Using Problem Based Learning as a Method for Teaching Prison Officers

Leonard, Liam and Kenny, Paula (2010) Using Problem Based Learning as a Method for Teaching Prison Officers. [Conference Proceedings]

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Research Teaching Linkages Practice and Policy Conference Proceedings NAIRTL 3rd Annual Conference.pdf

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This paper will discuss the utilisation of the problem based learning method as a pedagogic tool for the teaching of recruit Prison Officers on the Higher Certificate in Custodial Care Programme which is co-delivered by academics from IT Sligo and Training Officers from the Irish Prison Service Training and Development Unit. Problem based learning combines pedagogic and androgogic methods of teahing. Traditional classroom techniques are augmented with the an androgogic appraoch which utilises the work place, prior knowledge and experience of the recruit Prison Officers who are particpating in the Custodial Care Programme. The use of Problem based learning on the Custodial Care Programme involves breaking up participants into groups of five for project work. One example of PBL project work used on the Custodial Care Programme is an exercise in visual identification of everyday objects which take on different and more sinister meanings within the context of the prison. The PBL format involves the group of five being broken into their composite roles, such as the chairperson/facilitator, the recorder/scribe, research material gatherer and two participants who present back to the main group. The visual exercise is discussed and applied to a key reading in order to combine theory and practice. Academics move from group to group acting as facilitators of this prior knowledge. In this way the unique experiences of the Irish Prison Officer are revealed through the exercises. Thereby contributing to professional development and enhancing the participants sense of ownership over the module. Other problem based teaching methodologies employed on the Custodial Care Programme include the use of an online interactive webpage with support offered by distance. In addition the teaching teams travel to the prisons for competency based work place visits. This paper will demonstrate that this combination of problem based teaching methodologies allows the prior knowledge and experience developed in the unique context of prison work to be enhanced and developed in an academic framework. The paper will outline the key benefits of this approach and details some of the unique outcomes of the first cycle of this innovative programme.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 07:26
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2015 21:45

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