Learning - Alternative Ed. | 3-14 yrs

The Harkness Method Of Learning

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Every student in a class learns in a different way. Also, all the students in a class are not at the same level when it comes to their learning ability, interests and learning styles.

Therefore, good teachers employ various methods to help their students learn and progress. One of the methods teachers adopt is discussion-based teaching. It is liked by students as they like to talk and share ideas among themselves and with their teachers.

Discussion-based teaching is one of the most effective ways to teach students. This form of teaching helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Harkness method of teaching founded by Edward Harkness in the 1930s is also a modified form of discussion-based teaching. According to the article, 'What is a Harkness Table', by Robert Kennedy, "Harkness' idea was to place students and teacher round an oval table for maximum involvement and participation."

The Harkness method is effective because it places the onus on both the teacher and the students to come prepared to the class. For, if a member hasn’t prepared well beforehand, it will be obvious to everyone participating in the discussions.

Over the past 80 years, many institutions have adopted this method and achieved excellent results. To learn more about this style of teaching, flip through the pages of our ClipBook.

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About The Founder: Edward Harkness

Edward Harkness is perhaps the least well-known of the major American philanthropists of the first half of the 20th century. His relative obscurity is all the more surprising given the scale of his charitable giving; he was among the very largest ...

Why An Oval Table?

What is a Harkness table? It was the brainchild of philanthropist Edward Harkness. His idea was to place students and teacher round an oval table for maximum involvement and participation. That was in 1931. His experiment is alive and well, and in...

The Hidden History Of Harkness

In 1930, Edward Harkness discovered the Harkness table. After years of searching in the treacherous thickets of the Australian Black Forest, Harkness stumbled upon a clearing. Looking around, he found a circle of stone statues depicting various ph...

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75 Years Of Harkness Teaching

Established in 1936 by Edward Harkness, an innovative and visionary educational philanthropist, the Harkness method of education sought to bring the benefits of the House System to the classroom by providing an intimate environment for intellectua...

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What Is Harkness?

Gone from many classrooms are rows of desks; gone is the teacher's desk at the front of the class. In their place are large, oval tables. These "Harkness" tables are modelled on those used at US schools, such as Phillips Exeter, and are beautiful ...

Educating With The Harkness Table

Harkness identifies a table you will find at the center of every class, both literally and figuratively. Harkness tables are oval and seat a dozen students and a teacher, but they are much more than places to sit. Classmates learn by discussing th...

The Best School Of Harkness

Its alumni base includes 19 state governors, five US senators, five Olympic athletes, two Nobel Prize winners, a US President, and even tech moguls like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Quora founder Adam D'Angelo. Phillips Exeter Academy, rec...

Harkness Table Has Changed Private School Teaching

Much of the way many private schools teach today --with students participating in and helping to direct conversation after a provocative prompt from a teacher--goes back to a special table and a teaching methodology first crafted at Phillips Exete...

Harkness Table Plan To Stop Pupils Hiding In Class

Under Harkness plan, teachers sit on the tables but only contribute if the discussion moves off the point of the lesson. Wellington said the move was designed to stop pupils being turned into "passive receivers of information". The school - establ...

Fostering Good Discussions Through Harkness

How do you foster good discussions in the classroom? One of the greatest benefits of peers and administrators conducting classroom observations is the opportunity to reflect upon pedagogy. It affords colleagues the chance to come to shared underst...

The Underlying Horrors Of Harkness

When used as intended, the Harkness method is among the most effective methods of teaching in history. “The configuration of the classroom,” reads the school’s website, “reflects a philosophy of education that values discussion and debate.” In a r...

Interactive Learning The Harkness Way

Students sitting in rows of desks listening to a teacher lecture? You are not likely to find this scenario in a school which uses Harkness tables. The brainchild of wealthy industrialist Edward Harkness, an Exeter alumnus, Harkness tables are oval...

The Benefits Of The Harkness Table

Students talk about why they love the Harkness Table.

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