Action research: Changing Futures

Facilitators: Dave Maguire (DM) and Raine Smith (RS)

Design and evaluation methodology:
Broadly the workshops focused on the themes relating to identity, education and offending behaviour. Participants were encouraged to reflect upon and challenge their own offending history, consider positive and negative labelling and identify long-term goals.

Overall Aims:
• To encourage participants to consider the advantages of learning.
• To offer education as a possible route away from offending behaviour.
• To challenge preconceived ideas of education
• Promote confidence and self-esteem
• Provide a platform for discussing shared experiences and opinions

Workshop 1: Exploring identity
Workshop Aim: To explore identity and the perception of self and others.
Main themes:
• Labelling
• Identity
• Characteristics
• Labels and labelling

Workshop outline;
- Icebreaker, Participants introduced themselves through their experience of education.
- Through a creative activity the participants were offered assumptions on the facilitators identity/life history
- With the intention of breaking down barriers between the facilitators and participants
- An interactive activity was employed to explore the participant’s own histories and identity.

Workshop 2: Identity continued
- Transition
- Personal barriers
- Seen as big barriers – making them small
- Exploring identity (and re-framing that in a new context, with a new title)

Workshop outline:
- Warm up, ice breaker.
- Presentation of their identity
- Through a discussion centred round the template and the labels
- With volunteer scribes during the presentation a profile of skills will be drawn up for each participant (Skills profile).

Workshop 3: Exploring barriers and moving forward.
Workshop aim: To focus on where and how to move forward.
The workshop structure will follow on from the previous two and will focus on developing a clear progression plan for each participant which could be included in their re-settlement program. We will encourage the participants to use the prison facilities re. education and carer advice

- What’s stopping you? (Changing, taking on new labels for yourself)
- What’s stopping you (moving on)
- Looking at education and training as a way out
- Accepting the label of ‘learner’
- What is meant by Higher Education and the labels it conjures
- Ways into higher education

Workshop outline:
- Participants were encouraged to deface/write on a school exercise book highlighting strengths in regard to education/learning and their future
- A discussion centred on pathways into education.
- Taking resource material from the prison service and the information collated on the exercise books participants designed their own education agenda and schedule