De-constructing the other: an integrated pedagogy of inclusive learning and teaching approaches in and beyond prison

Eric Baumgartner*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Considerations of epistemology in teaching and integrated pedagogical approaches to teaching have long been identified as central to teaching practice (Dewey, 1997, Experience and Education. New York: Touchstone Publishing). More recently, these have been framed around not only anti-oppressive practice (Dominelli, 2002, Anti-oppressive social work; theory and practice. Palgarve Macmillan: Basingstoke), but wider considerations of power and oppression and ‘epistemic dominance’ (Andreotti, 2011, p. 4, Actionable postcolonial theory in education. New York: Palgrave). While they may not always be elevated theoretically or explicitly stressed as fundamental in every day teaching practice, they are evident across subjects and sectors (Andreotti, 2011, Actionable postcolonial theory in education. New York: Palgrave; Sin, 2014, Epistemology, sociology, and learning and teaching in physics. Science Education, 98, 342–365), particularly with an increasing emphasis in Higher Education on student engagement and equipping students with vital employability skills (Nygaard et al., 2013, Student engagement: Identity, motivation and community. Oxfordshire: Libri Publishing). This paper argues that such considerations are particularly relevant to the teaching of Social Sciences, at the heart of which lies challenging the status quo and interrogating inequalities. The example of jointly teaching university students (Outside Students) and individuals with convictions for sexual offences in a custodial setting (Inside Students) provides a platform on which to investigate the pedagogies involved in teaching Social Sciences in this setting. It considers the importance of language (Willis & Letourneau, 2018, Promoting accurate and respectful language to describe individuals and groups. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 30(5), 480–483) in order to assist with the de-construction of ‘the other’, promoting awareness and equality, and breaking down essentialised conceptions of ‘the other’- both for Inside and Outside students. At the heart of this is balancing and integrating knowledge and experience of all students (Harmer, 2007, The practice of English language teaching. Essex, UK: Paerson Longman) as integral to the learning process. The paper brings together a diversity of approaches to teaching and scaffolds these into an integrated pedagogical framework, applicable more universally and beyond the limited and specialised application to prison teaching (Dewey, 1997, Experience and education. New York: Touchstone Publishing).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-560
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Social Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020


  • criminology
  • higher education (HE)
  • justice
  • practice
  • prison teaching


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