Black Mountain College Project
   

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

Section 2: Teachers and Teaching: Outside the Classroom

   

 

 

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 ....    

  OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

Activities outside the classroom were regarded as an integral part of a student's education, though, obviously, not formalized as were the classes. The following excerpts from the former students' essays show how some found such outside activities rewarding, and the Work Program in particular as possibly more influential than classes in the student's total educational experience.

The extent to which a student took part in such outside activities varied greatly, and even from year to year. There was no strict requirement that a student take part in any outside activity, no "credits" were given, nor was there payment for part in the Work Program (in the form of scholarship aid, for example, as in some colleges). On the other hand, students came eager for taking part in the college life, and so the freedom was relished and at the same time resulted in much enthusiastic participation. A student who was drafted to take part in a play could, of course, refuse, but almost all at least tried it out once.

Other significant outside classroom events included the many visitors who came to perform, to hear what was going on, to stay for two or three days or a week or months even. The informal association with such visitors gave students an experience not to be duplicated elsewhere. Students also had a wealth of informal interchanges with faculty, including those with whom they did not take courses.

Two of the former students comment on the "interlude," a period of some days suddenly declared, during which time all unusual activities and classes were suspended. students (and faculty) were expected to somehow make special use of this time, thought were not held to account to talk about what they did. For new students especially, used to the regime of high school classes and exams, such free time was a challenge, to discover what one might want to do.

The Work Program, interestingly, was probably more written about by the former students than any one other topic. Most found it of value, some cherished it as a sphere in which they functioned better than in academic work. The range of work was considerable, starting with the early years in which farm work helped feed the college and ending up later on with the quite different work involved in helping build the new college at Lake Eden.

Robert Sunley

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