college-in-prison, pedagogy-of-care, STEM


This paper argues that a pedagogy of care can help reduce some of the human damage caused by incarceration. Rather than casting incarcerated men and women outside of the moral community and turning prisoners into a “them,” a pedagogy of care promotes inclusion and the creation of human connections. Recognizing prisoners’ humanity helps to dissolve some of the effects of institutionalization and may foster rehabilitation. Instead of limiting teachers to providers of information, as a traditional classroom expects, a pedagogy of care elevates teachers to human constituents of a learning community. This paper outlines a pedagogy of care in the teaching of college mathematics in medium and maximum-security prisons. It is based upon knowledge gained through 15 years of teaching in traditional college classrooms and seven years in prisons. The basic components of the pedagogy of care covered in this paper include communicating to students that learning matters, fostering high expectations, creating a welcoming space, and engaging student interest.

Author Bio

Dr. Lauren Wolf, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, City University of New York, Hostos Community College.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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