When I taught middle school, one of my colleagues periodically mentioned facilitating Harkness discussions in her senior class. I never thought to inquire more (my middle schoolers kept me busy!), but I was intrigued by the details she provided when she talked about it. After I returned to teaching high school seniors, I saw that the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools was offering a workshop on how to facilitate Harkness discussions and decided it was time to learn about this method of teaching. I signed up and, on a cold winter day, went to The Lawrenceville School to learn about the Harkness method.
Let’s be honest, high school can be a stressful place. With tests, quizzes and homework every week, it can be difficult to manage your stress, along with the high academic workload. And most of us have extracurricular activities outside the normal school day ⸺ like clubs, sports or jobs ⸺ that it’s hard to balance our responsibilities without feeling some level of anxiety. As a senior, my stress level surrounding my college decision and the thought of “the next step” has been on high a number of times this year. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of support along the way.
This Spring Break, a group of 11 Oak Knoll students and two faculty chaperones have traveled to the Dominican Republic to assist with the Mustard Seed Communities organization, which serves children and young adults aged 6-23 who live with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities.