Educators hone skills with Harkness

Hundreds of teachers from across the country and around the globe gather on campus to learn from Exeter faculty, featured instructors and each other.

Adam Loyd
June 21, 2019
Exeter summer conferences

For many educators the last day of the school year means the start of vacation and some much needed rest and relaxation, but for more than 350 secondary and middle school instructors, those summer plans also include a week of professional development as part of the Exeter for Educators teacher conferences.

Led by Exeter faculty and featured instructors, each conference provides opportunities where teachers from private, parochial and public schools can, in a community of their peers, share inspiration and learn teaching methods that can be incorporated into their lesson plans when returning to the classroom in the fall. Conference attendees will work through course curriculum specific to their teaching subject, hear from guest speakers and work in small groups.

The annual conferences provide professional development and instruction in a variety of topics with seven distinct programs, including mathematics and technology, the humanities, biology, environmental literature, diversity, writing and astronomy. 

Exeter summer professional development conference

Celebrating its 35th year, the Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics and Technology provides attendees with dozens of course offerings from a beginning math teacher’s workshop to a course on writing your own math text book. 

Utilizing the state-of-the-art science facility at the Academy, the Biology Institute at Exeter is geared toward secondary school teachers of biology and environmental science and includes classroom learning and multiple field trips for in-the-field research. 

Now in its fourth year, the Environmental Literature Institute at Exeter seeks to expand the thinking about environmental education by emphasizing how the methods and approaches of disciplines in the humanities can enhance environmentally-focused learning.

The Exeter Diversity Institute will extend the Harkness principles of collaborative, student-centered learning while studying literary and historical texts which facilitate in-depth conversations about privilege, race, equity and belonging.

Attendees of the Writers’ Workshop at Exeter will spend the week listening to readings, workshopping their writing and discussing literature in a Harkness setting. 

A bi-annual event, the Exeter Astronomy Education Conference will bring astronomy educators together in an effort to generate long-term collaborations between astronomy programs and discuss the changes in the science of astronomy. 

Launching in 2000 with a sharp focus on the Harkness method, the Exeter Humanities Institute is designed for English and History teachers to explore the use of student-centered, discussion-based education. 

The conferences begin June 23 and conclude on June 28.


Harkness table

Ever wonder how we designed the Harkness table? It took more than one try. Watch this video to find out how we did it:


Can’t make it to a conference at Exeter?

If you’re looking to integrate Harkness teaching concepts into your classroom, check out our Harkness tips and tools:

Learn more about our professional development conferences in the Exeter for Educators section of our website.