I’m a student, get me out of here! The importance of student identity for distance learners in prison Anne Pike, Institute of Educational Technology [email_address]
Built on previous research/ collaboration
What technology for learning, how is it accessed and used and how is it perceived?
3 prisons (male,cluster) across 3 security cats B-D
10 inmates (3.5 yrs to life) studying with 3 DL providers
6 staff across most organisations
In-depth, semi-structured interviews
+ observation & document analysis
Three emerging themes
Personal space-time : “ this bed space is mine and what takes place in here is me and anything else is outside of that” (Duncan)
Trust: As prisoners progress through the security levels, physical restrictions improve but access to technology appears to reduce
Dehumanisation: “it’s put on your purple tracksuit … at HMP X you are going to be sewing curtains” (Freddie).
“ Can you read? Yes? Then you’re educated ”
Stigma – DL is recreational (purposeful activity)
Complex, conflicting visions (Punishment v Rehabilitation, work v education, ‘progressive’ v ‘working’)
HMPS Regimented work ethic – recycling, cleaning, forklift-truck driving
Student Identity. (student comments) “ “ The box arrives. I think ‘Great, I’m a student again’” “ It makes me feel a lot more like a human being. I’m not a number in a box, I’m an individual, I’m allowed to share and expand my mind” “ I’m moving away from where I was” “ I’m swimming against the tide”
Is this evidence of identity change?
Prisoner identity - frame of reference
Failure – no previous qualifications, 80% excluded from school
Crime – a way of life
Stigma – past, present, future
Drugs – cognitive therapy
Fellow prisoners – gangs, criminal code, doing time
Need – use time usefully , pay back, survive
Student identity frame of reference
Choice – doing it for me (because I can?)
Belonging, peers (other students)
Isolation – unable to communicate with tutor/peers but no longer part of the prisoner community
A new community of practice – different codes
Pride – success, skills (employability?)
Use time usefully
So what? Where does it lead?
Prisoner v Student Identity Confidence Power Self-worth Stigma Media Respect Technology learning failure employment Social exclusion qualifications drugs Prison staff Other prisoners Society pride crime skills community Other students education choice needs money support survival
PhD – possibilities and practicalities
Comparison – progressive v working prison?
What makes a learning prison?
Comparison – prison v non-prison student?
Longitudinal – probation, employment, reoffending, model citizen?
Higher level learning or any learning? (Art?)
Distance travelled from original frame of reference?
What are the key parameters?
Progressive’ v ‘Working’ prison Many organisations have conflicting views and rules (different targets?) Organisations work together – with one aim (shared targets?) Funding is difficult to find Application process and funding is well-organised Students invisible in the system Progression recorded No coordination of distance learning – students work alone Dedicated distance learning coordinator ALs have difficulty gaining access or communicating with students ALs welcomed – good relationships with education staff Very limited access to computers/printers (not welcome in education department where facilities are better) Open access to ICT with supported internet or intranet access No peer contact Open learning with debating/discussion groups Work-led Student-centred Working culture Learning culture Distance Learning is classed as recreational – no time or space for learning Distance Learning is part of learning programme with dedicated classrooms and session time ‘ Working’ Prison Lower security cat ‘ Progressive’ Prison Private/ higher security cat?
Future research – possibilities and practicalities
Large scale and valuable to society
Comparison - Working prison v Progressive prison
Higher level Distance Learning?
Moving frame of reference – how far?
Comparison - with non-prisoner?
Does it make a difference? Longitudinal study, probation
Prison Education Dept OU Outside world Original source: Higher Education in Prison: Just another chapter in the bigger picture? Peter Mortimer, Cned-Éifad, France HE/DL Process Prison staff Learning Management – Virtual Campus/Intranet OU tutor Student Other prison students DL coordinator (OLASS/CIAS/L&S)) Other inmates Internet
HE/DL process L1 Literacy and Numeracy L2 Core Curriculum OU Openings HE OLASS/ L&S Classroom education Distance Learning Enter Enter Progression
OU + others: NEC, Open College of Arts, Stonebridge