Introducing the Harkness Table at Lakeway
Last week, the Lakeway humanities teachers and Principal David McVicker traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas for a Harkness Training hosted by Little Rock Christian Academy. The two-day conference featured demonstrations, practice discussions, and panel sessions in which teachers learned and lived the Harkness Method.
It begins with a text and a table. Enter students and a teacher. Now let the ideas and conversation flow. These few materials seem simple, but the real complexity floats in the air between students as they express, question, and remake their understandings together.
The Harkness Method aims to educate, empower, and engage students. The application of this method educates students in a revolutionary way that prioritizes helping them dive deep into material as opposed to the breadth of surface level knowledge gleaned in a lecture style classroom. Designed to foster genuine connection and reflection, the Harkness Method places students at the center of their education circling them around a single table and using a spider-web discussion model.
As active participants, students at the Harkness table are empowered in their education by discovering and building understanding from teacher-selected articles, novels, and artifacts. At the table, teachers forgo the traditional role as lecturer and act as guides providing direction or correction when required while students remain at the helm of their own learning. Alongside their peers, students explore and analyze concepts within a text and then approach the Harkness table to present and test their own ideas and understandings, question and build on one another, and discover truth.
The Harkness Method engages students in their learning through one of their most favorite activities: talking. Discussion as a means for learning allows students to process concepts verbally and reason through thoughts in a safe forum. A classroom employing the Harkness Method gives place to the old High School Musical quote “we’re all in this together” in that learning is socialized and no longer an isolated task between teacher and student. The responsibility of learning is shifted to the whole class as a team in which individuals are assessed on understanding the concepts explored by the teachers and peers. In addition to class content, students around the Harkness table learn valuable life skills including communication, critical thinking, respectful confrontation, argumentation, empathy and perspective.
One quote from the conference sticks out. In a Harkness demonstration, participants related the Harkness method to the writing, production, and presentation of the new musical Hamilton. In an interview, Hamilton’s playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda explained his perspective on being an artist. He expressed thinking, “this is [in] my brain, and unless I express it, it’s only going to stay in my brain.” Our brains are constantly creating connections to store new information, but at the Harkness table, students’ thoughts and connections are expressed, developed, and tested. Ideas no longer stay in the brain; they come alive as manipulated and explored by students’ inquiry in a room of colleagues working together to create and discover meaning.
Faces of Lakeway
LCA Administrative Assistant / Head Volleyball Coach
Husband - Michael
Children - Cami (12th grade) and Cy (9th grade)
28 years in Education / Coaching
Coached at Milligan College, East Tennessee State University, Carson-Newman University and then Grace Christian Academy. Most recently started Club Unite Volleyball Traveling Organization, which currently has 250 players.
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27
Information from the Finance Office
All 2018-19 tuition needs to be paid in full by the end of June. Please take a minute to access your account via RenWeb and pay off any remaining balance (tuition / cafeteria).
Lakeway Christian Schools' tuition is billed over 12 months and therefore your first payment for 2019-20 will be posted and due July 1.
Contact Gina Averett in the finance department with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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The S'more you read the S'more the Learn!
So read s’more this summer by checking out books at the Cornerstone Academy Library. The library will be open from 10:00-12:00 on Wednesday, June 26.
Don't forget - complete your s'more summer reading challenge flipbook to win a free dress day and S’mores with Dr. Long in the fall!