Radford University Scholars' Repository

English Pedagogy for Incarcerated Populations

Davidson, Karrah English Pedagogy for Incarcerated Populations. 2022. Radford University,

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (426kB)


Collaborative programs between English Departments and Correctional Facilities are growing in popularity nationwide. We know that education and access to programing both play major roles in recidivism. Through programming (whether that be Inside-Out style courses, book clubs, or creative writing courses) English Departments can provide a unique opportunity for the incarcerated individual to see varying perspectives, gain confidence, enter into different discourse communities, and hone critical thinking, writing and communication skills to better prepare them for life on the outside. Instructors for these courses have had great success when using the works of William Shakespeare as their reading material. Shakespeare’s plays contain valuable and relevant themes for the students such as justice, fairness, gender, and power just to name a few. Not only are these works successful because of their thematic relevance and potential for class discussion, but also because of their cultural capital. To most readers outside of academia, Shakespeare seems inaccessible. However, giving students the necessary tools to delve into these seemingly difficult texts gives them the confidence to participate in a new and productive kind of discourse. Similarly, creative writing courses in prisons and jails have also proven to be successful. This kind of course gives students the ability to articulate their stories and express themselves in more productive ways. Creative writing courses give a voice to a silenced population—a place where they can go to speak freely if given the space to do so. Clearly, it would be necessary to make a conscious effort pedagogically to create a learning community where individuals were comfortable sharing personal stories and gaining confidence in their work. These spaces offer a unique opportunity for students and instructors alike to gain insight and learn from each other. Again, these courses have the potential to help students to hone critical communication, and writing skills that could increase their chances for a successful reintegration into society.

Item Type: Thesis
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Radford University > College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences > Department of English
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 20:54
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 14:15
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/871

Administrative Actions

View Item View Item