Monday, June 21, 2010

Harkness help

During this year's summer program, I will teach three literature courses--one course per grade level. We have rising seventh, rising eighth, and rising ninth graders. The course is designed to promote healthy discussion and dialogue concerning each text. With the emphasis on discussion, I've decided to research the Harkness method used by many independent schools, but made famous by Phillips Exeter Academy.
I have found some resources to help guide my preparation, but have yet to come across a video showing the method in action. As a visual learner, I hope to find something to watch that goes beyond telling about the method.
I am excited to begin, especially considering some of the texts I get to teach:
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Lord of the Flies
A Separate Peace
The Chosen
The Old Man and the Sea
"The Necklace"
"This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona"
"A Good Man is Hard to Find"
"The Most Dangerous Games"

There are many more short stories as well as the text, How to Read Literature Like a Professor. I feel energized, reinvigorated.


At 5:17 PM , Blogger Megan Ellis said...

What fun pieces to teach during the summer!

I teach "The Most Dangerous Game" every year to my 9th graders. It is the first piece of literature that they tackle as high school students and they LOVE it! The concept of the General hunting humans just blows their little minds :)

At 5:36 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

I agree. Owen Meany might be the pinnacle for me though. I love that book.

At 6:58 PM , Blogger GasStation Cappuccino said...

Please, please, please, keep us posted as to how it goes!! I'm always looking for "good stuff" to use...

Have fun!

At 1:24 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I was a student at Phillips Exeter and my daughter is there now. I also attended a special summer program for grown-ups around the Harkness table. First, it is important to realize that the method is often copied but the copiers lose the essence of the original idea. The teacher in the Harkness Method takes on a very different role than most are used to. It is not merely a discussion heavily-guided by the teacher. The teacher must have the courage to let students lead as well--including some awkward silences. It is truly proprietary to Exeter and is a method--not a table.

At 4:04 AM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Chris, thanks. I'll be the first to admit that I have yet to truly have the courage to allow my public school students the fully lead. But I am realizing that they need to take those risks. I'm hoping that the students involved in this program will ease my fears.

At 1:47 PM , Anonymous Justine said...

I think I recall "The Necklace," but refresh my memory... Also, I hope you can make The Old Man and the Sea exciting!

Great choices!!

At 11:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try this link for a video:

Good luck!

At 7:47 AM , Blogger Jenna said...

I am very interested in seeing how this goes with you... critical thinking is something our students are in short supply of, about anything.

My AP Lit students read HRLLAP, but the lack of true conversation about the concepts therein, I wonder how much they actually get out of it.

At 9:36 AM , Blogger MarĂ­a del Carmen said...

I am looking for information on the Harkness method. I am currently working at a recently opened private school and we are starting the secondary section next year. Any info will be greatly appreciated.

At 8:05 PM , Anonymous vicodin 5 500 mg dosage said...

never heard of this method.... any link to it?

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