Empowering Students through Language & Critical Thinking: The Bard College Language & Thinking Program

  • Peg Peoples Bard College
Keywords: student-centered learning, liberal arts pedagogy, writing-to-learn, critical thinking, reflection, metacognition, collaborative learning, active listening, writing-to-read, interactive learning


In many parts of the world, and particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia, educators and institutions are turning to liberal arts education because they are recognizing the limitations of old didactic teaching methods—edagogies based primarily in lecture, rote memory, and disciplinary rigidity. At the heart of the liberal arts classroom is a student-centered pedagogy, but aside from hearing about the values of a “student-centered” edagogy by visiting scholars, few educators seeking change at the classroom level get to experience what a “student-centered” classroom actually is—teaching practices and methodologies that foster active inquiry, autonomous expression and agency among students who have traditionally been passive recipients of information. This paper presents one liberal arts college’s strategy for promoting a liberal arts pedagogy: the Bard College Language & Thinking Program developed to introduce educators and students alike to a classroom in which learning is interactive and where students are encouraged to raise questions, challenge assumptions, and to actively engage in intellectual inquiry and collaborative work through writing-to-learn practices. In the Language & Thinking Program, the teacher does not have monopoly on knowledge, but instead guides students through a variety of reading and writing strategies used to actively empower students through language and critical thinking.


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How to Cite
Peoples Peg. 2015. “Empowering Students through Language & Critical Thinking: The Bard College Language & Thinking Program”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (December), 116-31. https://doi.org/10.17323/1814-9545-2015-4-116-131.
Liberal Arts ans Sciences Education