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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
August 20, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Instructor Training

Inside-Out Canada held the first annual Inside-Out Canada Instructor Training in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, from July 15-21, 2013. We welcomed 18 educators for the training from across Canada, the United States and Australia. The instructor trainings are designed to prepare educators working in the Canadian context to facilitate and launch Inside-Out programs in their own communities.

Who attends?  

The training brings together all sorts of educators from across the country and beyond – faculty working in any academic discipline are welcome, as well as grad students and community educators. Some who come will have done a lot of work in prisons and/or in community-based learning projects before, and some not.  Some who attend are already deep into planning an Inside-Out collaboration; others are simply drawn to investigate.

Who facilitates?  

The Walls to Bridges Collective, a team of incarcerated and non-incarcerated alumnae of Inside-Out classes, Instructors and Inside-Out Canada staff, whose work as public educators is described here, design and co-facilitate the annual training. Our training is built upon the the wisdom and experience of all participants and we strive to make our training collaborative and integrative.

When and for how long?

The 2014 training will be held from June 25-29, 2014. Please contact us at  to request further information about how to apply. 


The training will be held in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in Ontario. Participants will be provided with a list of potential accommodation options in the vicinity of Grand Valley Institution where the bulk of the training will take place. The accommodations list will include places that are accessible and can accommodate special dietary needs. 


The training's emphases include:

Pedagogy:  This approach to teaching and learning is the main focus of the training.
· People learning with their whole selves
· Awareness and deep engagement with different ways of knowing

· Learning to step back, to build and hold a frame within which students create their own classroom communities, practicing dialogue, critical thinking and collaboration
· Experiential learning techniques
· Curriculum development and project design
· Building a circle of trust
· Student-designed, student-led group projects 
· Fostering a safe-enough space that still has a "growing edge"

· Micro- and macro-reflection on power, privilege and intersectional identities --race, gender, class, sexualities, dis/abilities, etc.-- in the classroom circle and beyond

    • · Implementation and Logistics:  For example
* building and maintaining working institutional partnerships
* navigating relationships within the academic institution
* getting credits for the community participants
* ethical and practical concerns around research
* accessing texts for the inside students
* developing Memorandums of Understanding
* getting in and out of prisons
* developing and sustaining relationships with community partners
* thinking outside the box about how and where to run courses, etc. 


  • Context:  People attend Inside-Out trainings with very various backgrounds in this sort of work, from a general need-to-know to a deep familiarity with community-based-learning and/or criminalization and the structures that undergird it. The training seeks to orient all participants to the basic structures of Canadian corrections, and especially to people’s lived experiences of the criminal justice system. Indigenous people and people of colour are criminalized and confined out of all proportion to their numbers: this is absolutely crucial context to be woven into the training and the work that participants go on to do. 
  • Meta-reflection: Why are we drawn to this work, as individuals? What obstacles do we face, and where are our sources of strength and replenishment? Where are our own blind spots, which could lead to difficulties as we help build classroom communities, and how can we interrogate them and move beyond them? 

All participants will be given an evaluation from the Walls to Bridges Collective. Those who complete the week successfully will be given a Certificate of Completion and will be offered ongoing consultation and support, if desired, as they proceed to launch an Inside-Out pilot or program. You will be invited to sign up for a listserve of trained instructors , and will be asked to communicate and coordinate with others in your region who are developing Inside-Out programs,  to encourage best practices, community, and effective programming.