"The results are often astonishing..."
Nothing differentiates Harkness Institute from other high schools in Mexico more than the classroom discussions around the conference table. It is the backbone of our learning system and a place where students share their insights from research with each other and in so doing gain knowledge and perspective not to be found in any other method.
Here is how some our teachers describe the system:
"The Harkness discussion method provides the opportunity to build, share and disseminate knowledge in a dynamic way, It gives students space to learn and be heard. It is a small fraction of life in the real world: a life test where you can solve problems, question aspects of society and expand your perspective on things. What you learn in the classroom then becomes a lifestyle, where the world is a huge table discussion and the Harkness method is the guide to engage in it ."
“I really enjoy using this means of learning because students play an active role in their own knowledge acquisition. . It encourages them to articulate their thoughts and to think critically. Students are free to think and discuss with each other which builds mutual respect and encourages them to listen to opinions different from their own."
“This method of learning gives the teacher an incredible gift. When the insights of the students around the table set off a spark in the mind of another student, it is a wonderful moment to watch. Sometimes it's just enough for a student to jump into the discussion; sometimes it upsets long-held beliefs and opens a new world of thought. Learning becomes a joyful experience.”
“It is so refreshing to arrive at a classroom where students exceed your expectations on a daily basis. On my first day at Harkness I couldn't help noticing that the classroom felt different. Now I know a Harkness class is different, sitting around an oval table enables continuous cooperation and a special trust that spurs every single student to speak up."
“The working world demands greater communication skills. The application of the Harkness method creates a different way of learning in the classroom, a natural and enjoyable break with the existing traditionalism. The Harkness method prepares students to succeed in the real world. ”
“The Harkness method provides the student with an idea of the real world. The understanding of how a discussion works outside the purely academic context, teaching them the best way to interact with other people. It also ratifies that the student clearly assert their point of view and make interesting contributions to the topic, which allows them to improve their group relationships as well as their performance as a leader, increasing their value in a professionally changing world.”
"The Harkness Method encourages students to think critically and openly share what's on their mind about the subject material. It is an opportunity to share original perspectives and defend them amongst peers of similar ability but of dissimilar mindsets. The results are often astonishing!"