- Summer term 1 (three weeks on campus in July)
- Non-Residency term 1 (September–June)
- Summer term 2 (three weeks on campus in July)
- Non-Residency term 2 (September–June, including a one-week residency period early in the final summer)
Summer term courses
- Experience and Analysis: Experience and Analysis combines a Language and Culture course, which is offered each year, with either a Pedagogy or Assessment course, which are taught in alternating years. The courses are integrated with each other and co-taught in the target language. In the Language and Culture course, a content-based pedagogy is explicitly modeled, providing a basis for analysis in the Pedagogy and Assessment courses. Pedagogical practices are thereby developed through the students’ concrete experiences with their own learning.
- Spanish and French Language and Culture: In keeping with the philosophy of Bennington College, the approach to teaching the target language is intensive, and the content of the language courses is cultural. In these courses, therefore, students deepen their knowledge not only of the target language but of the corresponding culture(s) as well. These courses incorporate the development of the four skills—reading, listening, writing, and speaking—while deepening and expanding cultural content. The Language and Culture courses alternately focus on French/Francophone and Spanish/Latin American cultures.
- Pedagogy in Spanish and French: This course, integrated with a Language and Culture course, provides an opportunity for analyzing the integrated approach to teaching language and culture. The foundation of the course is curricular design that targets understanding, upon which knowledge about grade-level expectations, national standards, and teaching the four skills is built. Based on their analyses, students build bridges to their teaching contexts. In so doing, this course addresses human development, lesson planning, and curriculum development that is appropriate to students’ linguistic and cognitive levels.
- Assessment in Spanish and French: In this course, which is integrated with a Language and Culture course, students analyze how evidence of learning is gathered and evaluated to diagnose teaching and to assess student learning. Students learn how to design and integrate evaluation tools that target the assessment of cultural understanding in addition to the four skills.
- Technology and Literacies for Second Language Learning: This
course offers students opportunities to explore relationships between
digital communication technologies, literacies, and second language
learning. Wikipedia, blogs, chat, e-mail, and social networking as well
as commercial technologies such as Flickr and YouTube are analyzed as
both the means and the context for communication in ways that sponsor
new views of what language is, what it affords, and how second languages
can be taught and learned in context. Theoretical knowledge, technical
training and hands-on exercises link technology, literacies, and
language for education.
- Second Language and Culture Acquisition: This course delves into the ways we learn foreign and second languages, making explicit the presumption that learning, especially language learning, is a cultural phenomenon. The course emphasizes how theories of language and culture acquisition apply in actual classrooms.
- Action Research Seminars: The seminars introduce students to action research, guiding them in developing lines of inquiry, collecting data, and understanding the research cycle. The seminars include presentations, at which students present their action research projects to one another.
Non-Residency term courses
- Spanish and French Language and Culture Online: This course allows students to explore cultural issues in the target language through online publications (newspapers and journals) or through off-line literary or historical texts. It also facilitates student analysis of their experiences in order to apply what they learn as students to their teaching.
- Developing Leaders through Teacher Research: Because action research can be complex and dynamic, students are assigned a mentor who will support them through the research process each Non-Residency Term. Students are required to correspond with their mentor at least once a month, developing and refining their projects as they unfold. Students also enter into online discussions with the other students in their mentor’s care so they can strengthen both their cohort ties and their research skills by helping each other.
- Capstone Seminar: Looking Backward and Forward: During the Capstone Seminar, students integrate what they have learned during their two years at Bennington and discuss issues of professional advocacy. Specifically, students create a concept map of their understanding of leadership and a professional portfolio that provides evidence of their learning in the areas of language and culture, pedagogy, and leadership. The Capstone Seminar takes place on campus at Bennington College, early in the final summer. It constitutes the seventh week of residency.