Words without Walls: Writers on Addiction, Violence, and Incarceration
A Teaching Guide
A teaching guide to Words without Walls for use in alternative classroom settings
The Words without Walls teaching guide is designed to accompany the anthology Words without Walls: Writers on Addiction, Violence, and Incarceration. The guide, an ebook available for free download, provides a supplemental curriculum for those who might wish to use the anthology in settings such as prisons, jails, halfway houses, and rehabilitation facilities.
The prompts in the guide have been used successfully in the Words Without Walls program in Pittsburgh, and they are linked to anthology selections mostly by theme, although craft-based prompts and ice-breaker and community-building prompts are also included.
Words Without Walls is a groundbreaking creative writing outreach program that serves the Allegheny County Jail, State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, and Sojourner House, a residential drug and alcohol treatment program for mothers and their children. MFA students at Chatham University, as well as alumni and faculty, have taught creative writing classes in the program since 2009. Today Words Without Walls offers fifteen classes a year, serving over 250 men and women in the Pittsburgh area who might not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in a writing class. The program also gives MFA students a way to become engaged with the community in meaningful ways while practicing the skill of teaching.