Learning Through Active Participation

In the 1930s, Edward Harkness bequeathed his gift to the Academy, the idea was revolutionary; no longer would students sit in small desks neatly arranged in rows, the teacher's larger desk at the head of the classroom. Instead, the rows of desks were to be replaced by an oval wooden table surrounded by 12 or 13 chairs. Students and teacher would join together in the adventure of learning, the teacher facilitating discussion agmongst the students. They would raise their questions and share their ideas in a process of thoughtful inquiry and collaborative discourse. No one would get lost; everyone would participate.

Nearly seven decades later, Exeter continues to embrace the Harkness pedagogy. The educational concept remains as revolutionary as it is fundamentally sound: our seminar approach places students at the center of the learning process, a process nurtured by an environment of respect and active participation.