The Amazing Harkness Philosophy

Arts at Exeter
"Harkness teaches young people to be able to speak honestly, fearlessly... It gives you hope." — Russell Weatherspoon, Religion Faculty

What is Harkness?

You could say it's a table, oval, with enough room to seat 12 students and a teacher…

Or you could describe its impact: "Here at Exeter, we believe learning is best done collaboratively by as diverse a set of students as we can assemble, and while that learning experience is not all confined to our classrooms, there is no question that the quintessential example of 'youth from and for every quarter' is our signature Harkness tables. This is the academic heart of our institution and the best example of how we all learn to think more creatively, deeply and compassionately when we experience the various viewpoints of others." - Principal Tom Hassan

And it's more …

It's a way of learning: everyone comes to class prepared to share, discuss, and discover, whether the subject is a novel by William Faulkner or atomic and molecular structure. There are no lectures.

It's a way of being: interacting with other minds, listening carefully, speaking respectfully, accepting new ideas and questioning old ones, using new knowledge, and enjoying the richness of human interaction. You see the Harkness philosophy played out on our dorms, in our theater productions, on our playing fields. It's fun, it's exhilarating, it's the way to be.

It's how you learn to love learning. So why is it called Harkness? It all started with a man…

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