Jane Vella Sings: Popular Education for Two (1994)

It’s March 1994. There are two participants: a physician from Haiti and me, Executive Director of an adult literacy agency in rural Western New York State. I so wanted to learn what Jane Vella modeled and taught that when I approached The Board of Directors about going to North Carolina, I offered to pay half of my expenses. Yup, I was hungry to learn.

We sat around the coffee table in Jane’s soft blue living room, materials spread like fans: the design, colorful Principle and Practices cards, and of course copies of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach. An easel held key points for the brief lecture. But as eager as I was, I could barely keep my eyes open. I didn’t understand how I could be so tired when I was so excited to learn from this woman who helped groups sing with engagement.

It would be a couple of weeks later, after the Jubilee Popular Education course ended, before I realized I was pregnant. And, what a birth it was – a life-long Dialogue Education practitioner and a magnificent son to love.

Darlene Goetzman


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