At Bard we believe that the educators most needed "for these times" must be knowledgeable, skilled, and uniquely prepared to teach and lead in the institutions and communities they serve. Such educators are also curious, broadly educated, reflective, and regularly situate their work in a wider social, historical, or institutional context. This capacity to navigate skillfully between the specific demands of classroom instruction and the cultural contexts of education is the defining mark of any great teacher or educational leader.
From Classroom to Context
The Bard program moves through two phases designed to develop the candidate as both a skilled practitioner and a liberally educated professional. Year 1 is organized specifically to support and guide the candidate through an initial job or service placement. In Year 2, candidates shift focus to explore the broader context of education by completing an interdisciplinary project in their elected concentration area.
Year 1: Placing Your Work in Los Angeles
During the summer term, candidates formalize a field placement in a local educational setting. Most often this setting is a public school classroom, but candidates may seek or hold placements in an independent, alternative, or private school, after-school program, museum or informal education setting, tutoring or mentoring program, community organization, or other educational non-profit. In many cases, continuing service or employment in education positions can meet requirements for field placement credit. Candidates who are pursuing a California single subject teaching credential must find a public school placement that meets specific state requirements.
Every effort is made to support candidates committing to teach in local schools serving low-income families. The Bard program is aligned with the calendar of the Los Angeles Unified School District as well as several partnering charter school networks. Courses are offered on weekends and evenings to facilitate concurrent employment. Prospective students should inquire with the Bard MAT office to discuss available placement options.
Year 2: Developing Your Project
Beginning in the second summer, candidates identify an area of research concentration, propose an extended independent project, and confirm a faculty adviser. The project proposal is reviewed by a faculty committee for recommendations, revisions, and approval. The candidate is expected to coordinate their research project with two interdisciplinary "School & Society" seminars (Art, Activism and the Making of Modern Los Angeles and Transnational Los Angeles), as well as four "community education electives" and regular mentoring support from their faculty adviser. IRP topics can vary widely but follow one of three general themes:
1) Subject matter topics (common to the candidate’s credentialing area)
2) Educational institutions
3) Social, historical, political contexts of education
The IRP asks candidates to address questions about the subject matter, purpose, and the practices of public education in a democratic society, with a particular focus on the contexts of education in Los Angeles. Projects can be grounded in the candidate's discipline but must also bring interdisciplinary themes and methods to the research. Approved topics can range from the subject matter taught in the secondary school curriculum (aligned with the credentialing areas of English, history/social science, mathematics, and science) to educational policy, history of education, immigration and human rights, arts education, music education, restorative justice, education for adjudicated youth, environmental education, community education, health education, and academic support for first-generation college students.