- Summer term 2012: July 8–29
- Non-residency term 2012-13: September 1, 2012–June 1, 2013
- Summer term 2013: July 7–28
- Non-residency term 2013-14: September 1, 2013–June 1, 2014
- Seminar summer 2014: June 29–July 6
The MATSL program is a low-residency program during which students spend seven weeks on campus, spread over three summers. In Summers 1 and 2, students live and study on campus for three weeks. In Summer 3, called “Capstone Seminar,” students stay on campus for one week, which culminates in graduation. Students are housed on the Bennington College campus according to the language they speak, and eat all of their meals at language tables with their fellow students and language faculty. While the MATSL program is not a full-immersion program, it does provide an immersion atmosphere in which language skills can develop in both formal and informal settings. The weeks students spend on campus are intense—filled with classes, action research presentations, course projects, and some homework.
The Non-Residency Term is comprised of two online courses, one that focuses on action research and another that integrates language, culture, and pedagogy. Students are expected to spend 5–6 hours a week on the language and culture course, and 6–8 hours a week on the action research course.
The action research process begins with establishing a detailed research schedule, a crucial first step in managing a large project while teaching and leading a busy life. Mentor and student correspond by email, electronic bulletin board, and surface mail as needed, communicating at the very least once a month. The students working with each mentor correspond with each other as well, since research and thinking skills improve through mutual aid. By April or May, students are expected to have completed their action research so they can move on to developing compelling professional presentations of their projects. These presentations are made to the entire MATSL community during the Summer Term.
The assumption behind the Language and Culture online course is that exploring, questioning, and sharing information about a topic in the target language encourages students to master ever more sophisticated modes of communication. At the same time, students seek to understand the pedagogical underpinnings of the course while acquiring the knowledge to effectively apply what they are learning to their own classrooms. In the process, students learn reading, writing, and instructional strategies that they can bring into their own classrooms. Note: For the Non-Residency Term courses, students must use a computer with broadband Internet access and a web browser. For a browser we recommend Firefox 3 or higher and Internet Explorer 7 or higher.