“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” – Audre Lorde
Charlene’s teacher training began behind the walls of the Queensboro Correctional Facility within the New York Department of Correctional Services. She facilitated re-entry classes for cohorts of men preparing for release, family reunification, and the transition to society. Although this introduction to the classroom was not the traditional academic space, it allowed her to engage with and learn from one of the most underserved populations in the country. Knowing first-hand the history and experiences of incarcerated students, Charlene transitioned to the formal classroom at LaGuardia Community College to train the next generation of criminal justice providers.
Feminist poet and scholar Audre Lorde inspires Charlene’s teaching philosophy as she envisions the classroom as a space for fostering community, promoting learning, and inciting change. She wants learners to be able to think critically, challenge their beliefs and politics through the engagement of comparable and opposing sources of information, confidently defend their positions, and to practically apply the knowledge attained in other disciplines or life experiences.