political influence (D'Arangelis, 2012). The conception of the privatization of education as a consciously adopted policy to which society can respond, along with a thematic approach to data analysis, reflect a constructionist ontological stance, which views the existence and nature of social phenomena and our understanding of these phenomena to be produced by, and not existing independently of, the actions of society (Bryman, 2012). Finally, since communication is a means of creating knowledge, and language is both a data source of participants' perspectives and a process by which this data is generated, consideration is given to the impact of language on methodology in this cross-cultural research (Hennink, 2008), as discussed in subsequent sections. Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         28 Sampling  "Generic purposive sampling" (Bryman, 2012, p. 422), defined as the sampling of participants based on their applicability to the research questions, was applied in order to increase the probability of successfully answering these questions. This sampling method reflects Hood's "generic inductive qualitative model" of research (2007, in Bryman, p. 422), which generates concepts and theories without grounded theory's iterative approach. Generic purposive sampling differs from the theoretical sampling used in grounded theory, whose iterative approach involves selecting participants until no further themes are identified in data analysis. While this latter approach is more successful at obtaining a wide range of perspectives, the limited sampling population and short timeframe during the 2013 Peru Project when I was available to interview Peruvian facilitators prevented the adoption of theoretical sampling.  Research participants were selected from among workshop facilitators who had participated in the 2011 or 2012 Peru Projects. This time period was selected in order to ensure that participants? experience in the project was recent enough to remember many aspects of the experience, and to ensure sufficient time for participation to have potentially impacted subsequent activism. In addition, I was not involved in the project during these two years, which minimized the influence of my relationship with the participants on their responses to interview questions. Similarly, because of my relationship with the four 2011 and 2012 BCTF project leaders, they were not included in the sampling population. The total sampling population for this time period consisted of eight Peruvian facilitators and twelve BCTF facilitators. Sample size was limited to three Peruvian and three Canadian participants due to time constraints on travel within Peru coupled with the desire to include an equal number of participants from both countries.   Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         29 BCTF Peru Project leaders from 2011 and 2012 forwarded letters of initial contact to all Peru Project facilitators from these two years, inviting them to participate. Five BCTF facilitators and five Peruvian facilitators responded, indicating a willingness to become involved in the research. From this population, two further criteria were used to select research participants. The accessibility of participants for face-to-face interviews influenced selection. One BCTF facilitator and one Peruvian facilitator were not selected for this reason. Final selection of three participants from each country was based on attempts to increase diversity, with consideration given to different degrees of teaching experience, gender, and ethnic background and efforts to select participants who came from a variety of regions in Peru and British Columbia. However, while all other criteria were met, my inability to travel to a number of different regions and the small number of potential participants limited the degree of success at meeting the last criterion. Two Peruvian and two BCTF participants taught in the same city. The implications for this research limitation are particularly noticeable in the case of the Peruvian teachers, as discussed in the findings and analysis.   Data collection    The research design provided data triangulation (Bryman, 2012) through the use of semi-structured interviews and field notes as well as through the inclusion of both Canadian and Peruvian facilitators. I conducted face-to-face interviews to avoid the effects of telephone or Skype conversations on participants' willingness to speak openly (Block & Erskine, 2012). The interviews were conducted between July and August 2013. BCTF participants were interviewed in British Columbia and Peruvian participants were interviewed in Peru. While attempts were made to offer participants choice in selecting interview sites, in order to minimize power Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         30 imbalances (Herzog, 2005), time limitations and other factors often limited participants? degree of choice. Interviews with BCTF participants varied. One Canadian participant chose to be interviewed at home, another selected a park for her interview site, and a third was interviewed in my home. One Peruvian participant met me in a union office for her interview. We were alone and our interview was conducted in English, which none of the SUTEP executive spoke, leading me to believe that this setting did not influence the participant?s responses. The two remaining Peruvians chose to be interviewed in my hotel. Interviewees were asked to give an hour of their time for the interview. Most of the interviews lasted between thirty-five to forty-six minutes.  Natasha?s interview lasted one and a half hours and Gabriela participated willingly in an interview that lasted two hours. Interviews were digitally recorded. Field notes were taken during the interview, consisting of brief notes that were elaborated upon immediately after the interview. These notes included phrases that were thematic in nature. In one instance, they also provided an additional source of data information from visual clues (Tessier, 2012), in this case, the visual expressions and body language of the interviewee in response to a question.    A semi-structured interview guide provided initial questions that were expanded upon through probing, encouraging participants to develop their initial response, clarify unclear or conflicting responses, explore sensitive issues, and retrieve distant memories. I attempted to establish a rapport that would decrease respondents' tendency to provide what they perceived as socially acceptable responses (Barriball &While, 1994). Following decolonized epistemology, interviews incorporated elements of "reflexive didactic interviewing" (Vannini & Gladue, 2008, p. 141), which encourages interviewee and interviewer to share stories and experiences in order to minimize power imbalances and create a mutually supportive atmosphere. For example, Gabriela was eager to speak about her experiences with the Peru Project, and spoke freely for a Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         31 half an hour before I began asking questions. A semi-structured interview guide, composed of open-ended questions allowing participants to influence the content of the interview, and conducting the interviews in participants' preferred language reflect a decolonized epistemology (Vannini & Gladue and D'Arangelis, 2012). While all of the participants chose to conduct the interview in English, Peruvian participants were told that they could switch to Spanish at any time during the interview. Another method reflecting decolonized epistemology was the use of "interpreting questions? (Kvale, 1996, in Bryman, 2012, p. 478). In this approach, the interviewer paraphrases her general understanding of participants' responses in order to allow respondents to correct any misinterpretations. Questions providing demographic or "facesheet information" (Bryman, p. 473) were also be included. The interview guide was field tested with two BCTF Peru Project participants who were not included in the study, in order to identify weaknesses in questions and interviewer skills (Barriball & While).   Data analysis  I based my analysis on Tessier's (2012) combined recording and transcription method of data analysis, which I adapted because of my lack of access to OneNote software, which is used in this approach. While listening to the digital recordings of each interview, notes were taken that included the time on the recording, allowing me to return to that point in the recording when analysing data. Using this approach, the recording constituted a primary data source while the notes for each interview constituted a secondary data source. The use of this method saved time because it eliminated the need to carry out verbatim transcription.  A thematic analysis of field notes and selected sections of interview recordings was used, based on Ritchie and Lewis's (2003, in Smith and Firth, 2011) three-stage framework approach Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         32 to thematic analysis. This approach provides in-depth analysis of participants' perspectives and increased credibility through a systemized approach and step-by-step record of data analysis. In Ritchie and Lewis?s first stage, familiarity with content is developed through repeated reviewing of data sources and entering data into a theme based matrix. I accomplished this in two steps. In step one, I produced notes from the digital recordings as described above and added additional information taken from field notes. In step two, through repeated listening to each interview, a detailed list of themes was generated. For each participant, tables were created, consisting of these themes and the related details from the interview notes, including the time these details appeared in the interview. Themes identified through analysis of each participant?s interview were used to create tables for the initial analysis stage for each subsequent participant, with new themes added as they were identified. I then returned to previously analysed participants to look for and record evidence of these newly identified themes in their interviews. Ritchie and Lewis?s second stage includes summarizing data into refined themes, identifying thematic connections, and developing concepts. I achieved this by examining themes across all six interviews, to generate tables including a more comprehensive and refined set of themes and sub-themes that emerged across all of the interviews. The details taken from each of the interviews were included in these tables. By referencing the time when these details appeared on the digital recording, I was able to return to the digital recording when examining any given theme. Throughout this process, themes were identified by scrutinizing data for Ryan and Bernard's (2003) thematic indicators. These included repetitions; "in-vivo coding" (p. 89), defined as the identification of terms that are indigenous to a specific context; similarities and differences in participants' responses; conspicuously absent data; and data linked to existing theories. Stage three of Ritchie and Lewis?s method involved identifying patterns between concepts and themes, reviewing data Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         33 and previous stages for misinterpretations, describing concepts and themes in findings, and identifying wider applications.    Participants were given the opportunity to provide feedback about how my analysis, presented in an early draft of the results, resonated with their experience and perspective. This involvement of participants in contributing to data analyses, helped to minimize "cultural appropriation" (Vannini & Gladue, 2008, p. 147), which occurs when researchers assign their own meanings to data. This strategy is reflective of decolonized epistemology. Ideally, participants would be involved earlier in the process, and contribute even more fully to decolonization. However, this is a limitation of my study.  Maintaining a reflexive stance throughout the research process  A "reflexive stance" (Irvine, Roberts & Bradbury-Jones, 2008, p. 37), defined as the critical assessment of the impact of the researcher on research findings, was applied to methods throughout the research process in order to assess and limit the impact of my role as an insider and my social positioning on results. This stance was adopted in the early stages of conceiving this research by examining my "motivations, assumptions, and interests in the research as a precursor to identifying forces that might skew the research in particular directions" (Finlay, 2002, p. 536). This positionality is discussed below under ethical considerations. Reflexivity during data collection included verifying that the questions in the interview guide and prompts used during the interview were not leading. In addition, attempts were made to minimize and take into consideration the impact of relationships on data (Finlay, 2002). This was done by adopting the methods attributed to decolonizing methodology described above and Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         34 by selecting research participants from Peru Project years in which I was not involved, in order to minimize the influence of existing relationships on data and analysis (Davies, 2005).  Maintaining a reflexive stance throughout data analysis was supported by the compilation of a fieldwork journal that included my personal opinions and emotional responses elicited during interviews. These entries were taken into consideration, so as to limit their influence on analysis of data (Arber, 2006). In addition, throughout data analysis, I made a conscious effort to consider every possible interpretation of data, and reflect honestly on whether the interpretations I had assigned were influenced by my role as a Peru Project insider.   Ethical considerations Language  Although offered the opportunity to conduct the interviews in Spanish, each of the Peruvian participants chose English as the interview language. Several factors contributed to my decision to conduct the interview in English if requested. These included the importance of offering the participants this choice, based on decolonizing epistemology; the participants? high degree of fluency in English; and the possibility that the Peruvians felt most comfortable speaking to me in English due to their previous experience using English as the language of communication during their experience as Peru Project facilitators.  However, conducting the interviews in participants? non-dominant language may have limited communication of perspectives and experience (Irvine et al., 2008). Despite participants? mastery of English, their selection of their non-dominant language for the interviews created a potential for misinterpretation. A number of strategies were used to minimize these misinterpretations. The Peruvians and I often used paraphrasing to confirm our understanding of a question or response. Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         35 Occasionally, Peruvian participants used Spanish when unable to find the equivalent term in English. In these instances, I provided the equivalent English word and asked them to confirm whether it was appropriate. In addition, through participation in two past Peru Projects, I have spent time in the research setting, a strategy that enables researchers to "pay due regard to the cultural behaviour of a society so that they are confident in their ability to report findings in a way that remains true to the respondents" (Irvine et al., p. 37). Participants' inclusion in data analysis and disclosure of potential drawbacks to this approach to language issues were further attempts to address these challenges (Irvine et al.).   Insider research  Advantages of insider, or "emic" (Davies, 2005, p. 1) research include researchers' ability to develop a better understanding of participants' perspectives and feelings through shared culture, jargon and knowledge specific to the group, and the opportunity to develop a rapport with participants, increasing likelihood of reliable data interpretation (Davies). While the perspectivist epistemology of this research corresponds to Finlay's (1988, in Dearnley, 2005) negation of the notion of bias, associated with the conception of  "unequivocal reality" (p. 21), it is important to acknowledge the potential drawbacks of emic research (Davies, 2005), which can be characterized as limited degrees of objective data interpretation (Irvine et al., 2008). To address this concern, I adopted a "reflexive stance" (Irvine et al., p. 37), as discussed earlier under methodology.   Positionality of the researcher  My involvement in a number of activities has contributed to strongly held viewpoints that Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         36 risked influencing the outcomes of this study. Through my work as a teacher, my experiences living in Latin America and Eritrea, my volunteer work with refugees, and my involvement in the Peru Project, I have witnessed first hand the impacts of neoliberal policies on vulnerable sectors of society. From this understanding, I have developed a political philosophy that favours the provision of adequate funding and equitable access to public services, including education. As such, I am highly critical of current neoliberal polices, which I believe contribute to increased societal inequities. This strongly held belief may have influenced the results of my study despite my adoption of a reflexive stance, aimed at minimizing the influence of my beliefs on all aspects of this research. My position of privilege as a white teacher from a colonizing nation may also have influenced my perspectives towards these topics. While the use of a decolonizing approach to research was aimed at minimizing this position, it must be acknowledged as a potential source of influence on my research.  Confidentiality  Steps were taken to protect the confidentiality of participants through measures that make it difficult to identify participants. These include the use of pseudonyms for all participants in the write up, the exclusion or generalization of data that could have identified participants, and allowing participants to review preliminary findings and request removal or generalization of information that may identify them.   Trustworthiness  The criteria of credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability, as described by Bryman (2012), were used as a framework to consider measures needed to obtain a high Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         37 degree of trustworthiness in this research. Credibility, or the degree to which results are believable, has been achieved in several ways. The use of triangulation in data collection, in the form of semi-structured interviews and field notes and the inclusion of both Canadian and Peruvian facilitators from two different years, was one means to achieve this goal. The use of respondent validation, or the involvement of participants in reviewing and modifying data analysis also contributes to credibility. Transferability is not considered a preoccupation of this research because the research focuses on a particular context, with no intention of generalizing findings to other contexts. The focus instead was on developing a rich understanding of this particular context through semi-structured interviews and field notes. Dependability, the probability that the same findings would apply at other times or if other researchers were to conduct a similar study, has been maximized by including a detailed description of methods and data analysis procedures in the write up. The use of probing to encourage participants to fully elaborate on their responses and the interview method of paraphrasing participants' responses also contributed to the dependability of this research. The inclusion of an in-depth discussion of methodology, including a discussion about my positionality and my commitment to a reflexive stance throughout the research and in the write up increase the research confirmability, or the degree to which researchers avoid allowing their personal values and theoretical beliefs to influence research methods.   Findings Research participants The research sample included one man and five women, reflecting the overwhelming majority of female Peru Project facilitators. Participants had varying amounts of teaching Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         38 experience, ranging from ten to twenty-four years. The BCTF participants, John, Fred (a woman) and Natasha had a variety of teaching backgrounds, all within the public system. Areas of teaching included primary English and French immersion, secondary sciences and math, alternate education, English as a Second Language, gifted and talented, learning assistance and special education. Laura, Gabriela, and Amy, the Peruvian participants, were all English teachers. While all had experience teaching within the private system, two were currently teaching in public high schools. The third Peruvian participant taught in a private elementary school and had no experience in the public system. As an employee in the private system, she was not eligible to be a member of SUTEP.  In recruiting Peruvian facilitators, SUTEP selects some private school teachers due to the limited number of public school teachers with strong English skills. Inclusion of one private school teacher in this research supports increased diversity in the findings by providing an understanding of possible implications for private teachers? learning through involvement in the Peru Project. Participants came from a variety of regions. Two of the BCTF participants were currently living in Vancouver, one had previously taught in the interior of British Columbia and the other had mainly taught in inner city schools in Vancouver. The third BCTF participant taught in a city in the interior of British Columbia. Two of these participants also had experience living and teaching overseas, one in Africa and one in Asia. One of the Peruvian teachers lived in Lima while the two others lived in a large city in the interior of Peru. Selection of two participants from the same interior city was due to my inability to travel to a third region in Peru. While this is a limitation of this research, a number of factors increased the potential for differences in perspectives between these two participants. One of these two teachers was from a rural background, having spent her early childhood on her family?s farm. Her initial education took place at a small rural school. The other participant, who Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         39 was born and grew up in the city where both participants were currently teaching, was a private school teacher. When asked whether they self-identified as belonging to a particular ethnic or aboriginal group, one BCTF participant responded negatively, a second identified Irish ancestry and a third self-identified as Caucasian. One Peruvian participant did not self-identify with an ethnic or aboriginal group. A second Peruvian considered herself as belonging to her mother?s indigenous group, which originated in the highlands north of Lima, although her grandparents were the last in her family to speak Quechua. The third Peruvian participant identified all Peruvians, including herself, as ?mestizo?, which she described as coming from mixed European and indigenous origin. She came from a Quechua speaking family and spoke some Quechua.  Learning goals  In order to provide a better understanding of their learning, participants were asked to describe their goals for participating in the Peru Project. These included a number of learning goals. Table 1 highlights differences in the principal learning goals of the Peruvian and BCTF participants. In this and the following tables, Peruvian participants? entries are in bold print while those of BCTF are identified with italics. Bracketed numbers are used to indicate the number of participants who provided the same entry. The learning goals of the Peruvian participants were all in the area of professional development. These included the development of workshop facilitator skills and teaching skills, including English teaching methodology and an improved level of English. On the other hand, two of the BCTF participants did not identify professional development as a learning goal, and while Natasha?s goals included working with adults and transitioning back to the classroom from her position on her local union executive, this was not Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         40 the principal focus of her learning. Each of the BCTF participants expressed an interest in learning more about public education. Goals included learning more about the state of public  Table 1: Participants? learning goals  Broad Theme  Sub-themes Specific focus of learning Professional  Development     Facilitator skills - develop workshop facilitator skills   - develop workshop organizing skills Teaching skills  - improve English (3) - learn methodology (2) - improve teaching strategies (2) - on-going improvement of skills - refresh ideas on fun ways to teach English - work with adults  - transition back into the classroom Awareness of their situation Public education - learn about Peruvian school system - situation for Peruvian teachers,  - compare education systems (2) - compare teacher struggles  Union - understanding of Peruvian teachers? unions Personal Language - improve English (3) - learn Spanish -improve Spanish  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics) (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific focus of learning)   education in Peru, comparing it with that of Canada, and learning about teacher struggles in Peru. John also identified the learning goal of developing an understanding of Peruvian teachers? unions. Finally, Fred and Natasha expressed a desire to improve their Spanish. Unlike the Peruvians, whose improved English would contribute to their skills as English teachers, this is identified as a personal goal in Table 1 because neither of the teachers taught Spanish. As seen in the following section, this distinction between the learning goals of Peruvian and BCTF participants corresponds to the principal areas of learning that they achieved through participation in the Peru Project.   Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         41 Nature of learning  Throughout the interviews, participants provided examples of how specific learning occurred. Table 2 summarizes the nature of learning identified by participants for the instances when participants explicitly described how learning occurred. The majority of this learning falls into the category of informal learning. When asked to describe how her learning occurred, Natasha replied, ?I?d say it was hands on interaction. While I was there I just took it all in and asked questions.? This corresponds with the structure of the Peru Project, in which very few intentional learning opportunities, in the form of training, are provided to participants. It should   Table 2: Nature of learning  Nature of learning Activity Details   Theme of learning Intentional Training Peru Project orientation  - public education (3) - political situation Participation in workshops for teachers  - professional development (2)  - professional values/attitudes (2) - society/culture - identity Facilitator training - professional development Informal Conversations  With Peruvian union leaders - political developments With workshop participants - public education  - society - professional development - public education (2) With BCTF participants - professional development - professional values/attitudes - public education (2) - union strength, member involvement -identity Practice Preparing and delivering workshops   - professional development (3) - professional attitudes/values - professional development - public education Observing BCTF participants - professional attitudes/values - lifestyle Children playing -culture/society Experiences Visit to public school - public education Visiting SUTEP office - union strength Participating in teachers? rally - member involvement in union  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the theme of learning) Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         42   be noted that participants were not asked to described how learning occurred for every instance of learning described. However, these results provide an understanding of the variety of ways that learning occurred throughout the Peru Project rather than a quantitative understanding of the relative frequency of each form of learning. This section summarizes the variety of forms of formal and informal learning that are identified by participants and provides an overview of topic of learning, described in the form of broad themes. A more detailed examination of the specific learning that occurred is provided in the following sections.   Participants were provided with three intentional learning opportunities. BCTF teachers attended a Peru Project orientation session, prior to traveling to Peru, in which all three learned something about the public education system in Peru. Fred also described learning about the political situation. However, as Natasha noted, the majority of this session was focused on preparing participants for the program?s logistics, including workshop selection and pre-planning. While John believed that this workshop and previous experience prepared him for what he would later see in Peru, Fred and Natasha felt that the majority of their learning occurred in Peru. According to Fred ?there?s the intellectual knowing, and there?s being there and going, ?okay!?? Natasha concurred. ?I don?t think you can gain (an understanding about the situation in Peru) until you?re actually there, working with the teachers.?  Peruvian participants identified two intentional learning opportunities during the Peru Project. They were sometimes able to participate with other Peruvian teachers in the workshops led by their BCTF and Peruvian colleagues. Through these workshops, Laura and Gabriela identified learning in the areas of professional development and professional values and Gabriela also noted learning about identity, society and culture. As a second intentional learning opportunity, Amy described the Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         43 contribution to her professional development provided through participation in the facilitators? training course.  BCTF and Peruvian participants identified several forms of informal learning. Conversations were an important means of learning for BCTF and Peruvian participants. The BCTF participants and Laura all learned more about public education in Peru through talking with participants in their workshops. These conversations also contributed to Gabriela?s learning related to society and to Amy?s professional development related learning. All three Peruvian participants attributed learning to conversations with their BCTF colleagues. Laura described learning related to professional development, while Gabriela identified learning about professional values arising from these conversations. Both Gabriela and Amy also attributed conversations with BCTF colleagues to learning related to public education. Gabriela also noted learning in the area of the BCTF and SUTEP?s strength as unions and their degree of member involvement. She also described how her increased awareness of the importance of identity related to her aboriginal roots resulted from conversations with one of her BCTF colleagues.   All of the participants described informal learning that occurred while engaged in practice. The Peruvian participants each identified learning in the area of professional development and Amy described learning related to professional values that occurred through preparing and leading their workshop with their BCTF partner. Similarly, among BCTF participants, Fred and Natasha identified some learning in this same area that resulted from workshop delivery. Natasha also noted learning about the state of public education in Peru, which occurred when she became aware of the poor state of the classroom in which she delivered her workshop.   Two participants described how they learned informally through observations. Fred Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         44 discussed conclusions she had drawn on the strength of women and girls in Peruvian society through observing the leadership role taken on by girls while watching children at play. Amy described the learning that occurred through observations of her BCTF colleagues. Observing them freely share ideas and materials helped with her learning in the area of professional values. Observing two of her BCTF colleagues reading books at night for pleasure contributed to her making this change in her own lifestyle.   Finally, Fred described how participating in a number of experiences contributed to her learning, in which a combination of observations and conversations may have been involved. As one of the Peru Project activities, BCTF participants visited a public school in Lima, where the vice-president of the teachers? college, who was the school?s principal, made a speech to the students and parents. Fred described her increased understanding of public education in Peru that occurred through observing this principal speak openly about the government?s responsibility in funding public education and the noting positive reception of parents in attendance. BCTF participants also visited the national SUTEP office in Lima, where, by observing the small size of the office and the limited number of employed staff and through her discussions with executive members about challenges faced by SUTEP, Fred learned about the limited strength of the Peruvian teachers? union. After the project was over, she visited Cuzco and participated in a teachers? rally, which she had accidentally stumbled upon. From the size of the rally, passion of the participants, and exchanges she had with teachers, Fred drew conclusions about the Peruvian teachers? involvement in their union, which Fred identified as being high.  Learning related to professional development  Early in the interviews, participants were asked to identify what they had learned through Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         45 participation in the Peru Project. Later, they were asked to expand upon this response by describing learning that occurred that was unexpected or different from the learning they had initially identified. They were then asked to describe what they had learned about public education and to describe whether and how their impressions of their union had changed. The responses to the two initial questions, in lacking any prompts, may provide an understanding of the participants? perceptions of the most important or memorable learning that occurred. These responses are indicated with an asterisk in the following tables. This section considers participants? learning in the area of professional development, which was the principal area of learning identified by the Peruvian participants.  Corresponding to the learning goals described above, when offered no prompting regarding the area of learning, the majority of learning identified by the Peruvian participants was related to professional development. Table 3 provides a summary of learning in this area. As predicted in their learning goals, each of the Peruvian participants identified learning achieved in the development of workshop facilitation skills and teaching skills. Facilitation skills included skills at leading and planning workshops, as well as the development of workshop leader qualities, including confidence and dynamism. None of the BCTF participants spontaneously identified facilitation skills as an area of learning. Natasha noted that she already had a great deal of experience in this area and that she did not develop any new skills through her Peru Project experience. When prompted, Fred described how the experience helped her develop workshop planning skills. Peruvian participants described their learning in the area of teaching skills as English teaching methodology, the application of facilitator skills to their classrooms, and improvements in spoken English. BCTF participants did not offer any unprompted identification of teaching skills as an area of learning resulting from participation in the Peru Project. When Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         46 Table 3: Learning related to professional development   Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the topic of learning) *indicates learning identified with no prompting regarding public education   prompted, Fred acknowledged that the experience helped her to develop teaching skills in the area of English as a Second Language, with which she had no previous experience.   The development of professional attitudes and values was a third focus of learning related to professional development that the Peruvian participants identified with no prompting as an area of learning. Several of these attitudes and values were associated with becoming motivated Broad themes Sub-themes Topic of learning Workshop facilitation skills Workshop leading skills - experience as workshop leader* - facilitator skills* - having fun facilitates learning in workshops* - confidence in skills*  Workshop planning skills - organizational skills* - workshop planning  Workshop leader qualities - dynamism* Teaching skills  English teaching methodology - teaching methodology* (3)  - strategies*  - making learning English fun* - facilitator skills applicable to classroom, using now, applied learning to teaching* - ESL teaching skills  English - English level* (2)  - pronunciation*, slang*, colloquial expressions*, idiomatic expressions* (2) - confidence in English* Professional attitudes/values Desire to improve teaching skills - desire and curiosity to learn* - on-going learning and improving of skills*- ownership of learning* (2)  - importance of applying learning from workshops to teaching*  Willingness to learn with colleagues   - learned to share ideas* - openness to learning from colleagues*  - accepting feedback*  - tolerance to different opinions, listening to others ideas*  - notion of helping others, not typically Peruvian, tend to think of themselves*  - importance of volunteering*  Attitudes related to social justice - desire to learn Runa Simi (Quechua) in order to encourage students? pride in indigenous culture*  support pride in indigenous culture s becnguage* Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         47 to improve their teaching skills. These included developing a desire to learn and an interest in on-going learning, taking control of their learning by setting and working towards specific goals, and following through on their learning by applying it to their classrooms. All three Peruvians also identified the development of an increased desire to learn with their colleagues as a second change in professional attitudes and values. Examples included learning to share ideas, accept feedback from others, and listen to colleagues? ideas and help each other. According to Gabriela, the notion of helping others isn?t a typical Peruvian trait.    You are people who like to help other people. And that?s what we    don?t have in my country. I think that people in my country are    always thinking? (about) ourselves? (about) how to improve our    lives ourselves? There are few people who think (about) helping    other people. And that?s what I learned from you. Finally, Gabriela described the development of a professional value related to social justice in her desire to improve her mastery of Runa Simi language, also known as Quechua, in order to help her indigenous students to take pride in their identity. Although not identified as a learning goal, the development of these professional attitudes and values was the area of professional development most frequently identified as learning achieved by Peruvian participants.   Learning related to public education   While it is impossible to isolate perspectives that were not at all influenced by participation in the Peru Project, Table 4 summarizes participants? perceptions of the state of public education in their own country that that they did not attribute to learning through their Peru Project experience. This table highlights the contradictions between perceptions expressed Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         48 by Peruvian participants. While all three identified weaknesses in the public education system in Peru, they attributed this to different factors and proposed different solutions. Both Gabriela and Amy described declining enrolment in public schools due to the public?s belief that private schools are better. Amy predicted that because of this, public schools ?are going to disappear.? When asked how she felt about this, Amy replied, ?I am worried about that because? education has to be public.? All three Peruvian participants also described poor treatment of teachers. Laura noted that teachers were forced to pay for teaching resources, which weren?t adequately funded in schools. Amy described her discontent with teachers? low salaries compared to other workers, such as miners. Gabriela expressed uncertainty about the implications of a new education law on teachers? rights and testing of teachers. She also criticized parents for blaming teachers for the quality of public education and suggested that parents were also partially responsible in neglecting to encourage their children to study. Laura and Gabriela described concerns with professional development. Laura identified a lack of government support in this area, which placed the financial responsibility on teachers, while Gabriela noted that high demands on teachers? time limited their ability to participate in professional development activities.   Peruvian teachers were not in agreement about the relative quality of public education compared to private education in Peru. Amy, a teacher in a private school, described the quality of public education as ?terrible?. When asked to elaborate, she explained that there are fewer hours of instruction in English in public schools and that only twenty percent of the math curriculum is taught. Gabriela had a very different perception of the quality of public education, stating, ?Parents think that private schools are better than public schools. But they are just wrong because the situation is just the same.? However, she also blamed teachers for allowing their frustration with the situation in their country to impact students? learning, suggesting that Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         49 teachers were responding to their unhappiness with their teaching conditions by putting little effort into supporting their students. ?These are teachers? problems? My students (don?t) have anything to do? with the problems of teachers in general. So we have to work for them and (try) to (give) them the best.? Table 4: Previous perceptions of public education   Privatization  - movement to private schools leading to declining enrolment and closing of public schools, threatening existence (2)  - education should be public - aware of strategies used to privatize resources, technology - importance of equal access Treatment of teachers - lack of resources in schools, teachers forced to pay - teachers losing rights: teacher testing, new law, unsure of implications,  - relatively low salaries - parents blaming teachers for low quality of public education, not only teacher?s responsibility  Professional development - lack of government support for professional development, teachers forced to pay - lack of time for teacher networking due to high levels of school based work  Quality of Education  - terrible, curriculum not good, teachers not teaching good knowledge, poor quality of English and other areas: 20% of math curriculum taught  - teachers partially responsible: allowing frustration with situation to impact students? learning, need to do what is best for students - parents? are incorrect in believing private schools are better, no difference in quality between public/private  Explanation for current state of public education  - education controlled by rich, maintain divide between rich and poor - lack of continuity of education goals between changing governments - societal problem: students not motivated, parents not involved - society expects government?s financial, people should help themselves and government support should only be given to those who really need it  - poor quality of public education due to bad program: fewer hours of English instruction, English not a priority, interrupted by strikes - private better because of higher funding  - government agenda to promote privatization and cut taxes - liberal politics, priorities profit not people, greed  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific topic)   Despite their shared recognition of challenges within the public education system, the Peruvian participants had different perceptions of the factors contributing to these problems and the people responsible for overcoming them. Laura was the only Peruvian to focus on the role of the government, in her statement, ?the rich people that have the power, they control the educational system. So that?s why sometimes the government doesn?t invest in education.? She Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         50 also blamed a lack of continuity in educational priorities with each new government. Amy blamed the poor quality of public education on a bad curriculum and ?teachers not teaching ? good knowledge.? She attributed some of these problems to a bad program, such as less time allotted to teaching English in public schools, perhaps due to it being a lower priority than other subjects. She also implied that teachers were contributing to the problem, attributing fewer hours of teaching in public school to the fact that teachers ?are on strike sometimes because ?they want to earn more money.? Her attitude towards strikes was somewhat ambivalent. When queried further on whether she supported these strikes, Amy stated that the teachers? strikes for higher salaries were warranted. Amy provided no evidence of holding the government responsible for problems in public education, although when asked to explain the poorer quality of teaching in the public system, given that many teachers work in both the private and public system, Amy explained that private schools had more money. Gabriela expressed her disagreement with expectations placed on the government for financial support:    There are parents who just think that the government has to    do everything. They don?t make (an) effort to help themselves?   They are just waiting for the government to help them?It?s not that   way. I think that there are people who need help?but there are others   that just don?t need that help?I think that we have to identify people    who really need help?the government?must help them. She characterized the challenges with public education in Peru as a ?social problem?, blaming students? lack of motivation, teachers? disinterest in improving their skills, and parents? failure to become involved in their children?s education.  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         51  These conflicting perceptions differed from those of the Canadian participants. While they had differing degrees of awareness of factors contributing to the state of public education, all identified the government?s impact on the current state of public education. Fred noted that before the Peru Project, she was ?pretty aware that? private industry was really interested in getting hold of all the education money?, by ?privatizing the equipment and giving money to private schools that already existed.? John and Natasha identified economic motivations for the British Columbian government?s educational policies. John described the governments? promotion of privatization as a means to ?have as many (as possible) move out of public education and into private and perhaps save a bit of tax dollars?. Natasha described the British Columbian government?s priorities as ?not in the interest of the? people. I think they?re looking for financial gains and economic growth. I think it?s about greed.? John expressed his frustration with trends to privatize education, describing the public system as ?an opportunity to level the playing field, where anyone, regardless of what economic background they come from has a chance of getting educated and maybe improving their lives.? A numbers of factors may have contributed to differences in Peruvian and BCTF participants pre-existing perceptions of public education. These are presented in the discussion.     Table 5 summarizes the learning related to public education that participants attributed to participation in the Peru Project. Most of the learning in this area was not identified until participants were specifically asked to describe learning related to this theme. However, each of the Canadian participants and one Peruvian participant included something that they had learned in the area of public education during their initial response to the general question about learning arising from Peru Project participation. These descriptions occurred spontaneously, with no prompting with regards to the theme of public education. Examples of this learning provided by  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         52 Table 5: Learning related to public education Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics) *indicates learning identified with no prompting regarding public education  Broad Theme Sub-theme Details Privatization   Privatization of schools - also closing public schools in Canada  - privatization issues in Peru* - high levels in Peru Negative public perception - negative public perception of public system in Peru - public?s perception that private is better leading to decreased enrolment, decreased funding - public. education under attack in Peru Privatization of curriculum - private control of curriculum: Pearson text books: leading to globalization of education  Government support   Funding  - low funding in Peru (3)  - basic teaching resources not funded  - Peruvian teachers buying basic resources  - Canadian government pays for teaching materials Political support - absence of national education program in Peru  - low levels of support from Peruvian president, despite teacher support for campaign  Treatment of teachers  Wages and benefits Benefits - low Peruvian salaries (2) - teachers working private and public due to low salaries  - limited maternity leave in Peru* Expectations - high demands on Peruvian?s time Public portrayal - smear campaign in Peru, ruining reputation in Peru  - teachers under attack more than in BC*  - Peruvian contracts aimed at dividing teachers  Learning conditions   Class size - high class size in Peru  Learning resources  - state of classrooms (holes in whiteboard)  Teaching time - nationwide challenge of limited time to teach English* Class organization - teachers don?t have own classroom in Peru, limits time and quality of teaching, Canadian teachers have their own classroom, leads to more autonomy in what you can teach Professional development (ProD)  Teacher autonomy - limited autonomy in ProD: administrative controlled in Peru, top down control in Peru - lack of awareness of possibility to learn from each other, may be limited by time constraints  - teacher driven ProD in Canada: good model for Peru Collaborative learning - Canada: sharing ideas: good model for Peru - teachers learn better from teachers  Privatization  - free ProD a new concept for Peruvians  Teachers? attitudes - BC teachers on-going desire for ProD, give up time  - Peruvian teachers want to improve through ProD - low levels of interest in Peru for ProD,  teachers not taking advantage of ProD opportunities - teachers need to increase interest in learning, importance of on-going learning   Implications for public education   - apply learning from Peru Project to classrooms to effect change in Public education, public education improved through improving teachers? skills  - responsibility of teachers to improve public education through ProD (2) Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         53  Broad Theme Sub-theme Details Teacher work ethic  Attitudes towards teaching - Peruvian teachers hard working  - Peruvian teachers caring  - Peruvian teachers? pride in work*  - strength of Peruvian women teachers  Resiliency - limited resources lead to high levels of teacher creativity  - teachers? positive attitudes/resilience/determination despite challenges/low levels of support (3) - did best possible with limited resources Attitudes towards improving  - teachers not taking advantage of opportunities to improve skills Comparisons between BC and Peru  General comparison - participation in Peru Project allows comparison of education between Canada and Peru - Canada has similar situation as in Peru (2)  - Canadian teachers also not happy with education system - better situation in Canada - similar trends in BC as in Peru - better off in BC than in Peru, though not good enough Privatization - also closing public schools in Canada - privatization occurring in BC and Peru * - similarities of privatization with South American and globally - parallels with attitudes toward private schools in BC - commercialization: private companies controlling curriculum through textbooks Government agenda - better understanding of government?s motivation in BC -  similar motivations for attacks on public education in Peru and Canada  Treatment of teachers - teacher smear campaigns (2) - union weakening strategies - similar struggles for autonomy in ProD * Comparison within different regions of BC or Peru Quality - limited ESL teaching time all over Peru * - lack of motivation of students in Peru * Changes in understanding through Peru Project participation         Government agenda - motivation for government measures in BC is to weaken teachers? union  - better understanding of government motivation for measures: facilitate privatization, support for privatization, government blaming teachers used to sell private education, justification for low funding  Scope of problem - better understanding of potential for elimination of public education in BC - experience helped with realizing similarities between Canada, Peru and South America and global similarities  Increased interest  - increased awareness, encouraged reflection Professional development - SUTEP can play a role in changing situation  - teachers can apply learning from Peru Project to classroom teaching to improve public education  Situation in Peru - view on Peruvian situation did not change (2)  - learned about situation in Canada but not Peru - situation in Peru is a social problem, no connection with situation in Canada  - common challenges within Peru described above Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         54 participants without specific theme related prompts are indicated with an asterisk in this and the following tables. When asked what they had learned through their Peru Project experience, each of the BCTF participants spontaneously identified learning something about the state of public education in Peru. Natasha also made some comparisons between the situation in Peru and British Columbia. Gabriela spontaneously identified similarities that she had discovered existed across Peru.   When prompted with questions about how their impressions of the state of public education had changed through their experience with the Peru Project, all of the participants identified learning achieved, although the number of examples and themes identified varied between Peruvian and Canadian participants. Each of the Canadian participants provided several examples of what they had learned about the state of public education in Peru within a number of different themes. All three noted issues related to the privatization of education. These included the high percentage of private schools and the negative public perception of public schools, including the role that decreased government funding play in the movement of students to private schools. Natasha also provided evidence of privatization and globalization of the curriculum that she had discovered. She learned that Pearson, a company known to produce many textbooks used in British Columbian schools, also published the Peruvian English textbooks. Low levels of government support for public education was also a common theme identified by all three BCTF participants. Limitations in both financial and political support were identified. Natasha experienced limited funding first hand in her workshop. ?I was just amazed that one of the classrooms I taught in had holes in the whiteboard and it was kind of peeling off the wall. And I just thought, how do the teachers teach in these conditions?? Subsequent discussion with Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         55 workshop participants revealed to her that Peruvian teachers were responsible for bringing their own basic supplies to the classroom.   The teachers said if they want a new whiteboard, they have to    pay for it. There is no money?Each of the teachers has to bring    their own whiteboard pen and eraser. And I just thought, wow, I    know in BC, we don?t have a lot, but there are some basics we take   for granted. Fred noted low levels of political support in the absence of a national education program and failure of the president, whose election campaign had been backed by teachers, to support teachers once elected. All three BCTF participants also expressed concern about the poor treatment of Peruvian teachers. Examples were provided of Peruvian teachers? limited salaries and benefits. Fred described salaries as ?abysmal?, noting that their monthly wages didn?t cover the costs to rent an apartment in Lima. Natasha learned that many teachers needed to work in the public and private system because of low salaries. During a workshop discussion on the BCTF?s role in obtaining benefits for teachers, John learned that Peruvians only had a few months? maternity leave. He also learned about the high expectations placed on Peruvian teachers, in the form of demands on teachers? time outside of the classroom. Two BCTF participants also identified learning related to the negative public portrayal of Peruvian teachers. Natasha described how Peruvian teachers ?seemed to be under attack more so than we are? while Fred commented that ?they were manoeuvring teachers? reputations, through the media and dirty government tricks that were making teachers look like idiots.? She also noted that the current teachers? contract, with its differing pay levels, was aimed at dividing teachers.   Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         56  Individual BCTF participants also identified learning in two other areas related to public education. John noted large class sizes while Natasha identified the effects of low funding of learning resources, both examples of learning conditions that negatively impact on Peruvian students. Natasha also described challenges with professional development within the Peruvian system. She attributed teachers? limited autonomy in selecting professional development activities to an administrator driven approach, a lack of awareness of the possibility of collaborative learning among teachers, and possibly, a lack of time due to work and family commitments. Natasha also noted the impacts of privatization of teacher training on Peruvian teachers and their responsibility to fund professional development: ?The fact that they could do this professional development for free also blew them away.?   Despite the challenges faced by teachers within the Peruvian public school system, each of the BCTF participants was impressed with the work ethic of Peruvian teachers. Peruvians? positive attitudes towards teaching were identified. John felt that, ?they truly did care about what they were doing. It wasn?t just a job.?  Fred was impressed by Peruvians? ?pride of work?whatever it is you make or do, you do exceptionally well.? She was also surprised by the strength of women teachers in Peru. ?The women there are fantastic. They just really know what they?re doing.? Each of the BCTF participants described Peruvian teachers? resiliency. According to John ?they wanted to provide the best level of education they possibly could with the resources and the funding that they had available.?   Except in the area of professional development, Peruvian teachers identified fewer examples of learning with regards to public education in Canada within the sub-themes described above. Amy was the only Peruvian to provide a specific example of the negative state of public education in Canada in noting, ?I think they are also closing public schools (in Canada) too and Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         57 that?s a big problem.? Peruvians? remaining two examples of the situation in Canada describe how the state of government support and learning conditions are better than in Peru. Laura noted better government funding of learning resources in Canada in stating ?I think that it?s different in Canada because sometimes in Canada the government provides the materials.? Gabriela learned that in Canada, teachers have their own classrooms in high school, unlike in Peru, where students remain in the same classroom and teachers circulate. According to Gabriela, the Canadian classroom arrangement is ?better because you have your own classroom and you can do whatever you want for your students.?   Most of the examples of learning related to public education provided by Peruvian teachers were in the area of professional development. Laura was impressed with the teacher autonomy and collaborative learning she had identified as aspects of British Columbian teachers? model of professional development. She described her understanding of this model in which teachers are involved in identifying topics of professional development and collaborating during their free time to share their ideas. She thought that this would be a good model for Peruvian teachers to adopt because ?if we as teachers share our ideas?the teachers will learn better from other teachers.? However, there were differing perceptions of Peruvian teachers? willingness to participate in professional development activities. While Laura believed that Peruvian teachers want to improve their skills through professional development, Gabriela described Peruvian teachers? low levels of interest. From her experience with teacher attendance in the Peru Project workshops and other workshops in which she had participated, Gabriela concluded that Peruvian teachers aren?t taking advantage of professional development opportunities and expressed the view that ?teachers need to be more interested in trying to learn more.? Laura offered a more positive view of Peruvian teachers? attitudes toward professional development, in describing how Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         58 Peruvian teachers invest their own funds in courses in order to improve their teaching. This positive view of her colleagues? attitudes towards professional development corresponds with her success at involving local teachers in her English teachers? network and subsequent workshops, as described later in this paper. Unlike BCTF participants, two of the Peruvian participants drew conclusions from their new understanding of professional development on implications for the role of teachers in improving public education. Laura and Gabriela noted the role of professional development in improving the skills of teachers, which, when applied to the classroom, could improve the quality of public education. Laura attributed Peruvian teachers? interest in professional development to a desire to make the public system better than the private one. ?I think that those (workshops) help teachers to? apply in class new techniques (and) new strategies. In that way we will have the real change in our education.? These notions compliment the changes in professional attitudes and values noted by the Peruvians in the previous section. Their implications are discussed later in this paper.  Each of the participants made statements indicating that participation in the Peru Project helped them to make comparisons between the state of public education in Canada and Peru. As Laura stated, ?giving these kinds of courses, the English teachers have the opportunity to compare our system of education with the Canadian system.? One Canadian and two Peruvians identified general similarities between the challenges faced by public education in the two countries. According to Gabriela, ?the situation in Canada is also quite similar to the situation in Peru because teachers are not very happy with all the system.? While identifying problems in both countries, Natasha and Laura noted that Canada was relatively better off than Peru with regards to the state of public education. This did not, however, lead Natasha to accept the situation in British Columbia as adequate. ?I just thought, well we?re actually pretty privileged in Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         59 BC for what we get (pause) and yet we could get so much more. Just speaking in comparison we?re better off.? Each of the participants also gave more specific examples of similarities, many of which have been discussed above. Natasha and Amy both described similar trends in privatization. Fred and Natasha became aware of similar motivations in Peru and British Columbia for government measures affecting public education. John and Fred noted similarities in the two countries? teacher smear campaigns, which John cited as a strategy used in both countries to weaken teachers? unions. Natasha identified similar struggles for autonomous professional development in the two countries.   Through her participation in the Peru Project, one of the Peruvian participants was also able to draw some conclusions about similarities between challenges faced by public education in different regions of Peru. Gabriela described her previous belief that the low levels of English demonstrated by her students were limited to regions outside of Lima and were especially high in rural areas. However, she learned through interaction with teachers in Lima and other regions of Peru that students across the country faced similar challenges. She attributed this to two factors: the limited weekly time allotted to English in public schools across the country and students? low levels of motivation to learn English.   Participants identified varying degrees of influence that participation in the Peru Project had on their perceptions of the state of public education in their own countries. Each of the Canadian participants identified significant changes in understanding resulting from their experience in Peru. John and Fred both noted that their experience had provided them with a better understanding of the motivations behind government measures with respect to public education. John understood that a key goal of these measures is to weaken the BCTF while Fred explained that she now understood how the attack on teachers was aimed at promoting Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         60 privatization by encouraging enrolment in private schools and thus justifying further cuts to government funding of public education. Fred also described an increased understanding of the potential scope of privatization in British Columbia. While prior to her participation in the project, she had been aware of privatization of resources as a source of private sector profits, her experience in Peru made her aware of the potential for the eventual elimination of public schools in British Columbia. ?But once I saw what other countries had to struggle with, I thought, ?Oh no, they want to get rid of (public education) completely!? Natasha described how her experience had provided her with an increased awareness of the global scope of threats to public education. While she had previously been aware of similarities between these threats in British Columbia, the United States and Central America, her experience in Peru led her to consider the presence of similar threats in South America and around the globe. Her experience with the project also led her to reflect more on the state of public education: ?It opened my eyes. It made me think more.?   Laura was the only Peruvian who identified changes in her perception of the state of public education in Peru resulting from her participation in the Peru Project. She noted that her experience had helped her to understand the role that SUTEP could play in changing the situation through supporting teachers? professional development. In applying their learning to the classrooms, teachers could then improve the state of public education in Peru. Conversely, Gabriela and Amy stated that their perceptions of public education in Peru had not changed through participation in the Peru Project. While both had noticed similarities between the situation in Peru and Canada, neither drew any conclusions from these similarities with respect to the situation in Peru. According to Gabriela, ?I think that?s the way I (saw) my country before and after participating in the? project?because it?s a social problem of my country and it Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         61 ?doesn?t have (anything) to do with Canadian teachers or the country (Canada) itself.? In stating that the problems within the education system in Peru had nothing to do with Canadian teachers or Canada, Gabriella was expressing her belief that there was no relationship between challenges faced by teachers and the education system in these two countries. In identifying weaknesses within Peruvian society as the source of these problems, Gabriela, like Amy, did not appear to hold the government accountable for the weaknesses in public education that she had identified. Similarly, while Laura had been aware of the government?s contribution to threats to public education prior to her participation in the Peru Project, her identification of the role of teachers in improving the state of public education suggests that she may have considered teachers rather than the government as those principally responsible for providing quality, public education. Thus, participation in the Peru Project did not contribute to any changes in Peruvian participants? understanding of the government?s role in supporting public education.  Learning related to teachers? unions  All of the participants in the Peru Project provided examples of some form of learning related to teachers? unions. As with public education related learning, only BCTF participants identified learning in this area without being prompted to do so. When asked to describe any unexpected learning resulting from the Peru Project, John described some of the political developments involving the guerrilla group, Sendero Luminoso and Natasha noted some of her observations on Peruvian teachers? involvement and support of their union. All remaining learning identified by these and the other participants was solicited by direct questions about teachers? unions. Table 6 summarizes participants? learning related to teachers? unions. All of the participants provided examples of how participation in the Peru Project helped them to develop Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         62 Table 6: Learning related to teachers? unions  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific topic) *indicates learning identified with no prompting regarding teachers? unions    Theme Sub-theme Details Expanded role of union  General comments - understanding of expanded role beyond defending rights  International Solidarity - SUTEP supporting cultural exchange - SUTEP bringing Canadian teachers - Peru Project allows comparison with Canadian system  - ?we?re learning from them? - recognition of common threats, attacks on unions, strengthened understanding of importance of international solidarity work  - increased understanding and support of member funding of solidarity work  - expanded understanding of role to include of solidarity - better understanding of why the BCTF is working in solidarity with international unions (2)  - importance of solidarity work due to shared struggles and shared passion for teaching despite funding cuts  - need to raise awareness of new understanding with colleagues  Social justice - strengthened view of BCTF as social justice union  Public education  - role in changing quality of public education through ProD  - protesting not enough, need to take responsibility for quality of education - international solidarity?s role in promoting public education in other countries  Teachers? rights - international solidarity?s role in supporting teachers? unions so they can better support workers? rights and learning conditions, autonomy in curriculum Professional Development - saw role of SUTEP in providing free ProD through Peru Project (3)  Understanding of partners? union Member support and involvement - saw/valued role of teachers (BCTF and Peru) as volunteers in providing ProD - Canadian teachers striking for teachers?/students rights - Peruvian?s high levels of involvement in protests  - Peruvian?s optional membership  - most Peruvian teachers not members* - Peruvians? distrust of SUTEP* - Peruvians unaware of benefits of SUTEP* Power of union - Peruvian teachers are less united and focused on a goal, less successful at meeting goals  - government cancelled union dues deduction for SUTEP - SUTEP?s limited resources in national office - BCTF funding SUTEP executive Political developments - presence of Sendero Luminoso taking over union office* - Sendero Luminoso: threats to local union president ?hit home? because of her past role in local executive Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         63 an expanded understanding of the role of their teachers? union. Each of the BCTF participants developed a deeper understanding of their union?s role in international solidarity. While John, was well acquainted with the BCTF?s work in this area as a past member of the International Solidarity Committee, his recognition of common threats to teachers? unions helped increase his understanding of the importance of the BCTF support of partner unions facing these threats. His experience also helped him to understand the benefits the BCTF gains from such partnerships, as expressed in his statement ?in fact, we?re learning from them as well.? Fred stated that her understanding of the BCTF?s role expanded beyond her previous awareness of its role in social justice to include international solidarity. She also developed an understanding of the importance of the BCTF adopting this role.     I think working with SUTEP made me look a little more at the BCTF    and why we?d be working with international unions? realizing that   international unions are in a lot of trouble?and we are really, really,   really strong, despite the fact that we feel that we?re not.    Natasha noted a ?greater understanding of why we?re involved in supporting our sister unions?, which she attributed partially to teachers? common struggles and shared passion for teaching, despite threats to public education. John and Natasha also became more aware of the relationship between international solidarity and other roles of the BCTF. John described how participation in the Peru Project had strengthened his view of the BCTF as a social justice union. Natasha developed an understanding of the variety of ways that the BCTF supports teachers through its international solidarity activities, including promotion of public education, and supporting unions in defending teachers? rights, including ?giving workers rights or teachers working and learning conditions, and fair wages, and hopefully some autonomy of their curriculum too.? Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         64  As with the BCTF participants, Peruvian teachers also developed an expanded understanding of the role of their teachers? union through participation in the Peru Project. Before participating in the Peru Project, as seen in Table 7, their understanding of the role of SUTEP was limited to that of defending teachers? rights, mainly through strikes. Each of the Peruvian participants described how the Peru Project helped them to develop an understanding of the role of SUTEP in supporting teachers? professional development. Laura also concluded that through this support, SUTEP could help to improve the quality of public education in Peru. ?I think that SUTEP is trying to change a little about the (education) system.? Two of the Peruvians also learned about SUTEP?s role in international solidarity. Laura noted that in supporting the Peru Project, SUTEP facilitated a comparison of the Canadian and Peruvian educational systems.   Giving these kind of courses, the English teachers have the    opportunity to compare our system of education with the Canadian    system and also take the good points and in their classroom they    will have made some changes. I think the results can be seen in    classrooms.  Amy described her new awareness the role of SUTEP in supporting a cultural exchange through bringing Canadian teachers to Peru.  Some of the Canadian and Peruvian participants also described learning about their partners? union in the areas of member support and involvement as well as the strength of the union. Through witnessing a teachers? protest in Cuzco after the project, Fred concluded, ?I was so impressed with how active teachers were in protecting public education. They were out there, they were demonstrating. I knew union participation was voluntary, so, that was pretty cool to see.? However, the remainder of the BCTF participants? examples indicated that they had Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         65 developed an understanding of low levels of Peruvian teachers? involvement and support of SUTEP. Fred learned that Peruvian teachers? membership in SUTEP was optional and Natasha noted that most Peruvian teachers weren?t members. In addition, Natasha learned about many Peruvian teachers? lack of trust and understanding of SUTEP and its role in supporting them, adding that she was ?blissfully unaware? of this before going to Peru. BCTF participants also learned about SUTEP?s limited power. John noted that automatic union due deduction had been cancelled in Peru and made connections to similar attacks on unions in the United States and Canada. Fred became aware of SUTEP?s limited resources when she visited the national office. ?This is a country with?I don?t know how many millions of people? Their national union has one little office and half a dozen paid people.? She also learned that the SUTEP executive leave was partially funded by the BCTF. Laura and Gabriela provided examples of learning about the BCTF. With regards to teachers? involvement and support of their union, Laura was impressed with the BCTF model of encouraging teachers to become involved in their union as volunteers in providing professional development. Gabriela noted Canadian teachers were also involved in their union through striking for teachers? and students? rights. Gabriela also drew conclusions about the strength of the BCTF in observing that the BCTF was a strong union, capable of achieving its goals because BCTF teachers ?are more united than we are in Peru. I think that?s the difference. And when people are united, I think that they can get their goals together.?    A final area of learning for two of the BCTF teachers was related to political developments affecting the union. Both John and Natasha noted attempts of members of the guerrilla group the Sendero Luminoso to take control of the union. John described how the Sendero Luminoso had taken over a regional SUTEP office. ?The elected member that we were working with was having to do his union work out of his car because he didn?t have access to the Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         66 office?That was?. very different from Canada.? Natasha described an article she had written detailing threats the Sendero Luminoso had made to the safety of the regional SUTEP president, adding, ?that for me, having been a (member of my local executive), really hit home.?   Attitudes towards unions  Changes in participants? attitudes towards their union were identified by asking participants to describe their perceptions of their union and whether these had changed as a result of their participation in the Peru Project. Table 7 presents a summary of participants? perceptions of their union both before and after their experience with the Peru Project. While all participants developed more positive perceptions, only the BCTF participants provided examples of positive attitudes before the project. John noted he had ?always had a positive view of our union.? Fred appreciated the support the BCTF offered in providing funds for social justice activities. While Natasha did not explicitly state her positive perception of the BCTF, evidence of a positive attitude was demonstrated in her high level of involvement before the project, as seen in Table 8. Despite these positive perceptions, both Fred and Natasha identified some negative aspects in their perceptions of the BCTF before they participated in the Peru Project. Fred gave evidence of  her limited awareness of her union in stating, ?up until then? all I?d ever heard about the union was what I heard on the radio.? She also described her previous knowledge of the BCTF?s role as limited to addressing issues of social justice. Natasha acknowledged that before the project, she had questioned whether the BCTF was spending too much of members? fees on international solidarity activities. ?I?d always thought? ?It?s a lot of money.? And actually, it?s a lot of money to send teachers down to Peru, and is it really worth it??  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         67 Table 7: Attitudes towards unions  Period Attitude Theme Details Before  Peru Project  Positive Varied reasons - positive view of BCTF  - union as a source of funds - demonstrates evidence of strong support through high levels of involvement Negative Not meeting teachers? needs - negative impression of SUTEP  - role limited to strikes (can be violent) and fighting for teacher?s rights - SUTEP only involved in meetings, no support for teachers? learning and cultural exchanges  - SUTEP not supporting all teachers, working for a few people - unable to see how SUTEP is meeting her needs: ?what is SUTEP for?? - focused on classroom and teacher, not interested in SUTEP Limited awareness - radio only source of information on BCTF  - only aware of role in social justice issues Spending - questioned amount spent on international solidarity activities  After  Peru Project Positive General impressions - changed opinion of SUTEP (2) - SUTEP doing something good - feelings changed a little bit after Peru Project - strengthened positive view, Role in international solidarity - happy to see SUTEP was bringing Canadians - pride in BCTF sharing resources - pleased with investment of union dues in solidarity (2)  - support for international solidarity work  Role in professional development - understanding of expanded role - realized role in supporting ProD (2) - saw that SUTEP supported cultural exchange  Strengths of union - relative power, homogeneity and democracy of BCTF compared to SUTEP and other unions Negative Lack of support for professional development - SUTEP is no longer supporting professional development now that Peru Project has ended (2)  - approached SUTEP about English workshops, focused on politics, no support given Negative experiences with union - lack of democracy within union: no consultation to end strike - SUTEP encouraging teachers to contest new law (changes in salaries and teacher testing), lack of faith in SUTEP?s power to change new educational law  - Peruvian teachers not united, contributes to inability to achieve goals  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific topic)    Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         68  Peruvian participants all described their perceptions of SUTEP before the project as negative, based on their belief that SUTEP was not representing the needs of teachers. Laura and Amy had both considered that SUTEP?s focus was limited to political activity. Laura noted, ?Some teachers believed that SUTEP is only for? strikes, for when you have to protest for your rights and sometimes it would be violent. And I had that idea.? Amy appeared reluctant to disclose her perception of SUTEP until told that I had already heard negative comments along with positive ones about the union and was interested in learning more. She then commented, ?SUTEP? is not good for all the teachers because, we think they work as a team but only for a few persons, not for all the teachers.? Although Amy did not clearly identify these ?few persons?, she appeared to be referring to those teachers who were principally concerned about political issues. Her criticism of SUTEP was centred on its principal focus on these political issues, which she identified as being addressed through meetings and strikes, and a failure to support professional development, an important need of teachers, which she felt that SUTEP ignored. Gabriela described her previous attitude as a lack of interest in SUTEP and failure to see any benefit that SUTEP gave her as a teacher, as indicated in her statement, ?And finally I said, ?? SUTEP, what is it for???   All participants replied that participation in the Peru Project had resulted in the development of more positive attitudes towards their union, although to varying degrees. John noted, ?The Peru Project? even strengthened that positive view that I had of our union?.  Gabriela commented that because of SUTEP?s support of the Peru Project ?I just changed my mind?   and I said that SUTEP is doing something good.? Amy explained why her view of SUTEP changed ?a little bit? after the project.? After hearing about SUTEP?s involvement in the Peru Project, she noted, ?I was very happy and I (thought) different(ly) about SUTEP.? Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         69  Participants? expanded awareness of their union?s roles was the major factor contributing to these improved attitudes. The three BCTF participants all developed more positive attitudes towards the international solidarity work of the BCTF. John described how his expanded awareness of the struggles of our partner unions, such as SUTEP, to regain strength in the face of government attacks helped him to understand the importance of the BCTF?s solidarity work. He also stated that he was ?pleased to know that every member in the federation? a certain percentage of their union dues goes to international work. We value that.? Natasha, who had previously questioned this investment, concluded that ?having experienced what I experienced? the investment of union dues in international solidarity is ?absolutely? worth it. She based her conclusion on her new awareness of similarities between BCTF and Peruvian teachers? dedication despite common threats to the education system:     Teachers there have? many of the similar struggles that we do?   It?s very clear that they?re passionate about teaching the language    and they really wanted to share that with their students? and yet,    with all the cutbacks and their lack of resources, there were these    roadblocks, and yet they were still able to do what they loved to do    in the best way they could. Natasha added that her identification of similarities between challenges faced by Peruvian and British Columbian teachers and her admiration for the dedication of her Peruvian colleagues helped her to better understand the importance of the role that BCTF International Solidarity projects play in supporting teachers in their struggles to defend public education and teachers? rights. Fred considered that the BCTF?s relative strength and our role as a social justice union implied ?we have to? help other international unions, particularly teachers? unions. Fred also Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         70 identified a second factor contributing to her improved attitude towards the BCTF. Through participation in the Peru Project, she was able to recognize the relative power, democratic structures and homogeneity within her union. The Peruvians all felt that their increased understanding of the role of SUTEP in supporting professional development contributed to their more positive attitude towards their union. Gabriela commented that through her participation in the Peru Project, ?I realized that SUTEP is working also for professional? development of teachers? I learned that it?s a union that has different aspects. Not only (to) fight for our rights.? Amy also appreciated SUTEP?s role in international solidarity, noting that she was happy to see SUTEP was bringing Canadians to Peru.  While all of the BCTF participants described ongoing positive attitudes towards the BCTF, only one of the Peruvians, Laura, had maintained her support of SUTEP at the time of her interview. Gabriela and Amy noted that the failure of their regional union to continue supporting professional development after the Peru Project ended contributed to their current, negative views of SUTEP. Gabriela explained that she had approached her union for support with a workshop, but ?they were not interested in organizing another seminar workshop? They were talking just about political situations and other things.? Amy?s negative view of the political activities of SUTEP suggests that she did not identify the potential for such activities to influence political policies and thus improve the state of public education. This also appears to be the case for Gabriela, whose negative experience with her union, associated with this focus on defending teachers? rights, also contributed to her loss of support for SUTEP. She partially attributed her negative perception of SUTEP to two experiences, one occurring after her participation in the Peru Project, in which SUTEP ended teachers? strikes without consulting members and subsequently did not succeed in obtaining their demands. ?We were on strike and ?suddenly Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         71 they stopped?. It was not nice. What SUTEP did was not nice? I?m not so happy with SUTEP.? She also doubted the power of SUTEP in its attempts to change educational laws legislating changes in wages and testing of teachers. ?I think SUTEP doesn?t have power. They say they are doing something? but I don?t think so.? She noted that part of this lack of power was due to the fact that Peruvian teachers weren?t united in their support for SUTEP. Thus, while Gabriela understood the ultimate goal of SUTEP?s political action, she was unconvinced of SUTEP?s ability to meet this goal. In addition, the fact that Amy and Gabriella did not hold the government responsible for challenges within the public education system, as discussed earlier, may have contributed to their lack of support for SUTEP?s political activities.  Actions taken in response to learning  The degree to which participants took actions in response to the learning achieved through participation in the Peru Project varied between BCTF and Peruvian participants, as did the nature and site of their actions. While each of the BCTF participants described increased involvement in the BCTF that resulted directly from their participation in the Peru Project, only one of the Peruvian teachers had become more involved in SUTEP activities. Conversely, Peruvian participants were more involved in non-union related activities.   Peruvian and BCTF participants differed in their levels of participation in their union before their experience with the Peru Project. Table 8 summarizes the variety of ways in which participants participated in their unions prior to the project. BCTF participants were all involved in at least one BCTF activity in the areas of defending teachers? rights, social justice or international solidarity. John was highly involved in all three areas, Fred was active in the area of social justice, and Natasha was highly active in a number of local executive positions related to Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         72 defending teachers? rights. Peruvian participants? involvement in SUTEP prior to their participation in the Peru Project was limited. Laura and Gabriela had participated in strikes, which Gabriela described as ?not a good experience.? Although Gabriela was a member of SUTEP, she did not participate in meetings and described herself as ?not an active member.? Amy, who taught only in private schools and was thus not eligible to be a SUTEP member, was not involved in SUTEP prior to the Peru Project.   Table 8: Union involvement before Peru Project participation  Broad theme Sub-themes Details Area of union involvement  Defending teachers? rights          - high levels: staff rep, local and provincial committees, AGM delegate - high levels: four different local executive positions - involved since first began teaching: curious to learn role of union - participated in strikes (2)  - strike not a good experience  - in-active, no meetings - not involved in any way with SUTEP Social justice  - high levels: four different local and provincial level committees related to social justice  - high levels: social justice local chair and provincial committee International solidarity - high: Tri-national conference, International Solidarity Committee  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific topic)    Table 9 summarizes changes in participants? involvement in their union and other activities after participating in the Peru Project. Most of the BCTF participants? new involvement was in activities related to raising awareness. Fred expressed a desire to raise awareness about threats to public education in stating, ?more teachers need to see this?, referring to what she had learned about the potential of privatization to eliminate public schools. Natasha discussed her desire to raise awareness of the BCTF?s International Solidarity Program. ?I believe in it firmly and I?m always concerned that with budget restraints it will get cut.? She later noted, ?coming  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         73 Table 9: Actions resulting from Peru Project participation Broad theme Sub-themes Specific actions Union involvement  Awareness raising - desire to raise awareness - raising awareness of and defend International Solidarity Program - raising public awareness of threats to public education   - shared experiences with family, colleagues  - shared new understanding of BCTF solidarity with colleagues and local executive  - informed SUTEP of threats to BCTF during job action, elicited letter of solidarity read at rallies - wrote two articles in Teacher Newsmagazine - would like to do a presentation on Peru Project - BCTF staff working group on public education - raised awareness of role of teachers in improving the quality of public education through professional development - promoted positive attitudes towards teachers sharing ideas Professional development   - supported Peruvian teachers with teaching methodology through emails  - organized ESL workshop with SUTEP support - plans to organize community based groups of English teachers to share ideas  - will support other Peru Project facilitators with logistics for organizing these groups  - nothing yet, but interested in providing workshops for teachers if opportunity arises (2) - interested in organizing an exchange program, BCTF teachers co-teaching with Peruvians Teachers? rights - provincial committee member  - will not be involved in political activities Lack of involvement  - focusing on teachers and students now, not SUTEP  - pledged dues to support opposition union group  Non-union activities          International Solidarity  - CoDevelopment Canada fundraising, attends events Professional development - English teachers group - plans to develop ESL teachers? network  - participated (non-voluntarily) in English teachers network associated with her network of independent public Catholic schools - teaches teachers in ?active English? in private institute   - has informally shared methodology with colleagues - NGO funded new English teachers? workshop  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific action taken)  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         74 back from Peru? I felt compelled I had to share my experiences with other teachers so they would hopefully have some sort of understanding of where their membership dues are going and why it?s important.? When asked to elaborate, Natasha described how her new awareness of teachers? common struggle to provide quality public education, despite similar challenges faced by teachers in Peru and British Columbia, helped her understand the importance of BCTF International Solidarity projects in defending public education and teachers? rights. Some of this awareness was acquired through informal conversations. John described such conversations in which he shared his experience in Peru. ?I?ve talked about it a lot? not even just with teachers but with other unionists, family, friends?? Natasha discussed sharing her new understanding of BCTF solidarity with colleagues and at her local union?s executive meetings. Each also described more concrete acts aimed at raising awareness. John informed the SUTEP executive of threats to BCTF teachers during job action. ?They were shocked to hear some of the fines that our provincial government was going to apply to teachers.? SUTEP responded with a letter of solidarity, which was read at a number of rallies in British Columbia. Fred decided to join a BCTF working group on public education because of her new desire to raise public awareness of threats to public education. Natasha wrote two articles describing her Peru Project experience for the BCTF Teacher Newsmagazine. Laura was the only Peruvian to participate in acts aimed a raising awareness. She described conversations with her colleagues aimed at promoting both the role of teachers in improving public education through professional development and the adoption of positive attitudes towards sharing ?ideas?, referring to teaching strategies and methodology  The majority of Peruvian?s involvement in SUTEP and potential future involvement was in the area of professional development. Laura was the only Peruvian to have become involved Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         75 in SUTEP supported English teaching methodology workshops. Gabriela and Amy expressed a willingness to do so if their local unions offered support in the future. Laura also described her plans to organize a network of community based groups of English teachers who would share teaching strategies, and offered to help past Peru Project facilitators from other regions of Peru with logistical support in organizing similar groups and planning future workshops. Amy expressed an interest in helping to coordinate a cultural exchange in which BCTF teachers would live in her city and team-teach with Peruvian teachers. Although she did not specify working with SUTEP in planning this project, she was willing to work with her union if the opportunity arose. She also expressed an interest in participating in an exchange in which Peruvian teachers would visit schools in British Columbia. John was the only BCTF participant to mention involvement in professional development after the Peru Project. He had maintained contact with some Peruvian teachers via email, and would occasionally answer their questions regarding English teaching methodology.   A final area of increased union involvement was participating in BCTF activities related to teachers? rights. Two BCTF participants mentioned increased involvement in BCTF committees with this goal, although only Natasha suggested that her desire to do so was a direct result of participating in the Peru Project. She noted that her experience with an activity led by the BCTF International Solidarity Committee led her to apply to participate in a BCTF committee. None of the Peruvian participants mentioned new involvement in defending teachers? rights. Gabriela indicated her firm intention not to become involved in her union in this way through her statement, ?when they ask about other political situations, I was never involved in those situations and I won?t be involved in those situations.? This statement reflected Gabriela?s perceptions, discussed previously, that the public held excessively high expectations for Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         76 government support of public education and that SUTEP was lacking the necessary power to achieve its political goals. Aside from her interest in becoming involved in professional development activities, she expressed her intentions to distance herself from involvement in her union through her decision to ?work in my classroom, (and) be dedicated to my students.? She also acknowledged that she had signed to have her union dues sent to the regional opposition union rather than to SUTEP, although she didn?t believe that this change had been implemented. Gabriela?s region is one of the few in Peru where union dues are deducted from pay cheques and public school teachers can select to be official members of their teachers? union. According to Gabriela, only a token amount of union dues is deducted, equivalent to less than one dollar each month. As a private teacher, Amy did not pay union dues. Neither did Laura, as dues are not deducted in Lima. Although SUTEP is organizing a membership campaign, at the time of this research, most Peruvian teachers are not official members of SUTEP, although they may be involved in its activities to varying degrees.  Participants were also asked to describe any non-union activities in which they were involved that were related to public education. John described his involvement in international solidarity activities outside of his union through supporting CoDevelopment Canada, an NGO and BCTF partner that works with unions in Latin America. He also mentioned attending local events related to solidarity. There was no indication that this involvement resulted from his experience with the Peru Project. Each of the Peruvian teachers described non-union related activities in the area of professional development. Laura described her participation in an ESL teachers? group, whose goal is to enable members to share English teaching methodology. Gabriela had plans to initiate a similar English teachers? network and described less successful, administrative enforced ESL networks in which she had participated. Amy had informally shared Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         77 some of the strategies she had learned through the Peru Project with her colleagues. Two Peruvians also described their involvement in teaching English to teachers. Laura described her role as teacher and practicum observer for a private teacher training institute and Gabriela described an unsuccessful venture to teach English to non English speaking English teachers through a Spanish NGO funded program.  Table 10 summarizes the factors that encouraged or limited participants? involvement in activities after the Peru Project. The three Peruvians were motivated to become involved in new activities by their new understanding of their potential role in professional development. Laura identified her new understanding of the role of SUTEP in providing professional development, as well as her new awareness of the potential for teachers to volunteer their time to contribute to professional development as factors contributing to her desire to become involved. Both Gabriela and Amy were motivated by a new understanding of the importance of sharing ideas among teachers, while Gabriela also noted the importance of ongoing learning. Amy was also motivated by the possibility of learning from Canadians. The BCTF participants mentioned a variety of motivating factors. John and Natasha both described their desire to ?give back? to the BCTF.  John described a desire to compensate the BCTF for the knowledge and skills his union had helped him to develop. Natasha?s desire to give back was in gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the Peru Project. ?I really felt compelled to give something back to the teachers and the BCTF for supporting this program.? Fred attributed her motivation to become more involved in her union to her raised awareness of the state of public education, which arose through her participation in the Peru Project.  Participants described a variety of factors limiting their increased involvement in activities. Each of the BCTF participants and Gabriela mentioned that a lack of time and Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         78 conflicting commitments limited their involvement. According to Gabriela, ?The problem is that all teachers just don?t have time to attend (union) meetings and know how the union?s working? Maybe that?s also a problem of the teachers?but sometimes there?s no time to attend to those meetings.? Lack of union support was another limiting factor also mentioned by both BCTF and Peruvian participants. While understanding of time constraints, Natasha mentioned that she was unable to do a presentation at the BCTF assembly because no time was made available in the   Table 10: Factors influencing involvement  Broad theme Sub-themes Specific factor Factors encouraging involvement New understanding of professional development - new understanding of role of SUTEP in professional development and teachers? role as volunteers  - importance of lifelong learning - importance of sharing ideas with colleagues (2)   - values learning from Canadians Desire to give back  - give back to union (2) - gained knowledge and skills from union - grateful for opportunity to participate in Peru Project  New understanding of public education - raised awareness of situation Increased interest  - Peru Project participation increased her interest in being involved in BCTF committee Factors limiting involvement Time - time (3)  - limited by other commitments (2) (family, other union commitments, teaching) - balance in life - lack of time to attend meetings Union support - lack of BCTF support (no time for presentation at RA) - lack of support for workshops from local SUTEP (2) Perception of union  - loss of trust in SUTEP - SUTEP not doing what is best for teachers Teachers? attitudes - need for teachers to take responsibility to get involved in unions  Personal limitations - nervous about public speaking  Peruvian participants (bold)    BCTF participants (italics)  (Numbers indicate that more than one participant identified the specific factor)  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         79 schedule. This lack of logistical support was not overly discouraging for Natasha, who still hoped to find an appropriate BCTF venue for a presentation. SUTEP?s lack of support had more negative effects on Peruvians? involvement in their union. As described earlier, Gabriela and  Amy were not involved in leading teacher workshops through their union because of a failure of the regional SUTEP to continue supporting the program after the BCTF project ended. Gabriela also mentioned her lack of trust in her union and her perception that SUTEP was not meeting teachers? needs as an additional factor limiting her involvement in her union. While she noted that teachers had to take responsibility for becoming more involved in learning about their union, time limitations and loss of trust made this difficult. ?We trust(ed) and we believe(d) in the people who are in charge of SUTEP, but I think that they were not very honest. And most of the teachers think that way.? She based this loss of trust on her negative experiences with SUTEP described earlier. Personal limitations, in the form of his lack of confidence in public speaking, was a final factor which John described as limiting his participation in his union.  Discussion  The research findings confirm a number of Marshall?s (2009) observations with regards to the learning and actions that may result from participation in north-south worker exchanges. Firstly, Marshall?s identification of different forms of learning that may occur, in the form of increased knowledge related to unions and globalization and changes in participants? attitudes, is confirmed in this research. Peru Project participants developed new knowledge about their unions, all sharing in raised awareness of their union?s multiple roles. The BCTF participants also developed knowledge related to the implications of globalization for public education. BCTF participants? increased admiration for their Peruvian colleagues? resilience in the face of Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         80 their challenging conditions and their increased support for solidarity with their southern colleagues, as well as Peruvian participants? admiration for BCTF teachers? willingness to volunteer their time to collaborate with their colleagues, parallels the changes in participants? attitudes identified by Marshall. In addition, this research identified the potential for the development of participants? more positive perceptions of their unions. Secondly, the findings in this research confirm Marshall?s identification of the bi-directional nature of learning occurring in cross-cultural movements, which Hall and Clover (2005) also identify. Finally, participants? engagement in a number of activities resulting from their learning following their participation in the Peru Project supports similar findings in Marshall?s research. In addition to confirming these conclusions, this research expands on Marshall?s findings by identifying a number of factors that influenced the degree and focus of learning, the nature of participants? actions, and the degree of coordination of these actions with the work and focus of participants? unions. This section begins by considering variations in learning resulting from Peru Project participation. This is followed by an analysis of possible factors contributing to these variations. Differences in participants? actions resulting from their learning as well as possible factors contributing to these differences are then analysed. The discussion concludes with a consideration of correspondence of the learning and actions resulting from Peru Project participation with Social Movement Unionism.  Variations in learning  As indicated in the research findings, participation in the Peru Project resulted in very different learning related to public education for BCTF and Peruvian participants. These variations in learning are characterized by the presence or absence of conscientisation, the first step in praxis, in which learners develop an understanding of a situation affecting them, often Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         81 providing them with a desire to take action to change this situation (Freire, 1974). The BCTF participants all developed an increased awareness of challenges faced by public education in Peru, and this enabled John and Natasha to make comparisons with the situation in their province and at the global level. Many of the threats to public education identified by the BCTF participants parallel those described in the literature. This increased awareness of their situation can be considered a form of conscientisation.   While participation in the Peru Project allowed the Peruvian participants to make a few comparisons between the state of public education in British Columbia and Peru, Laura was the only Peruvian participant to note a change in her perception of public education in her country. However, this change was limited to her new awareness of the role of teachers in improving public education through professional development. Laura and her Peruvian colleagues did not describe any increased awareness of the state of public education in Peru, nor make connections between Peru, British Columbia, and the global situation. Their learning in this area can thus not be described as conscientisation.   As discussed in the introduction, conscientisation corresponds to the initial stage of critique, one of the three educational moments in Sullivan?s conception of Social Movement Learning (1999, in Hall et al., 2012). Critique involves identification of a threat to society followed by the critical analysis of responses to this threat. This is an important stage of Social Movement Learning, as the increased awareness of a situation is the impetus for participants? resulting actions in response to this perceived problem. Thus, BCTF participants? learning resembles Social Movement Learning in the presence of conscientisation or critique. This is not the case for the Peruvian participants.   Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         82  This analysis does not, however, dispute the positive implications of the Peruvians? learning for the defense of public education in Peru. Laura and Gabriela?s new understanding of teachers? potential role in improving public education through professional development and the Peruvian teachers? learning related to professional development and attitudes in support of collaborative learning are aligned with one of SUTEP?s key strategies for defending public education in Peru. As described in the introduction, the involvement of teachers in developing and sharing pedagogies is an important component of SUTEP?s goal of developing alternative responses to challenges in public education. Contributing to teacher-led delivery of free professional development has the potential of supporting Peruvian teachers? autonomy in the development of pedagogical practices, countering the negative portrayal of public schools and teachers, and providing an alternative to costly, privately delivered teacher upgrading, which is mandatory in Peru. However, the absence of conscientisation in Peruvian participants? learning limits their understanding of how their new awareness of teachers? roles in professional development contributes to SUTEP and the BCTF?s overall goals in the defense of public education.   Participation in the Peru Project contributed to varying degrees of change in participants? understanding and perceptions of teachers? unions and support for their union. While their involvement in this project led each of the participants to develop an increased awareness of the roles of their union, the nature of these roles differed. BCTF participants? increased awareness of the challenges faced by Peruvian teachers and the relative strength of the BCTF helped them to develop a broader understanding of the BCTF?s role in international solidarity. This contributed to their increased support for their union. Peruvian teachers? greater understanding of the role their union could play in professional development resulted in their increased support for Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         83 SUTEP. However, at the time of the interviews, the more positive views that Amy and Gabriela had developed towards SUTEP immediately after participation in the Peru Project had been replaced by their originally held, negative views of their union, indicating limitations in the degree to which Peru Project participation influenced lasting change in these participants? support for their union.    Factors contributing to variations in learning  Among a number of factors contributing to differences in the Peru Project participants? learning, participants? pre-existing perceptions may have had a significant influence. Firstly, participants? perceptions of their national or provincial public education system before participating in the Peru Project may have influenced their learning related to public education. While BCTF and Peruvian participants all provided examples of their awareness, prior to participating in the Peru Project, of a number of weaknesses within their public education systems, they differed in their identification of the factors contributing to these weaknesses. The BCTF participants all described their perceptions of the government?s involvement in threats to public education before participating in the project. This understanding broadened through Peru Project participation, as they became aware of the situation in Peru and identified a relationship with the situation in British Columbia. The BCTF teachers? pre-existing perceptions differed greatly from those of Amy and Gabriela, which reflected in many ways the negative portrayal of public education, the vilification of teachers and the minimal responsibility for funding education placed on the government attributed in the literature to neoliberal strategies aimed at promoting privatization. Amy and Gabriela?s pre-existing perceptions of the factors contributing to challenges in public education in Peru may have prevented them from considering the relationship between government policies and threats to public education, thus limiting their Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         84 tendency to make comparisons and develop a new understanding of the situation in Peru. Laura was the only Peruvian to share with her BCTF colleagues, in expressing her pre-existing perceptions of the factors contributing to the challenges faced by public education, the identification of the government?s economic agenda. This suggests that other factors prevented Laura from broadening her awareness in this area during her experience with the Peru Project. These are considered below.  Differences in participants? pre-existing perceptions may have also contributed to the varying degrees to which their perceptions of their union changed through participation in the Peru Project. Each of the Peruvian teachers held negative views of SUTEP when they began participating in the Peru Project. For these teachers, developing a positive view of SUTEP involved overcoming or disregarding a number of strongly held, negative perceptions. While each of the Peruvians developed positive views of the role their union could play in supporting teachers? professional development, Amy and Gabriella maintained their negative views of the political activities of their union and had readopted their overall negative views of SUTEP at the time of this research. Laura was the only Peruvian who overcame her negative perception and maintained a positive perception of SUTEP. Factors contributing to this difference are discussed later in this paper. Conversely, the BCTF participants held overall positive views of their union before participating in the Peru Project. As a result, their development of more positive perceptions of their union through participation in the Peru Project was not inhibited by pre-existing negative views of the BCTF.   A number of factors may have contributed to these differences in participants? pre-existing perceptions of public education and their unions. Amy and Gabriella?s views may have been influenced by exposure to their neoliberal governments? negative portrayal of public Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         85 education, teachers and their unions as well as its promotion of decreased government funding of education through privatization. They may also have been exposed to these views through their work in private schools. While the British Columbian government and media may have communicated similar views to the BCTF participants, John, Fred and Natasha may have been exposed to conflicting information through the BCTF?s campaign to defend public education, which includes press releases, advertising campaigns, member mail-outs, and information conveyed at union assemblies. While SUTEP is involved in a similar campaign, its limited funds may prevent SUTEP from successfully responding to the government?s negative portrayal of public education and teachers? unions.   Differences in participants? pre-existing perceptions of public education and their unions may have contributed to variations in their conceptualization of the goals of the Peru Project, a second factor that may have impacted participants? learning. None of the Peruvian participants identified learning about public education or unions as a motivation for participating in the Peru Project. Laura, Gabriela and Amy?s learning goals, and correspondingly, the majority of their learning, were all in the area of professional development. This contrasts with BCTF participants? inclusion of learning goals in the area of public education and John?s inclusion of learning about Peruvian teachers? unions as motivations for their participation in the Peru Project. While all participants were united in their goal of providing professional development for Peruvian teachers, the failure of Peruvian teachers to include goals related to public education and teachers? unions in their motivations for participating in the Peru Project indicates the absence of unified goals among Peru Project participants. Both variations in participants? pre-existing perceptions and Peruvians' apparent lack of awareness of SUTEP and the BCTF?s goals for the project may have contributed to this absence of unified goals among participants. Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         86   According to Della Porta and Diani (1999, in Hall et al., 2006), unity in goals, which they describe as collective action directed at a commonly identified concern, is a principal defining feature of Social Movement Learning. While Eyerman and Jamison (1991, in Hall and Clover, 2005) acknowledge that the goals of a social movement are not predetermined, but articulated through collaborate efforts of its members, a shared concern identified by members of a social movement is the impetus for the formation of the movement, upon which the movement?s activities and resulting learning are based. Thus, while some degree of negotiation of goals occurs, the existence of shared goals that are directed towards a commonly held concern is a critical feature of Social Movement Learning. The absence of unity in goals is a barrier to the development of common and collaborative action among the members of a movement. This analysis of the differences between BCTF and Peruvians? learning in relationship to these goals confirms Della Porta and Diani?s identification of common goals as important feature of Social Movement Learning by providing evidence of the implications for learning of a lack of unity in goals. The learning achieved through participation in the Peru Project differs from Social Movement Learning in the absence of this defining feature.   These variations in learning goals may in part be due to participants? differing levels of awareness of SUTEP?s and the BCTF?s goals for the Peru Project, resulting from participants? varying degrees of involvement in discussing these goals. The BCTF participants were exposed to the Peru Project?s goals related to strengthening member support for SUTEP and its defense of public education through their participation in an orientation session in the early stages of project planning back home in British Columbia. While SUTEP?s goals for the Peru Project are similar to those of the BCTF, no evidence was found of Peruvian participants? involvement in activities aimed at raising their awareness of goals related to public education and member support for Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         87 unions. BCTF Peru Project leaders from 2011 and 2012 describe the focus of pre-project communication with Peruvian facilitators as mainly related to the logistics of the project, although the SUTEP coordinators attempted to select participants who were supportive of their union (emails from C. Jokanovich, Oct. 29, 2013 and C. Soderland, Nov. 7, 2013). No opportunities were provided for Peruvians to participate in an orientation session before BCTF participants arrived. All pre-workshop sessions in Peru involving Peruvian and BCTF facilitators were focused on clarifying the logistics of the program and developing workshops, with no time provided for discussion of the socio-political situation in Peru and British Columbia and the related project goals. The absence of opportunities for Peruvian participants to learn about project goals in the areas of public education and union support could account for their failure to include them among their goals for participating in the Peru Project. This would consequently have an impact on Peruvians? degree of learning in the areas of public education and unions.   Limiting Peruvian participants? awareness of the Peru Project goals to the area of professional development may have been a deliberate strategy on the part of SUTEP. Given these participants? negative pre-existing perceptions of SUTEP, especially with regards to its political activities, the SUTEP executive may have decided not to inform them of the Peru Project?s goals related to the defense of public education and member support of unions. This strategy may have been successful in the short term, by allowing SUTEP to successfully recruit Peruvian workshop facilitators. However, its long-term effects, as seen in participants? failure to develop an increased awareness of threats to public education and Gabriela and Amy?s ongoing lack of support for SUTEP, suggest weaknesses in this strategy  A more limited variety and number of learning opportunities, both in preparation for and during the project, is a third factor that may have contributed to Peruvians? limited learning Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         88 related to the state of public education and teachers? unions. BCTF participants were provided with a number of learning opportunities, which helped raise their awareness of these issues. Intentional learning opportunities were provided through participation in the Peru Project orientation session in the early stages of the project. In addition, BCTF participants described a number of informal learning opportunities, including conversations with Peruvians, workshop delivery, and participating in a variety of experiences, such as visits to a school and the union office. In supporting BCTF participants? development of an increased awareness of Peruvians? experiences with public education and their unions, these learning opportunities helped these participants to identify relationships between the situation in British Columbia, Peru, and at the global level. Conversely, all of the Peruvians? opportunities to learn about their BCTF colleagues? experiences in these areas were informal in nature and more limited in frequency and variety than those of the BCTF participants, consisting solely of conversations with their BCTF colleagues. Fewer opportunities to develop an understanding of their British Columbian colleagues? situation would limit their tendency to identify relationships between the situation in British Columbia, Peru and at the global level. This contrasts sharply with the high degrees of learning described by the Peruvian participants in the area of professional development, which they attributed to participation in a variety of intentional and informal learning opportunities.  This analysis demonstrates the relationship between the nature of learning enabled by Peru Project participation and the degree and focus of learning achieved. These findings extend the conclusions made by Hall and Clover (2005), Marshall (2009), and Della Porta and Diani (1999, in Hall et al., 2006). Firstly, while confirming that participation in Social Movement Unionism facilitates both informal and intentional learning, in bi-cultural activities such as the Peru Project, the degree of each form of learning that occurs as well as the focus of learning may Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         89 vary among participants of different cultures. These variations may in part be due to the different variety and number of informal learning opportunities provided. Fewer opportunities for informal learning related to challenges identified within the guests? socio-political context may be available to participants from the host country, which may contribute to unequal degrees of learning in bi-cultural movements. In addition, while confirming the importance of informal interaction of members in Social Movement Learning, this analysis suggests that intentional learning opportunities may play an equally important role in participants? learning by supporting the learning that occurs informally. Thus, while spontaneous, unplanned learning occurs through participation in a movement, this learning may be enhanced by providing opportunities for all participants to participate in intentional learning opportunities and by ensuring that all participants have frequent access to a variety of informal learning opportunities.    Variations in actions  While each of the participants identified a number of ways in which they acted upon their learning, these acts varied in their nature and focus, as well as in the degree of involvement in their union. Differences in the focus and nature of BCTF and Peruvian participants? actions correspond to the variations in the nature and focus of their learning. BCTF participants? learning related to public education and the importance of international solidarity, which they attributed to participation in the Peru Project, contributed to their decision to become engaged in activities aimed at raising awareness of these issues. These actions were conceived in response to their increased awareness of the state of public education, which corresponds to Freire?s (2009) conscientisation. As such, the BCTF participants? development and carrying out of actions correspond to the second and third stages in praxis: the elaboration and implementation of Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         90 strategies in response to a perceived problem (Freire, 2009). This corresponds to resistance, the development and implementation of responses resulting from critique, in Sullivan?s conception of educational moments in Social Movement Learning (1999, in Hall et al., 2012).  Conversely, each of the Peruvians? acts attributed to Peru Project participation was in the area of professional development. This focus of their actions reflects their principal area of learning attributed to Peru Project participation. None of the Peruvians identified that these acts were in response to increased awareness of a problem that they had identified within their socio-political context. While Laura and Gabriela considered that through participating in professional development they could help to improve the state of public education, their awareness of the state of public education in Peru had not changed through Peru Project participation. Thus, the absence of conscientisation, the first and essential stage in Freire?s (2009) praxis, as an impetus for their acts suggests that the acts cannot be considered a stage of praxis. Similarly, their acts do not correspond to Sullivan?s notion of resistance in Social Movement Learning (1999, in Hall et al., 2012). Thus, while their acts can be seen to support one of SUTEP?s strategies in defending public education by contributing to teachers? participation in developing alternative pedagogies, the Peruvian teachers were not aware of this goal nor of the relationship between their acts and this goal. This resulted in a lack of coordination of their efforts with those of SUTEP. The implications of failing to include these teachers in goal setting and strategic planning are considered in more detail in the analysis of Social Movement Unionism, later in this paper.  It is also noted that each of the BCTF and Peruvian participants carried out the actions resulting from their learning independently of the other participants. No opportunities for collaborative planning were provided during or after the Peru Project. As a result, although the BCTF participants worked towards the similar goal of raising awareness about threats to public Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         91 education and the Peruvians all provided professional development, they did not collaborate in developing these goals and strategies. There was also no evidence of coordinated actions between Canadian and Peruvian participants. In this way, participants? actions differed from Freire?s praxis, which involves collective reflection and the development of strategies aimed at responding to an identified problem (Blackburn, 2000). This collective strategizing and action taking facilitate more coordinated actions with potentially greater impacts.     Two factors are identified as influencing participants? selection of union or non-union activities to carry out these acts. The majority of the BCTF participants? acts were carried out through union related activities. Their choice to participate in activities with their union reflects the more positive perception of the BCTF that they developed through participation in the Peru Project as well as BCTF support for their involvement in these activities. Similarly, Laura?s decision to carry out professional development activities with SUTEP resulted from her improved perception of her union in addition to SUTEP?s support for her involvement. However, Gabriela and Amy attributed their failure to become involved in their union more to this latter factor. Despite the fact that they had readopted their pre-existing, negative perceptions of SUTEP at the time of the research, both expressed a willingness to become involved in delivering workshops if SUTEP provided an opportunity to do so. Similarly, although less of a deterrent, her union?s failure to provide time in the BCTF Representative Assembly schedule prevented Natasha from offering a presentation on her experience with the Peru Project. In addition, the participants? universal identification of time as a factor limiting participants? involvement in activities suggests a potential role for unions in providing release time for teachers? to carry out some of these activities. These examples provide evidence of the relationship between unions? support for member engagement and members? ability to participate in their union and in doing Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         92 so, contribute to meeting its goals. Peru Project participants? abilities to act on their learning and support the goals of their unions was facilitated or hindered by SUTEP and the BCTF?s level of support for these initiatives. Two forms of support are identified in this research. A union?s logistic support, such as participation in the organization of workshops, is needed facilitate these actions. In addition, as illustrated in Natasha?s example, a union?s support can take the form of valuing and including strategies developed by its members. This is a key characteristic of democratic member participation, which considered in detail in the following section.   Features of social movement unionism  The findings provide evidence of varying degrees of correspondence of learning and resulting actions attributed to Peru Project participation and the four key defining features of Social Movement Unionism. These include the identification of a specific challenge within the socio-political context characterized by a high degree of societal inequity as impetus for the emergence of Social Movement Unionism, an expansion from the economic focus of labour movement unionism to include a political focus on societal needs, the formation of alliances with groups pursuing similar goals, and an increased democratic participation of members in the policies, strategies and activities of the union (Ryeburn, 2013).  This section makes use of Ross?s (2007) theoretical framework and draws on some of the conclusions in the above analysis to consider the degree to which participants? learning and actions resulting from their involvement in the Peru Project correspond with each of the features of Social Movement Unionism.   As described in the introduction, the BCTF and SUTEP have identified current threats to public education resulting from neoliberal policies as the specific challenges within the socio-political context that are the impetus for their adoption of Social Movement Unionism. While the Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         93 inclusion of threats to teachers? unions in their concerns suggests a partially economistic diagnostic frame (Ross, 2007), these unions? preoccupation with the implications for neoliberal education policies on society as a whole leads to the conclusion that the BCTF and SUTEP have adopted a form of Social Movement Unionism that is principally characterized by Ross?s anti-economistic diagnostic frame (Ryeburn, 2013). The previous discussion demonstrates that only the BCTF participants became more aware of this context through their participation in the Peru Project. In including in their concerns threats to teachers and implications for society as a whole, the BCTF participants adopted a diagnostic frame that resembles that of their union. While Laura was aware of her government?s responsibility for threats to public education, neither she nor the other Peruvian participants developed an increased awareness of these challenges within their socio-political context through their involvement in the Peru Project. This suggests a lack of correspondence between the Peruvian participants? learning and the first defining feature of Social Movement Unionism.  The second feature of Social Movement Unionism, the BCTF and SUTEP?s resulting expanded focus on defending public education, can be identified in the variety of ways each of the participants acted upon their learning. The BCTF participants? participation in activities aimed at raising awareness resulted from their broadened understanding of threats to public education. The primary focus of their concerns on the implications of these policies for society as a whole suggests that the BCTF participants adopted Ross?s (2007) anti-sectionalist prognostic frame in which actions are taken to defend the public good, although the influence of a sectionalist prognostic frame is evident in their concerns for defending teachers? rights. Conversely, the Peruvians? involvement in professional development activities was not motivated by changes in their understanding of threats to public education. While their focus on Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         94 improving teachers? skills suggests a sectionalist prognostic frame in its focus on teachers? needs, Laura and Gabriela?s understanding that these acts could help to improve public education implies that an anti-sectionalist prognostic frame also influenced their actions. As discussed earlier, in contributing to SUTEP?s strategy of providing opportunities for teachers to participate in the development of alternative pedagogies, these teachers were engaged in supporting SUTEP?s focus of defending public education. However, the Peruvian teachers? degree of engagement in their union?s focus differed from that of their BCTF colleagues in two ways. Firstly, unlike their BCTF colleagues, none of the Peruvian?s appeared aware of SUTEP?s focus on defending public education. Secondly, Gabriela and Amy?s activities that supported this focus were carried out independently of SUTEP. These two factors prevented a coordinated effort between the Peruvian teachers and SUTEP.  They also indicate low levels of democratic member participation, as discussed later in this paper.  The third feature of Social Movement Unionism is the formation of alliances of groups with shared goals. While, at first glance, this feature appears evident in the collaboration between teachers from SUTEP and the BCTF on this project, two limitations with the nature of the alliance are identified in this study. Firstly, while the alliance between SUTEP and the BCTF was political in nature, based on the identification of common challenges a shared focus related to public education, these defining features of this alliance were not made clear to all Peru Project participants. Unlike the BCTF participants, who were made aware of these challenges and focus through participation in the pre-project orientation session, no such opportunity was provided for the Peruvian participants. Differences between Gabriela and Amy?s pre-existing perceptions of public education and those identified by SUTEP also contributed to the absence of a political alliance between SUTEP executive and these teachers. The common focus of Peru Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         95 Project participants on goals related to professional development suggests that the alliance between BCTF and Peruvian participants was more professional than political in nature. This professional alliance corresponds to Ross?s (2007) sectionalist identity of alliance members, whose membership is made up of a limited sector, in this case, English teachers. While this alliance allowed them to meet goals related to professional development, it did not facilitate Peruvian teachers? full engagement in SUTEP?s focus of defending public education.   A second limitation with the alliances identified in this study is seen in the post project activities of participants. Although, as described in the introduction, the BCTF and SUTEP have developed alliances with a number of partners in their defense of public education, Peru Project participants? engagement in the activities of these alliance members was limited. John was the only participant to engage in activities of a non-union alliance member through his involvement in activities with the BCTF NGO partner CoDevelopment Canada. Two factors may have limited participants? involvement in these alliances: a lack of awareness of the existence of these alliance partners and limited access to their activities. No evidence was found of support given by SUTEP or the BCTF to raise participants? awareness of alliance partners nor to facilitate participants? involvement in their activities. As a result, participation in activities involving these alliance members appears to be mainly limited to BCTF and SUTEP executive members. Failure to include non-executive members in these alliances has the potential of limiting the scope and impact of their activities.    Among the features of Social Movement Unionism, democratic member participation, although identified in this study, had the weakest presence. A number of implications for this weakness are discussed in the previous analysis of factors affecting participants? learning and actions, which identifies a relationship between the degree of democratic member participation Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         96 and variations in participants? learning and actions. According to Ross (2007), democratic member participation characterized by membership focussed/democratizing organizational practices, or the inclusion of union members in setting goals and elaborating strategies to meet these goals, is an essential component of Social Movement Unionism. In providing a means for unions to acknowledge and respond to members? needs, this approach can result in increased member support for and involvement in their union. Democratic member participation, as demonstrated by the study?s findings, was limited with regards to participants? involvement in setting project goals related to public education and member support for unions, both prior to and during their participation in the project. Peruvians were not aware of these goals and while BCTF participants were informed of the project goals, they were not involved in setting them. As a result, the only shared goal among project participants was in the area of Peruvian teachers? professional development. Limited democratic member participation could also account for the absence of collaborative goals, strategies and actions developed by participants at the end of the project in response to their learning, as no opportunities were provided for participants to develop shared goals and strategies Examples of support for and limitations in democratic member participation were also identified in SUTEP and the BCTF?s varying degrees of support for involvement of participants in union and alliance member activities following Peru Project completion. In the instances where the BCTF and SUTEP facilitated member involvement in committees, awareness raising and professional development, participants were able to plan and engage in activities that supported their unions? goals. Failing to include Amy, Gabriela and Natasha in union activities prevented these teachers from contributing to these same strategies and goals. These weaknesses in participants? degree of democratic member participation suggest the presence of Ross?s (2007) membership focussed/mobilizational organizational practices, but Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         97 the absence of membership focussed/democratization practices.  The adoption of these organizational practices suggests a lack of correspondence with Ross?s conception of Social Movement Unionism.  This analysis leads to the conclusion that the degree to which participation in the Peru Project and resulting activities can be considered a form of Social Movement Unionism differed for Peruvian and BCTF participants. The principal difference is related to these participants? degree of democratic member participation before, during and after the project. BCTF participants? higher level of democratic member participation allowed them to develop an understanding of the challenges within the socio-political context and resulting focus of actions identified by the BCTF. This facilitated their inclusion, to a certain degree, in the BCTF and SUTEP?s political alliance in defense of public education and increased their ability to carry out actions that were coordinated with and supported the goals of this alliance. The failure to include Peruvian participants in identifying the challenge and focus identified by SUTEP prevented these participants from engaging in a political alliance with their union. As a result, the actions resulting from their participation in the Peru Project were not coordinated with the actions of SUTEP. These conclusions expand on Ross?s (2007) findings on the importance of membership focused/democratizing organizational practices. Limiting participants? awareness of the political nature of goals in Social Movement Unionism may succeed, in the short term, in encouraging the participation of members who are critical of the political actions of their union. However, the long term effects of this approach may include members? failure to develop an increased awareness of the challenges and focus identified by the union, a limited degree to which participants? negative views of their union are overcome, and the absence of members? coordinated involvement in activities supporting the union?s focus.  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         98 Implications  This research identifies parallels between Marshall?s (2009) understandings of the learning and action taking that may be enabled through participation in north-south worker exchanges and the learning and resulting actions identified for these Peru Project participants. While confirming Marshall?s findings that participation in these exchanges supports learning in the areas of increased knowledge and changing attitudes, this research expands on these findings by identifying factors that facilitated or limited the degree of learning that occurred for Peru Project participants. These included participants? pre-existing perceptions of public education and their unions, their degree of awareness of the project?s goals, and the degree and variety of activities provided that enabled learning. This research also adds to Marshall?s identification of the potential of participation in these exchanges to encourage members? engagement by identifying factors that encourage or discourage participants from carrying out these activities in collaboration with their union. While noting the influence of participants? perceptions of their unions and time limitations, this research identifies unions? support for member engagement as the principal factor influencing members? involvement in union based activities.   Research findings also contribute to current conceptions of Social Movement Learning.  Firstly, while confirming Hall and Clover?s (2005) and Marshall?s (2009) understanding of the bi-directional and incidental nature of informal learning that can occur through cross-cultural movements, this research identifies a relationship between the focus and scope of learning and the number and variety of informal learning opportunities. Peruvians? relatively limited learning related to the politics of public education demonstrates that participants may have fewer and less varied informal learning opportunities that could enable them to develop an understanding of the relationship between challenges in their socio-political context and that of their guests. In Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         99 addition, the potential for intentional learning opportunities to contribute to increased degrees of learning, as demonstrated in BCTF participants? learning attributed to participation in an orientation session, supports the conclusion that intentional learning opportunities may play an equally important role as informal ones in Social Movement Learning, as suggested in Marshall?s (2007) research. Finally, this research confirms Della Porta and Diani?s identification of the importance of unity in participants? goals in Social Movement Learning (1999, in Hall et al., 2006). Peruvian participants? apparent lack of awareness of the Peru Projects? goals related to public education and increased member support of SUTEP contributed to their limited learning in these areas.  This research also confirms and expands upon current understandings of Freire?s (1974) conscientisation and praxis within north-south worker exchanges. Firstly, while the current approach to learning within the Peru Project results in some degree of learning and action taking by all of the participants, a number of factors were identified that enhanced the development of conscientisation and praxis. These include increasing participants? awareness of project goals; providing intentional, or formal, learning opportunities focused on developing a more united understanding of the socio-political context, and facilitating the development of informal learning opportunities in order to support the identification of a relationship between challenges identified within each group?s socio-political context. Thus, while confirming Marshall?s (2009) identification of learning that occurs spontaneously through participation in cross cultural movements, this research suggests that planned intervention aimed at facilitating both intentional and informal learning may play an important role in supporting conscientisation and praxis. Secondly, this research provides evidence for the importance of conscientisation and praxis, which Sullivan identifies as critique and resistance (1999, in Hall et al., 2012) in Social Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         100 Movement Learning. The absence of conscientisation in Peruvians? learning, as seen in their failure to broaden their understanding of challenges related to public education, prevented them from developing an awareness of how their subsequent participation in activities related to professional development could contribute to SUTEP?s strategies to defend public education.  This research confirms and adds to conclusions drawn in my recent study, which identified a correspondence between the work of the BCTF International Solidarity Program and Social Movement Unionism, while also identifying weaknesses in two of its defining features: participation in alliances and democratic member participation (Ryeburn, 2013). While identifying the potential for Peru Project participation to contribute to learning and actions that resemble those characterized by Social Movement Unionism, this research identifies factors that contribute to varying degrees of correspondence with each of its four defining features. While BCTF participants developed an increased awareness of challenges public education faces within the socio-political context and developed actions that contributed to their unions? focus in defending public education, the Peruvian participants were less successful at fully engaging in these first two defining features of Social Movement Unionism. Weaknesses within the participants? engagement in alliances, the third feature of Social Movement Unionism, were noted in the professional nature of the participants? alliance and in the failure of SUTEP and the BCTF to facilitate participants? engagement in activities with other alliance members outside of their unions. Limited democratic member participation, the fourth defining feature of Social Movement Unionism, contributed to the weakness in these three other features and resulted in varying degrees of learning and action taking among participants.   The findings in this research on the Peru Project can inform the BCTF, SUTEP, and other unions involved in Social Movement Unionism in their planning of solidarity projects. Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         101 Addressing the factors identified above and supporting conscientisation and praxis would enhance participants? awareness of and involvement in the identification of socio-political challenges and might result in more political action. Ensuring participants? awareness of the political goals of the project and supporting participants? access to participation in activities with other alliance groups may strengthen members? involvement in and support of union goals. Facilitation of democratic member participation through the adoption of Ross?s (2007) membership focused/democratizing organizational practices may lead to increased member engagement in Social Movement Unionism and result in participants? increased support for their unions. This may be achieved through inclusion of members in the development of project goals, supporting participants? collaboration in planning follow up goals and activities, and facilitating participants? engagement in union and alliance members? activities. Specific recommendations for the Peru Project drawn from these implications and other conclusions noted in the discussion are presented in Table 11.  This research contributes to the knowledge base related to the outcomes of professional development programs in developing countries offered by teachers? unions and other providers. The predominant forms of teacher professional development activities in these countries are currently delivered by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), whose focus is increasingly influenced by northern countries' national economic agendas, considered by some to be a form of imperialism (Youngman, 1996 in Groener, 2000). NGO support also facilitates decreased government funding of public services (Gallin, 2000 and Manicom & Walters, 2012). These challenges are demonstrated in Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) policy statements (CIDA, 2012) and funding cuts to Canadian NGOs whose goals diverge from these policies (Barry-Shaw & Oja Day, 2012). Teachers? union solidarity shares with NGO Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         102 Table 11: Specific recommendations for the Peru Project  Recommendation Details Provide opportunities for participants? engagement in developing a shared understanding of challenges within the socio-political context. - Facilitate a discussion among all participants on their perceptions of teachers? unions, the state of public education and its relationship to professional development before the project begins, encouraging participants to reflect on the factors contributing to their existing perceptions  Involve participants in elaborating project goals. - Facilitate coordination of a pre-project orientation session for Peruvian participants in which SUTEP?s goals for the Peru Project are presented, explained and justified. - Encourage BCTF and Peruvian participants? input into the project goals at an initial meeting of the team. Facilitate collaboration of participants in planning follow up activities. - Offer a follow up session at the end of the project, providing opportunities for participants to develop collaborative goals and action plans.  Increase opportunities for Peruvian?s informal and intentional learning about BCTF teachers? situation - Encourage Peruvian and BCTF participants to share hotel rooms to provide increased opportunities for informal conversations.  - Offer a language enhancement workshop on the state of public education in British Columbia and Peru. Provide opportunities for Peruvian facilitators to attend this workshop and participate in conversations. Support democratic member participation in union activities. - Support SUTEP in developing a teacher led network of past Peru Project facilitators, coordinated by a facilitator in the national level, which works closely with a member of the SUTEP executive to ensure that each region offers a follow up workshop.  - Support past facilitators in developing skills to coordinate these workshops. - Facilitate BCTF and Peruvian participants? attempts to engage in their union through publication of articles in the Teacher Newsmagazine, SUTEP publications, and on the BCTF International Solidarity and SUTEP websites; supporting them in their efforts to offer presentations at BCTF and SUTEP assemblies; and encouraging them to develop local International Solidarity Committees. - Consider modifying current practice of recruiting BCTF participants with high degrees of involvement in their union. Inclusion of members with lower levels of union involvement may ensure the selection of participants with more time available to become involved in activities resulting from their learning. In addition, highly involved members may have already developed high levels of awareness of challenges faced by public education, while less involved members may learn more from their experience with the Peru Project. - Provide opportunities for participants to participate in discussions with their union executive to identify additional strategies to increase levels of teachers? democratic member engagement in their unions Increase participants? awareness of and access to participation in alliance group activities - Offer a follow up session for participants, providing information of the activities carried out by alliance members.  - Support BCTF and SUTEP participants? efforts to engage in alliance activities by facilitating the publication of participants? articles on alliance members? websites and in their publications and funding participation in alliance conferences.   support the potential to provide high quality professional development, as seen in Peruvian teachers? identification of high degrees of learning with regards to English teaching methodology and professional attitudes. However, it differs from the NGO model in its potential to facilitate Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         103 raised awareness of threats to public education and support teachers in contributing to their unions? struggle for government funding of public education. Evidence for this advantage of delivering professional development through teachers? unions? solidarity programs is suggested in this research. Evidence provided in this research of the potential of such projects to successfully support professional development is summarized in Gabriela?s description of the Peru Project and its impacts on her teaching as ?one of my biggest experiences? in my whole life.?   Finally, the findings point to the potential for BCTF, SUTEP, and other alliance partners to collaborate in the development of a wide scale social movement in support of public education. While no formal acknowledgement of the existence of such a movement can be found in the literature, many aspects of the work of the BCTF International Solidarity Program with its alliance partners, including SUTEP, correspond to current conceptions of social movements. Two of Della Porta and Diani?s defining characteristics of social movements: solidarity and a focus on a commonly identified concern (1999, in Hall et al., 2006), are reflected in the participation of a number of BCTF and SUTEP alliance members in responding to common threats to public education. Melucci?s identification of a social movement?s focus on challenging and developing alternatives to society?s commonly held conceptions (1998, in Hall et al.) is seen in the efforts of these alliance members to raise union member and public awareness of flaws in neoliberal educational policies and to develop alternative policies. Peru Project participants? identification of a variety of negative implications for society resulting from neoliberal educational policies in British Columbia and Peru highlights the importance of developing a social movement in support of public education.  Informal learning through teacher solidarity                                                                                         104  Solidarity activities such as the Peru Project have potential to contribute to a movement for public education. These findings support and expand upon Marshall?s (2009) recommendations regarding the important role that worker exchanges can play in contributing to unions? responses to the challenges associated with globalization by identifying a number of factors that could improve the outcomes of such projects. This research demonstrates the potential for participation in solidarity projects to contribute to participants? awareness of threats to public education. 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