Black Mountain College Project
 
 
Theodore Dreier. Photo courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Papers.

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 ....    

 

Others

Gisela Kronenberg Herwitz:
: If challenging a student to explore and analyze concepts as well as the evidence on which they are based and make such an exercise stimulating and enjoyable, then Jack French was my best teacher. He encouraged his students to think for themselves, often playing the "devil’s advocate." He encouraged me to pursue independent study of perception and let me teach what I had learned to one of his classes.

Claude Stoller: Calculus with Ted Dreier. Mathematics had been my bugaboo, but Ted held a weekly seminar along with the regular classes in which we read excerpts from Russell, Hogben, White, Newton and others. I became aware of Calculus as a precise description of observed beauties such as the curve of a waterfall's descent or that of a ball thrown in the air, etc. (It was an adjunct of Albers's admonition about learning to see).

Claude Stoller: Architectural Design with Larry Kocher.... Larry's teaching was largely "hands on." We generally built what we designed. Larry was a highly experienced and dedicated architect who nonetheless made us feel that he accepted us as colleagues. We worked hard and all played major roles in the construction portion of the Work Program.

Robert Sunley: I took a math course with Ted Dreier; quite a few considered him a poor teacher. Yet he earnestly sought to find the dynamics underlying math, and to help me and others work out the formulation of concepts into figures and graphs. But in my class of four I was the only one remaining at the end of the term.

Emil Willimetz: It was a course on Form in Literature and was given to me by two of the top professors, Fred Mangold and John Rice. During the year I studied the literary form of ten writers—how words were put together to reach an effect. Thomas Browne, Dickens, Hardy, Hemingway, Proust, Gertrude Stein and others. I then wrote a short story which I had to rewrite in the style of each of the ten authors. It was, without a doubt, the most exciting and fulfilling course I've ever taken.

Robert Sunley: John Evarts's classes in music I found particularly valuable. Rather than the usual "music appreciation" course he combined intense attention to listening and understanding a few pieces; and going along with that (which he did with his playing at the piano as well as records) we learned the elements of harmony, counterpoint, beginning composition, training of the ear, and so on. By trying my hand at a simple canon or fugue, or later a simple atonal piano piece, I gained first hand a feel for and love of music....

Lucian Marquis: Heinrich Jalowetz, who taught us both to listen to the music but also understand the social context of that music, taught us through Brahms's German Requiem to listen and to understand in a wider sense.

Theodore Dreier. Photo courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Papers.

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