The last two Academic Lens posts have discussed the importance of engaging students in networked, global learning experiences. The National Council of Teachers of English
notes building relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally as one of its core competencies for the 21st century. Proctor's off-campus programs afford students an opportunity to develop this skill in a unique environment.
While many of Proctor's off-campus programs originated in the late-1970s, each has undergone various iterations during its existence. Proctor's French program is the most recent to have undergone a significant overhaul as David and Jen Fleming proposed a new model of study last spring and launched European Art Classroom this winter, studying European culture through art.
Not every student enrolled in European Art Classroom has an intense passion for the arts, however, the program does provide the opportunity for students to earn two academic art credits. As the program uses the history of art in Europe as a road map for studying the evolution of European culture in various regions, students will also earn French, English and Social Science credits.
The Flemings report, "Students arrived five days ago and are already awe struck with the beauty of Provence, the charm of their dorm and the art energy and life in their new town: Aix-en-Provence."
"After a night of unpacking and a dinner of hot soup and “fix-your-own” sandwich bar of weird meats and odd smelling cheeses, they hit the hay for a good sleep." To see the group's first weekly update, visit the European Art Classroom page
Students in an orientation of the program, expectations, schedule etc. and then a find-your-way-around town activity this past Friday.
The evening dinner was prepared by Chandler and Olivia: Boeuf Bourguignon - the group reports even the mushroom haters enjoyed this hearty historic dish!
Experiencing separation from friends and family is part of the learning process, however, students consistently come to place extraordinary value on developing new friendships as they live, travel, and learn abroad. As we discussed in THIS
post, true brain-changing learning occurs when critical thinking and student owned learning remain the central focus of an educational program.
Today marks the beginning of European Art Classroom's routine for the next two weeks as they begin academic studies and art exploration in Aix-en-Provence. They will then embark on a week long tour of Florence, Sienna and Lucca, Italy to see the very things they studied. Learning by doing at its best!