Black Mountain College Project
 
John Rice (in chair), David Welles Bailey (with hat). Photo courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Papers, 25.74.


STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN EXPERIMENTAL EDUCATION IN THE EARLY YEARS
(1933-43)

Section 2: Teachers and Teaching: Methods of Teaching

   

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE SUNLEY PROJECT AND DOCUMENTS

Description of the Study by Robert Sunley
*   Letter to the Students
*   Guidelines
*   Brief Biographies of
    Contributors

*   Brief Biographies of
    Faculty Mentioned in
    the Memoirs
*

SECTION 1. ROLE OF THE ARTS

    Statement by Robert
    Sunley


The artistic process as
    a major goal.


*   Individual, active
    anticipation was
    fostered but not
    required.

*   Focus on really “seeing”
    and “thinking” for
    oneself, not on the
    production of art.


Self-direction, self-
    discipline, initiative,
    development of the
    whole person....

The arts were diffused
    throughout the
    education ....    

  John Andrew Rice

Emil Willimetz: I was also in Rice's Plato classes, which had little to do with the Greek philosopher, but instead with the Socratic method of reasoning. It was, as someone said, "thought in action"—an examination of the process of thinking. We discussed the meaning of VIOLENCE and another long period on RESPONSIBILITY!

Robert Sunley: The outstanding class for me was Rice's writing seminar. Here I think he excelled.... While his conduct of the class was perhaps not greatly innovative, he made it an exciting experience with his gift of perception into each piece submitted. He found much to say, though often he waited for others to comment before he did. As I recall, we could submit a written piece once a week, though I don't think this was required. He made no effort, as I recall, to bring in the history of literature, specific techniques, schools of criticism. As in other subjects, here Rice seemed to be aiming at helping each person develop his or her own style and mode of writing—but not with what later became "self-expression" in overblown ways

Emil Willimetz: Back in the writing class ... Rice could be murderously sarcastic, but not often in class with students. He would read our stories and poems aloud and turn us loose to criticize each other, occasionally offering his own evaluations. He couldn't afford to be too hard on us since, from time to time, he would read a chapter from his own work in progress—I CAME OUT OF THE 18TH CENTURY.

Robert Sunley: Rice ... was a learning experience in himself. He was clearly the leader of the college, yet was not doctrinaire as many leaders are. He did not push preconceived solutions to problems. I learned how to lead a group discussion, seeing how he got a group to advance and then develop an idea, giving guidance through the "Socratic" questioning, and getting most if not all to participate voluntarily.

 

SECTION 2. TEACHERS AND TEACHING

Introduction

Formal Aspects of the
Curriculum 

   Class Size 
   Grades    
   Advisors 
   Junior Division  
   Senior Division  
   Graduation

Methods of Teaching
   General

   John Andrew Rice 
   Josef Albers 
   Erwin Straus 
   Robert Wunsch 
   Others


Personalities of Faculty
  
John Rice  
   Josef Albers 
   Robert
Wunsch 
   Heinrich
Jalowetz  
   Others 

Outside the Classroom
   In General  
   The Work Program 
   Visitors -
   Trips 
   Drama 
   Interlude  
   Lectures, Concerts 
   Informal Interchange