Our Workshops

Weeklong Workshops

This workshop is closed--waiting list only. Revolutionary Grammar

July 7 – July 12, 2013

Everyone—inside and outside the academic community—has an opinion about grammar. Parents, CEOs, and of course teachers worry that students graduating from high school and college do not know grammar. But what does it mean to know grammar? If it were simply a matter of learning rules, teachers would not be struggling to correct grammar in paper after paper. In any case, basic grammatical rules don’t stick. This workshop looks at both philosophical and practical questions surrounding the teaching of grammar, investigating connections between philosophical and pedagogical approaches. What assumptions about written language’s relationship to grammar do we bring to our teaching of writing? Using diverse literary texts and our own writing, we ask what grammar is, what it is for, what it contributes to the making of meaning and to creative expression, and how it fits into the more fluid models for teaching writing that we value. Workshop participants learn practical approaches to teaching grammar that do not focus on rules so much as incorporate rules into students’ intuitions and habits as writers. This workshop is for teachers of English, composition, or grammar, as well as for any teacher who addresses issues of grammar in whatever subject they teach. Previous participation in Writing and Thinking or Writing to Learn is a prerequisite.

Workshop fee: $950. The fee includes tuition and a single-occupancy dorm room on the Bard College campus, meals (beginning with Sunday dinner and ending with Saturday breakfast), and materials. The commuter fee is $750.

Graduate Credit: Through Bard's Master of Arts in Teaching Program, workshop participants may earn two graduate credits for each weeklong workshop; participants must, in addition to completing the workshop, write and submit a detailed report and a lesson plan on using writing in the classroom. Click for more information.

Getting here: Click here for detailed information about traveling to Bard via road, rail, or air.

The week's schedule and general information: Participants in the July workshops arrive and pick up keys and workshop materials between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. During the July workshops, teachers live in single dormitory rooms (with shared bathroom facilities) on the Bard campus, eat meals together (with vegeterian options), and enjoy the beautiful setting and lively atmosphere of Annandale-on-Hudson in the summer. The first workshop takes place on Sunday evening. On Monday our schedule of four ninety-minute workshop sessions per day begin, the only exception being on Wednesday, when classes end at 1:00 p.m. and participants have an afternoon and evening off to explore. The week’s workshops conclude on Friday, July 12 at 4:00 p.m., but participants are invited to spend Friday night on campus (Friday dinner and Saturday breakfast are included).

The week includes a number of receptions, and one evening of readings by poets and fiction writers from Bard College and the local area. On Thursday evening, current participants enjoy (and take part in) a celebratory reading of works-in-progress from the week's workshops. 

The schedule allows some time to explore the scenic Mid Hudson Valley; participants can visit nearby historic sites such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home and library, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home at Val-Kill, and the painter Frederic Church’s home at Olana; or hike in the nearby Catskills. Bard College athletic facilities, including lovely walking paths, the Stevenson Gymnasium’s swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, and fitness center, are available to workshop participants (schedule here).  

SPECIAL NOTE FOR LAPTOP USERS: Not all dorms on campus have wi-fi, but all have internet connection (bring an ethernet cable, just in case). The Stevenson Library (wi-fi equipped) is available for particpant use during the week, as is the Henderson Computer Center.

Also on campus in July, Bard SummerScape performances at the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues bring together an extraordinary schedule of performing arts, featuring an international roster of acclaimed artists in a range of performances. Click here for more information.