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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201273 Find in a Library
Title: Making Diversity in Correctional Education Classrooms Work for Correctional Educators and Incarcerated Students and Workers
Journal: Journal of Correctional Education  Volume:54  Issue:2  Dated:June 2003  Pages:75-78
Author(s): Sally A. Spry
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 4
Type: Instructional Material; Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses issues associated with having a White, female correctional vocational instructor teach non-White male incarcerated students in Michigan prisons.
Abstract: Issues that may arise are cultural male-female role definition, female authoritarian concepts, low literacy rates, and role identification based upon heritage norms. The White, female correctional educator who instructs non-White, male students must incorporate diversity concepts and practices into classroom learning to offset the cultural fact that a White female is in a position of authority. Diversity concepts and practices can possibly turn learned negative concepts based upon gender and race into positive learning tools while still maintaining and enhancing the standards of education in the correctional classroom. In order to accomplish this, the teachers must understand the complexities of diversity and how diversity affects the students and workers. Many inner-city subcultures have been characterized by unreliable parents, and many students from these subcultures have belief patterns based upon multi-generation public-assistance families. Many inmates have come from backgrounds in which being a minority means to be the target of discrimination, ridicule, and negative reinforcement. For the first time they are being asked in the classroom environment to be dependable and responsible for themselves. The teacher can begin to change patterns of responsibility by demanding accountability in the classroom, regardless of race, gender, or other demographic characteristics. Further, by fostering proper ethics and choice selection within the classroom, cooperative and collective learning development begins. In addition, it is important that the learning environment not be dogmatic and authoritarian, but rather cooperative. This means that the teacher creates an atmosphere of openness to learning in a cooperative venture. Students questions are never dismissed as frivolous or unimportant. Diversity of student input becomes a means of building upon positive cultural concepts and changing negative cultural concepts and beliefs. Other aspects of the learning environment should be enthusiasm, reliability, reasonableness, realistic goals, and instructor empathy and tolerance for varying learning levels, belief patterns, and cultural norms. 1 reference and 7 Internet resources
Main Term(s): Corrections education
Index Term(s): Corrections staff gender differences; Cultural influences; Educators; Ethnic groups; Gender issues; Inmate attitudes; Michigan
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