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REVISED plans for 11/8 class!

Anne Dalke's picture

by 5 p.m. on Thursday: each of us will e-mail Sara 3 quotes or images
(anything that we find compelling, anywhere in the book--
w/ an eye to “code-switching” and/or “impression management” and/or queer theory)
don’t be afraid to include a longer passage, one that makes the context clear

Our revised lesson plan:

I. we'll begin by remembering Marcell’s b’day, and mark it somehow
(w/ congratulations, certainly--also w/ song? we're not sure)

II. Jody will serve as general timekeeper, keeping us to this plan
any of us has the option of calling for writing time if it seems appropriate

III. Hayley will start us off w/ the quotes, passing sheets of 8x11 paper
we'll do this in two rounds: one to write in response to the quotes/others' comments,
one to read (and take notes, if we want)

II. Sasha will get us into pairs, to look @ the comments and
generate questions about them that we would like the large group to talk about

III. Sara
will open up the conversation
possible topics for discussion/short summaries/critical ideas to share include
* code-switching
* “impression management” (how you present a certain “me” to others)
* gender and power 
* queer theory/women-centered relationships

V. Anne will offer the opportunity to do some writing, as a form of closing:
what summation can we offer? what thoughts are leftover? and/or not yet articulated?

VI. Homework: hand out "Life on the Outside"--with request to read
the "author's note" (@ the end, a nice short description of how the book came to be),
the Barlett family tree at the beginning, and then
the first 1/2, Parts I and II, about 150 pages (which are really about "life on the inside").

as you read, ask yourselves four questions
(and mark all the places in the text where you notice these things):
1) where can you taste the power?
2) where do you see gender making a difference?
3) where do you see "impression management" happening?
4) where is code-switching going on?



Anne Dalke's picture

background/how we got to this...

or: notes from our planning conversation

lesson plan WAS to offer gallery of reading notes to start,
and ask everyone to write on/about them
Jody had concerns about this:
* people come in w/ energy to talk—and we silence them?!?
* is this a way  to reflect, before they speak,
a way to focus on the quotes/make connections?
* Sara: writing in silence would  build my energy to talk--
slowing it down can be good…on stopping to listen…
* this is Hayley’s role in every class: there are people who are not eager to talk…
people not feeling comfortable writing in front of each other…

we discussed how to observe Marcell's birthday;
she said, last time, that "you need to keep in mind that my b-day is the 7th”--
Jody experienced this as challenging/threatening…
a sense of being pushed up against the wall of the carceral institution
Sasha/Sarah/Hayley want to sing happy birthday, and
cautioned Anne and Jody against the danger of thinking like the institution!
Sara suggested we think in terms of needs
(stories from earlier visits: staff complain that inmates are always asking for med'l help;
inmates complain that staff don't listen:
“if they don’t come get us for class, we don’t say anything…they won’t believe us…”
Sasha compared this to a more privileged woman voicing "needs"
Jody recalling her note from Michelle Fine: “It is very delicate w/ the CO in the room….”
"I am a lot more aware of those walls myself now"
Sara: something said w/ openness is experienced here as confrontational
does the staff want to know what we are bringing in?  (are they approving the books?)
we aren’t monitored as much as we were in the Cannery
--is this because the institution itself is more monitored? they don’t have to be as careful?

we didn’t talk about the power in the prison last week:
"It wasn’t on anyone’s mind!" How can that be?
to be radical teachers, would we have to bring this up?
would we have to ask, "so: where do you taste the power in this room?"

when asked, "where do you see power in your life?" you might not notice it--for example,
BMC is "a total institution": we are "so institutionalized" that we don’t notice it here/It becomes “natural”--
from the Radical Teacher article: “every pedagogical setting demands close attention
to power dynamics and prejudices for radical teaching and learning to take place”

by asking this question, are we forcing them to identify as prisoners?
Sara: it doesn’t feel very radical, to have so much fear,
worrying about how people are going to react/being sure we are fair in our structuring…
"I don’t want to close us off from what could happen…"
being afraid of a messy conversation is limiting…
Sasha: what is it that we want them to think about? Prison as home?
working w/ the system that puts them there?
I want them to think about the system, asking, "is it really your fault that you are in here?"
Sara: do we want them to think about this as their home?

In this context, not asking the question is not being radical/
letting them be passive/not giving the space to be angry…

can we discuss this w/ the warden/social worker:
can we bring in cards/remember birthdays, etc?