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The project RiUscire

RiUscire intends to take advantage of the multi/plurilingual and intercultural dimension of the prison context to turn it into a place of resources, empowerment and rehabilitation through integrated training courses addressed to foreign prisoners, prison staff and teachers working in prison. Starting from the coexistence of cultures and languages in a place of forced residence RiUscire aims to:- Enhancing inherent multi/plurilingualism and cultural diversity in the prison context;

– Promoting adult education in the prison context through intercultural communication;

– Developing linguistic-cultural and linguistic-professional skills of detainees for the social and occupational reintegration;

– Providing operators with the tools for a better understanding of the process of communication with foreign prisoners and to teachers with a teaching methodology designed to optimize the results of training courses for the target public (foreign prisoner).

As called by the European Commission (Budapest 2010) on the promotion of best practices in prison, “Pathways to Inclusion”, the present project will, at longer term, contribute to transforming the prison environment from a European point of exclusion and deprivation in place of enrichment and preparation for reintegration into society.

To achieve these target groups, the project foresees a partnership composed by five universities from five different European countries (Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal) all of them with a large experience in second language teaching and/or teaching in prisons. The project will also involve the Italian Institute for Penitentiary Studies (ISSP), which has a participated in other applicant’s organisation proposals. RiUscire will build a capital of social relationships with other key stakeholders such as: Prison administrations; Offices and organisations for the treatment and educational training of prisoners; organizations and universities that lead research inside of the prison context.

RiUscire will use a methodology based on a participative approach aiming to produce best practices addressed to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups (foreign prisoners) and those with which they are involved every day for their professional activities by managing linguistic and cultural diversity.

In qualitative terms the expected results for foreign detainees will provide an improvement of language skills, a greater chance of re-employment and eventual marketability of the skills acquired in the territory; a decrease of tension due to misunderstanding of events; the growth of self-esteem; the opportunity to participate in a pleasant and useful activity; the certification of linguistic and professional skills for social reintegration.

For operators, RiUscire will provide an extension and upgrading of professional skills; improved interactions with detainees; a decrease of conflict situations and consequent stress; an increase of intercultural competence.

For teachers, the expected results are to achieve a greater understanding of the socio-cultural backgrounds of foreign prisoners; a greater awareness and understanding of the interactive dynamics with foreign prisoners; an increase of intercultural competences; a study of L2 teaching approaches to this specific target public.

At the quantitative level the results will be made of the documents produced by the network (working guidelines, analysis methods of socio-cultural aspects, reports of best practices) by online services (website), by the development and testing of methodologies (syllabi and teaching materials, training, assessment tools and evaluation) and by language professional portfolio (for inmates, prison workers and teachers).

The penitentiaries involved will change their internal communication approach as a result of the project actions and benefit from a less confrontational atmosphere, more operational and really aimed at recovering. The foreign prisoners, as the direct beneficiaries of RiUscire, will be able to improve the situation of conflict due to misunderstandings of language and culture and will have the possibility of achieving an education at the same time promoting personal values and instrumental allowing the possibility to use the competences acquired during and after detention. The activities are: mapping of training activities conducted in contexts prisons of partner countries aimed at foreign inmates, L2 teachers and prison workers; development, implementation and validation of training activities of mediation and communication intercultural addressed to teachers and prison workers that provide a synergy of laboratories in the presence and use of new technologies (ICT) and OER; development, implementation and validation of training activities to skills linguistic and professional; definition of criteria for the evaluation and accreditation of interlinguistic and intercultural skills.

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