Our Methods

Early college pedagogy employs practices for engaging students in meaningful inquiry, critical thought, and discussion-based exploration of complex ideas. In addition to small class sizes and an emphasis on seminar-style teaching, the Bard Early Colleges employ specific pedagogical practices and models to promote writing, discussion, and inquiry across disciplines.

Writing & Thinking

students with writing notebooks

Across disciplines, teaching at the Bard Early Colleges employs practices developed at the Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking to advance the philosophy that “Writing is both a record of completed thought and an exploratory process that supports teaching and learning across disciplines. At all levels writing allows the writer to discover what she or he wants to say.” Students and their teachers write together using various classroom exercises and teaching methods to respond to texts reflecting diverse genres, voices, and perspectives. This written dialog then becomes the basis for classroom discussion.

Core Curriculum Seminars

The core curriculum includes a four semester sequence of reading- and writing-intensive Seminar classes, taken throughout the college program. During this two-year arc, students grapple with challenging texts and engage in reasoned discussion and critical inquiry. These courses are interdisciplinary and transhistorical, inviting exploration of literature, philosophy, history, and politics across time and place. The intellectual arc of Western culture is contrasted with, and its boundaries and claims to sovereignty challenged by, the study of non-Western traditions and texts. Bridging ancient and modern thought, the Seminar sequence provides a common pool of knowledge for all other courses and programs of study at the Bard Early Colleges.

student at desk