ERIC Number: ED380171
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-May
Walking the Line: Teaching Remedial Writing in a Correctional Facility.
Crimmel, Henry Hays, III
When teaching remedial writing in a correctional facility, a teacher may carry assumptions shaped by formal education that do not always translate to a prison context. These include the idea that the classroom will provide a sphere of intellectual activity, immune from heavy-handed institutional intrusions; that students will want to get to know one another, share ideas, and form a learning community in a de-centered classroom; and that the teacher should establish personal relationships with the students in order to diminish the student/teacher gap. The reality of teaching in prison, however, is quite different. The classroom atmosphere is determined by the facility's pervasive regulatory system; the blackboard is dwarfed by a long, narrow, barred observation window and loudspeakers continually blare Orwellian commands. Moreover, sharing ideas and getting to know one another runs counter to the convict's code where inmates are expected to mind their own business. Other problems are presented by the fact that students appear and disappear with no explanation; inmates are reluctant to keep journals containing personal information; teachers are not allowed to give newspapers, magazines, copies of articles, or uncensored letters to students; and facility guidelines advise against sharing personal information with prisoners. Teachers in a non-traditional learning environment such as a correctional facility must be prepared to modify their teaching methods. (KP)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Community College General Education Association (13th, Albany, NY, May 5-7, 1994).