Graduate Language School
The Master of Arts (in French or Spanish) is an intensive, low-residency program for professionals who want to develop their language skills and to broaden their cultural horizons with Bennington faculty members, all renowned for their innovative thinking in their respective fields. Drawing on the teacher-practitioner model, this program offers students a unique opportunity to explore a variety of disciplines. Through intensive studies in French and Spanish, this alternative MA program allows students to incorporate their own areas of interest as they work towards their degree.
Throughout their two years of study, students design their own Plan*, using language as the grounding point for their studies. Continuous reflection on their previous and anticipated experience in the target language and culture will help them shape a meaningful trajectory in studying French/Spanish within the parameters of their own interests.
During their summer residency, students craft, with the support of the faculty, a research project plan that they carry out during Nonresidential Term.
The goal of this French/Spanish MA program at Bennington is three-fold:
- develop linguistic skills;
- broaden and develop cultural proficiency in target cultures;
- hone research/inquiry and practice skills/habits/intellectual frame around personal interests.
The MA program consists of two components: on-campus study during the summer and online coursework during the school year. Students can earn a master's degree in five weeks of intensive on-campus study—two weeks in each of the first two summers and one week early in the final summer, in addition to two online courses during each of the two school years between the residency periods.
At Bennington College, class doesn't end when you leave the classroom: discussions and work are always ongoing and pervasive. Voraciously curious, and open to growth our students shape their highly personalized education.
*The Plan is the structure MA students use to design and evaluate their experience and education in the target language. Written in the target language, it is an evolving document. With the Plan, students consult with the faculty throughout their two years in the MA program, learn to articulate what they want to study and how they intend to study it, and how they will shape their own experience of the language. Students identify the resources they will use, as well as how these academic and non-academic resources relate to each other and to their progress in the language.
- 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 and literatures but of the target 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.
- Bennington College Faculty Course: This course allows students to take full advantage of our Vermont “microcosm of creativity”. Because we believe that education resides in the art of intellectual and artistic encounters, we invite our own faculty, recognized as some of the nation’s most engaging professors, to teach in this course. These teacher-practitioners from all backgrounds, whether musicians, painters, architects or scientists, collaborate with a language teacher to offer students an experiential and intellectually rigorous exploration of the target culture. Regardless of the subject at hand, students engage with a wide range of material to expand their experience of the language.
- 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.
- Independent Project Tutorials: These tutorials enable students to “design” their own learning experience. Tutorials provide students with the opportunity to conduct work through their own curiosity and encourage exploration with the support of faculty members who are innovators in their fields.
- 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 to their own Plan.