Klaudia M. Rivera
Is a Professor of Education atLong Island University Brooklyn, where she prepares teachers. Originally from Nicaragua where she was introduced to the work of Paulo Freire, for the last thirty years she has developed and applied participatory and popular education programs at the community-based and the university levels in the United States. Borrowing from her early work at Solidaridad Humana in New York City and building on an asset paradigm, these programs integrate native language literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) and foster bilingualism and biliteracy. After many years of developing programs in different communities in New York City, she demonstrated these pedagogies at El Barrio Popular Education Program, a Community-Based Organization (CBO) she directed and cofounded, which was named a national demonstration program and received international and local recognition because of the successful implementation of participatory and popular education. This program integrated literacy with ESL, health education, leadership development and economic development through the incubation of worker cooperatives.
The curriculum was based on popular research projects which results were documented on video and distributed via public access television and community forums. Program participants chose the topics of the investigations which aimed at changing the social political and economic conditions that affected their lives.
The topic of her doctoral dissertation on the use of popular theater in education, took her to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she studied theater of the oppressed under Augusto Boal. Together with Raul Añorve of Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA), and Michael James from Northern California, she created a national network of popular educators of color in the 1990s. The network met on a regular basis for growth and training among the participants and served as a safe place for popular educators of color to come together, learn from one another, and support each other’s work.
Klaudia Rivera’s teaching and scholarship address issues of language and literacy and their relationship to power and equality. Her research and publications focus on literacy and biliteracy, language and educational policy, and the practice of popular education and popular research. She conducted a national research project on the impact of workers’ center with a special focus on Casa Latina in Seattle which she included in a chapter in her co-edited book “Adult Biliteracy: Sociocultural and Programmatic Responses.” She has also published on popular education and popular research in TESOL Quarterly and has served as a consultant and trainer in popular education, popular theater and popular research to community-based organizations, universities and other interested educators in the United States and abroad.