Posts tagged education

Hi! Are there any Gen Ed requirements at Bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

Nope. All our courses — whether it’s ceramics or neuroscience — are rigorous so there is no escaping intense learning (especially since you’ve got to have enough credits per term.) Who are we to say what you need?

-Alan ‘15

Back at Bennington: Tales from Abroad

A few words of introduction:

Ever wondered who’s Selina ‘15? That name that appears close to the bottom of the sidebar but never pipes in answering questions or sharing her work? Well maybe if you’ve been reading this blog for a while now you’ll remember my obsession with food or my musings over FWT in Bolivia but it’s definitely been awhile. Last July I left the states passing through Ecuador to visit my first roommate and dear friend Andrea before traveling together to Buenos Aires. Once there we met up with our lovely and equally dear friend Nina for a semester exchange program.

Like FWT, study abroad is a chance for Bennington students to burst the bubble, immerse themselves in a different culture, language, maybe study something in depth that isn’t normally offered in the Bennington curriculum, and face the challenge of finding their voice, passion and academic focus in a non-Bennington classroom/setting.

For me, one of the hardest questions to answer is “so how was your FWT?” It’s easy say oh it was “great, pivotal, awful, life-changing, or nothing special….” but, in my experience, these one or two word answers don’t get anywhere close to summing up or expressing the enormity of those seven weeks. When that experience is amplified into a semester or whole year away, trying to express, explain, or share that period of maybe feeling lost, adjusting, exploring, meeting new people, navigating the unknown, studying and living day-to-day in a new place and culture is all that more overwhelming. 

The idea of this series is to interview recently returned students about their time abroad and try to give anyone who is interested a little peek –something more than just a two word answer – into their adventures. Up first: Amanda giving us the lowdown on education in Chile. 

Stay tuned!

-Selina ‘15

imageNina, Andrea and I enjoying springtime in Argentina. 

In Defense of My Undergraduate Playwriting Degree | HowlRound

As a result of an awesome FWT, I have been able to publish an article on a widely read online journal. It is also really relevant to you as you college search… but first a bit about the organization.

HowlRound: A Center for the Theater Commons is based at Emerson College. HowlRound is a story of artists and theater makers sharing dissonant opinions, engaging in in-depth dialogue, and promoting best practices with the hope of ensuring a vibrant future for our field. Our stories live in a theater commons—shared resources available to all.

They strive to create commons-based theater, as accessible as a public library. The internet helps: we have a website with a fully archived online journal featuring contributions from over 600 different writers (and 25,000 average monthly readers) as well as an online TV channel, HowlRound TV, that features livestreamed performances, panel discussions, and conferences. They also moderate twitter discussions every week using #newplay and track the development of new plays through our New Play Map. To put it briefly, they facilitate; both by making voices available and by giving more artists a voice.

Working with them has been a privilege, and I’m honored to be featured in their journal section.

-Alan ‘15

Employers Want Broadly Educated New Hires

After a year in the office, I am still figuring out the ins and outs of Tumblr, excited to reblog this! -Alana

alanabea:

 aka: Employers are looking for thinkers and people instead of just students who have proven professors can fill their minds with knowledge.

aka^2: people want to hear from the minds of Bennington Grads

I really love Bennington, but i have a major concern when it comes to life after Bennington. After kids Graduate what do they do? How does a Bennington degree look to future employers? Are Bennington graduates successful? — Asked by Anonymous

There was an episode of the freakonomics podcast that compared the cost of a forged degree to that of an actual college education and asked which was the better bargain, and why college was worth it: don’t forget that the time you spend in college is valuable, not just the piece of paper that we call a degree. I mean that in two ways. First, I have found Bennington to be a remarkably enriching experience personally. I’ve learned about the world, I’ve learned about myself and the things I’ve learned in classes have helped me solve and understand the most mundane everyday problems. Learning has enabled me, I think, to be a better human being in everyday life. Secondly, you are going to develop some very employable skills while you are here. Students develop remarkable, highly-personalized original work: we don’t just learn we also do and make. That’s what our projects are about, and that’s what Field Work Term is about. Plus, it seems silly to me to blanket all Bennington graduates together to figure out what YOU will be doing after college. If its something you are worried about, you can do everything here. You can be one of those insane people who works multiple jobs during term, takes the most exhausting classes and always does extra. You won’t be stopped once you show us you’ve got the chops for it. (I am speaking from experience).

That’s my answer. Here is another perspective, that addresses your question more directly.

-Alan ‘15 

Can I get a Masters in Education from Bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

Unfortunately Bennington no longer offers this program.

~ Holly ‘13 

hey there! I have recently applied to Bennington, it is my first choice college. Absolutely beautiful and everything I'm looking for.... I'm just curious about an education program? I think I'd like to be a teacher (subject to change, however..) Is there an education program? If so, can you describe it a little? what's the basic plan? I'm interested in secondary education specifically. Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

Bennington does have education classes — I took one last term, actually, called Second Language and Culture Acquisition and it was thoroughly fascinating. Here’s the deal: our education classes are very conceptual and are very theory based. In the class I took, we read a variety of materials approaching education from different perspectives (research papers, overviews of theories, and also some lighter reading that I would have read on my free time because it just was that interesting). There is usually something to balance it out the class to keep it from getting too impractical. In the class I mentioned, we were required to tutor ESL students, for example, or maybe you will be sent to a local school to observe a class. I think its also worth mentioning that a lot of education students use Field Work Term as an opportunity to get hands-on in classrooms for a longer period of time. One of my friends is working right now at an alternative education elementary school in Boston, another is working here in Bennington at a middle school with teens at risk of graduating.

-Alan ‘15 

Finals

The sun majestically perforated the clouds this morning, striking one lone snow-tipped mountain. For some, these rays breaking through the windows of their sleepy dorm rooms stimulated their natural circadian responses, and they rose up like the rest of their animal brothers and sisters in the woods. For others, however, this dawn meant only that another hour had passed in their sleep-deprived delirium. Why, I sometimes ask myself, at a school where there are ostensibly no “requirements,” where we are free to design our own education, do we CHOOSE to do this? The answer, I think, is because we love our work so much.

Here’s what some of us are doing for finals. Check it out:

How would y'all think of mixing music composition and public action and education? How would you work out a FWT? — Asked by Anonymous

That seems like a pretty typical / doable Bennington Plan. The challenge for you would be to figure out what links those interests for you. Do you see music as a vehicle for public action? Do you see the processes of composing and learning as similar? Do you see public action as an inspiration for composition? etc. 

As far as Field Work Term goes, often you just make a choice to explore one of your interests, but if you can find a place that has made a similar cross discipline connection to one you’ve made, all the better.

Here’s one thought for music/public action:

Liam

So if you studied education at Bennington, does your degree only permit you to teach elementary school? Or could you teach middle or high school too? And say I studied visual arts and education, would that degree allow me to teach art at a high school level, or? — Asked by Anonymous

Bennington no longer offers a Master of Arts in Teaching, so you do not graduate certified to teach in any way. 

The undergrad education curriculum is currently under reevaluation, so it’s unclear how big an area of study it will be in the future, but as of right now classes in educational policy and theory could form a substantial part of your liberal arts education, which would prepare you for a classroom certification course elsewhere. 

But it’s all a bit up in the air right now. Sorry.

Liam

What do people studying education usually do for FWT? — Asked by Anonymous

There’s all sorts of different things you can do! I know students who have worked directly in classrooms, tutored individual students, or worked with after school programs. The FWT office has an awesome list of past education related FWTs and it always happy to help you find and reach out to schools. Often Bennington students pursue FWTs with schools whose philosophies they’re interested in knowing more about. For example, if you want to see project-based or inquiry-based education in action you might pursue a FWT with a school that really practices one of those approaches. That way you can really get a handle on what those philosophies look like in an actual education setting. Hope this helps!


-Selina ‘15
For my most recent Field Work Term (Bennington’s winter internship period) I worked for an educational organization called Genspace. This week we are reunited at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C., because I traveled down as a volunteer to help them at their booth. Today I ran a bacterial painting activity. We’ve got a bunch of E. coli bacteria with various fluorescent color genes engineered into them, which kids are using to make their own living artworks.
This festival is huge, and it’s been nothing short of amazing so far. There are 3,000 exhibitors in the convention center, featuring biology buses, cockpit flight simulations, a test Orion Capsule (!!!) from NASA, and esteemed guests such as Bill Nye, the Mythbusters, and several nobel prize winners. Bennington’s winter internships lead us to amazing experiences. Here’s me with Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus:

-Ben

For my most recent Field Work Term (Bennington’s winter internship period) I worked for an educational organization called Genspace. This week we are reunited at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C., because I traveled down as a volunteer to help them at their booth. Today I ran a bacterial painting activity. We’ve got a bunch of E. coli bacteria with various fluorescent color genes engineered into them, which kids are using to make their own living artworks.

This festival is huge, and it’s been nothing short of amazing so far. There are 3,000 exhibitors in the convention center, featuring biology buses, cockpit flight simulations, a test Orion Capsule (!!!) from NASA, and esteemed guests such as Bill Nye, the Mythbusters, and several nobel prize winners. Bennington’s winter internships lead us to amazing experiences. Here’s me with Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus:

-Ben

TED Talk

A few years ago, our very own President Liz Coleman did a TED talk about reinventing the liberal arts education.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  Click here 

The Plan Essay: A Reflection

This past Monday was the due date for students to hand their Plan drafts in to their advisors. Which I completely forgot about until all my friends who are juniors and sophomores started freaking out about LIFE and EDUCATION and WHAT THEY WANT TO DO and WHAT IT ALL MEANS. Being a senior now, it’s too easy to stand back and be like, “That’s so cute that you don’t know and are still learning everything I just learned.” But really I’m just kind of like “Whoa” (it’s a Friday, I’m sorry, this is the extent of my emotional capabilities) because last term was my last Plan meeting EVER and I never have to hand in a Plan essay EVER AGAIN and it’s crazy to think that my Plan is no longer evolving. It’s evolved. This is it. This 35-page paper that I’m writing is IT. 

Which makes it fun for me in a kind of masochistic way to look back on my first Plan essay and my last Plan essay and COMPARE. The funny thing about this whole process is that even though it feels like my Plan has changed a lot, flip flopping between art history and anthropology and eventually just being both, I’ve actually been asking the same questions for the past three years. 

From my first Plan essay:

and

And from my last Plan essay:

IN A NUTSHELL. Ultimately, for a lot of us here, when everything feels like it’s changing in our Plan, really it’s our perspective that’s shifting, not the thing we’re studying.

- Meg ‘12

what about Bennington would you change? — Asked by Anonymous

When you’re studying at a place that asks you to direct your own course of study and monitor your own self-behavior, you naturally develop a sense of ownership over your own life as a student here.  That I wouldn’t change.  It’s the fact that invitation of ownership starts to meet resistance when students who have a deep passion for the college itself—and the continuation of its legacy—try to get involved in the decisions of how the college will grow and become “more itself”.  I’m starting to get it now that I’m a Senior; at a place like this where the educational model is so unique, it meets a lot of criticism from those to whom it seems foreign and therefore something to be feared.  I just wish there was a way for current students to inform the continuous development of the college and its programs.  

So far there’s no forum for that, but there are some of us who are trying to create one.  It’s kind of hard to articulate, but what I hope to see in the future is something of a hybrid between a student council and a steering committee made of up current students who are passionate about the school and its messages, mature enough to understand the pressures on a non-profit institution like Bennington, and constructive in their ideas about how to best serve our common goal of furthering Bennington’s ability to serve its diversely talented student population, and its reputation in the world.

-Dmitri’12