As 2014 winds down I thought it appropriate to share an article illustrating much of what we work for in Correctional Ed (the link is below). The writer of the Inmate Improv piece has been leading a weekly improv group where incarcerated men can pretend to be anything but incarcerated, if only for a brief time. The benefit of this "freeing of the mind" is what we all strive for and hope to impart in more literal and extended terms when we teach in corrections classrooms. It's an uplifting story to end the year. Welcome 2015 and may your ring in many more innovations, advancements and successes!
-- Heather Erwin, Correctional Ed, SME
Thanks, Heather, for sharing this story. I occured to me while reading it, that this sort of activity, especially when it includes language, woould be great for building English learners' oral proficiency. I wonder how frequent these programs are? Does anyone know?
Happy New Year.
Miriam Burt, SME, adult ELL CoP
Hi, Miriam - If you're interested in more examples of improv being used in correctional education programs, you may want to check out the Bard College Prison Initiative: http://bpi.bard.edu. Ami LeGendre teaches improv in their program, and the Prison Initiative does a lot to advocate for opportunities for inmates to experience these types of programs. I also agree that improv can be a powerful resource for English Learners' oral proficiency, once they have a vocabulary that would allow them the freedom to respond to scenes without memorization or rehearsal.