UBC Graduate Research

Awareness, attitudes and actions of Peru Project participants Ryeburn, Barb


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.

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