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MABEL – Multi-disciplinary Approach to Adult Basic Education and Learning in Prisons

The first aim of this project on prison education was to develop and to explore a multidisciplinary approach to adult and basic education and learning in prisons. But central to the project was that also the prisoners participated actively in the cooperation and produced three collaborative magazines, called "Open Doors". The teaching staff of the six prisons from Ireland, the UK, Bulgaria, Poland and Norway explored subjects together, shared ideas on teaching methods and techniques and developed common lessons that can be delivered to adult learners using a cross-curricular approach. The core curriculum included basic numeracy, literacy, ICT and social and life skills. Staff exchange visits were organized and enabled teaching staff to experience other teaching techniques and models and best practices. For the production of the Open Doors Magazine, prisoners contributed by writing articles, poems and short stories, but they were also responsible for drawing the collection together and getting the magazine designed and printed. This gave them the opportunity to showcase their creative talent. The themes explored in the magazines attracted a wide range of responses from each of the prisons involved. Although from different prison systems, prisoners shared their experiences as well as a little about their backgrounds and hopes for the future. The standard of the work has been exceptionally high and thought provoking. The success of this learning partnership also motivated other prisons to start cooperative projects dealing with different educational topics and encouraging prisoners to discover and use their creativity.
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