Theory and Practice for Literacy in the Prison Classroom

An Inquiry Approach for Students and Educators


As political tides shift and funding for college-in-prison programming ebbs and flows, educators who work in these contexts are often left with few resources for questioning their practice and their field. To that end, this book aims to encourage dialogue, to ask educators to interrogate their values, beliefs, and practices with and about college-in-prison programming and the students those programs serve. By consulting the works of Paulo Freire and Ernst Bloch, this text seeks to present a methodology for best designing and implementing a meaningful literacy pedagogy for incarcerated students at the nexus of social, political, and educational contexts.

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Gregory Bruno, Ph.D. (2019), Teachers College, Columbia University, is Assistant Professor of English and Co-coordinator of the Composition Sequence at Kingsborough Community College. He has designed and facilitated college-in-prison programs in New York, published on student debt, writing pedagogy, and community colleges, and contributed chapters on college-in-prison pedagogy.

1 Asking Meaningful Questions: Introducing an Inquiry into Carceral Pedagogy
 1 What This Books Seeks to Do
 2 Methodology: An Inquiry Stance
 3 Letting Theory Guide Inquiry: Bridging Paulo Freire and Ernst Bloch
 4 How This Book Is Organized
 5 Opening the Conversation

2 Tracing the History of Carceral Learning: A History and the Politics of Teaching in American Jails and Prisons
 1 Theoretical Context: Foucault and Althusser
 2 The Origins of Mass Incarceration in America
 3 Correlative Trends in Incarceration and Education
 4 Relationship to Incarceration and Literacy
 5 A History of College in Jails and Prisons
 6 Current Trends in Carceral Education
 7 Conclusion

3 Ernst Bloch and Paulo Freire: Toward Meaning in College in Prison Programming
 1 The Purpose of Outlining a Methodology
 2 Theorizing Carceral Pedagogy
 3 Paulo Freire
 4 Ernst Bloch
 5 Bridging Paulo Freire and Ernst Bloch
 6 The Nature of “Not Yet” and “Ideological Becoming” in Carceral Learning
 7 Conclusion

4 Cultivating Blochian Warmth in Carceral Pedagogy
 1 A Brief Biography of Ernst Bloch
 2 Warm Stream Practices in Higher Education
 3 Not Yet: Ernst Bloch and Hope
 4 Abstract and Concrete Utopias
 5 Colder and Warmer Streams
 6 Conclusion

5 Thinking Critically about Critical Pedagogy: Considering the Role of Freirean Thought in the Prison Classroom
 1 Reconsidering the Influence of Paulo Freire
 2 Principles of Freirean Thought
 3 Freire’s Theology
 4 A Critique of Critical Pedagogy for Incarcerated Learners
 5 The Relationship between Paulo Freire and Ernst Bloch
 6 Applying Paulo Freire in a Carceral Pedagogy and College in Prison Programming
 7 Conclusion

6 Carceral Pedagogy and Making Meaning: Seeking Purpose in the Prison Classroom
 1 Meaning-Making in College in Prison Programming
 2 Meaning-Making and Meaning-Makers
 3 Constructivist Psychology
 4 Stream Theory, Critical Pedagogy, and Making Meaning
 5 How Do We Implement Meaning-Making Practices in Carceral Pedagogy?
 6 Conclusion

7 A Pedagogy of Meaning-Making for Incarcerated Writers: Literacy as a Meaning-Making Practice
 1 Liberal Arts and Literacy Practice in College in Prison Programming
 2 Teaching Writing
 3 Stream Theory and Meaning-Making for Literacy Pedagogies
 4 Toward a Meaningful Literacy Pedagogy for Incarcerated Students
 5 Conclusion

This text would be of interest to graduate students in literacy and education programs, aspiring or current prison educators, and higher education administrators interested in bringing college-in-prison programming to their campuses.
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