Bowdoin students build relationships with students from the Vinalhaven Island School, exploring the intersection of local culture and education.
During the fall semester of 2013, Bowdoin teaching minors connected with a K-12 school on Vinalhaven Island, exploring how a local community shapes its education system. Bowdoin’s Education department established a relationship with the Vinalhaven School six years ago. As part of their community-based course in Teaching (ED 3301) and Curriculum (ED 3302), Bowdoin students spent a day and a night on Vinalhaven, observing the school and immersing themselves in the island community. A week later, they hosted Vinalhaven students for a night on Bowdoin’s campus.
After a ferry ride out to the island, which is located off the coast of Rockland, Bowdoin students enjoyed a dinner with Vinalhaven students and community members. They spent the next day in classes, observing and talking with teachers and students before following Vinalhaven students to the island’s lobster buying station. The island’s fishing and lobster industries are integral to its economy and central to the local culture surrounding its schools.
The following week, Bowdoin and Vinalhaven students reconnected at Bowdoin. The groups enjoyed a day and night together exploring the campus and dining halls. Many of the island students were new to the environment of a liberal arts college, and conversational activities with their Bowdoin hosts during the visit helped the groups to relate to each other through their different cultural experiences. The learning experience was a mutual one, a shared investigation of how educational environments interact with broader communities.
This is the first in a series highlighting Bowdoin students’ engagement in Maine communities through courses and research.