ERIC Number: ED346460
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Composition in Prisons: Methods and Materials.
Mowery, Carl D., Jr.
A pilot study gathered information on materials and methods used by writing instructors teaching in prisons in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri via a questionnaire. The classes taught by the respondents were all at the college level, were sponsored by various universities and colleges, and all but two were taught at maximum security prisons. Responses indicated that: (1) instructors used a wide variety of handbooks or texts commonly found in college classrooms; (2) no course packets were used; (3) audio-visual aids were used often; (4) the most effective writing subjects were topics of immediate importance to the inmates; (5) standard prewriting activities were used; (6) rigid prison schedules interfered with a personal approach to teaching writing; (7) the inmate-students exhibited a wider variety of ability than one would expect to find on the college campus; (8) peer critiquing was successful in only one class--the only one that was coeducational; and (9) inmates were older and more experienced than most college students. A major difference between the prison and college classrooms was in the language used. One instructor permitted a certain amount of street talk in the all-male setting of his course but not in the students' written essays except as direct quotes in dialogue (the students accepted this without difficulty). Overall, it was found that some of the noticeable benefits of the writing programs to the inmate-students included increased participation in prison newspapers and creative writing activities. Four conclusions are drawn: (1) that the nature of the instructional material used has little effect on program or student success; (2) that the success of the programs largely depends upon support and encouragment of the school and prison administrations; (3) that instructors must make a genuine effort; and (4) that inmates also must be willing to make serious adjustments in their personal attitudes and outlooks. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; Kentucky; Missouri; Tennessee