Challenges of Co-Teaching: Reflections on Social Justice Pedagogy in Prison


  • Vincent Russell Western Carolina University


Co-teaching and critical pedagogy appear to be complementary approaches because of their emphases on collaboration and addressing issues of power inequality. However, my experience co-teaching a 10-week public speaking and creative writing workshop for prisoners while trying to advance social justice was fraught with challenges that were exacerbated by the carceral context in which co-teaching and critical pedagogy were incorporated. This essay provides an autoethnographic account of several tensions related to the promotion of transparency about teaching practices, student agency to shape the learning experience, and critiques of power. The paper concludes by offering practical recommendations that other prison pedagogues working in prisons can consider before incorporating co-teaching into their praxis.