Measured Learning

“Measured Learning” in Rome draws upon the Slow Food movement that began in Italy and emerged in opposition to fast food meals packaged for mass consumption. In contrast to “fast education,” with prepackaged lesson plans, “Measured Learning” at the RCAC means substantial student-teacher interaction, extensive co-curricular study, and a menu of freshly conceived course options. As with Slow Food’s ethos of local production and bringing renewed meaning to place, “Measured Learning” makes students aware not only of what but also of where they are studying. It celebrates regional diversity and derives inspiration from the subcutaneous geography of Rome and its environs.

Students who participate in semester-long programs at Woodbury University’s RCAC enjoy the palpable learning experiences that walking on ancient Roman pavement or measuring objects in situ entails. In so doing it presses memories into students’ hands and feet well as their eyes and ears. It also, quite literally, understands that culturally focused experiences such as cheese or olive oil tasting enhances discipline specific knowledge. A learning experience in which students may embody their physical environment demonstrates their interconnectedness to the earth and introduces them to diverse strategies for sustainable economies. Likewise, the program adopts Rome’s millennial history as a model to slow down the learning process. Departing from the immediacy of Internet based information, “Measured Learning” recontextualizes knowledge outdoors, on site, and through deep probes into Rome’s cultural stratigraphy. The RCAC advocates intercultural learning based upon regional traditions as a product of the ground upon which we stand. That the ground happens to be in Rome, Italy only amplifies the connection between place and pedagogy.

Dr. Paulette Singley, Director