Testimonials: What do Students Say About Harkness?


How do students feel about teaching and learning using Harkness Pedagogy?

Students at Harwood Union HS in Duxbury, Vermont reflect on their experiences learning in classrooms using Socratic Dialogue. They share their experiences as students and reflect how this pedagogy has enhanced their learning. Watch  an extended interview with five students here.

The local television station in our area, Mad River Valley Television,  invited me and one of  my students to do an interview  in which we discussed the transformative power of classroom dialogue and how this  practice   creates more authentic student voice and engagement in the classroom. Watch the video of our Interview here.

Students of Nellie Bridge read and discuss literature at a public high school in rural Washington State. Once a week, 12-15 students (out of classes of 25-35) sit around a large oval wooden table-top and discuss a common text. As well as gaining a deeper understanding of the work for themselves, students explicitly practice active listening, courtesy, responding directly, asking for clarification and evidence, entertaining other perspectives, and referencing the text to support their ideas. Students enjoy that “we get our ideas out,” and also that they learn from others and boost their self-confidence. Nellie’s faith in the method is rooted in her seminar-based undergraduate experience at The Evergreen State College, which taught her to take responsibility and contribute to the group. As her student Hannah says, “It definitely puts the students in charge and allows them to be creative in coming up their own theories and answers to questions.” Recently, attending the Exeter Humanities Institute made her even more committed to the Harkness approach. Nellie can be reached at wbridge@sequim.k12.wa.us.Watch two  videos that Nellie’s students produced here:

Why Harkness?

Why the Table?