Published in

January 17, 2014

“Harkness Method” comes to Oak Hill Academy

A true and successful method of teaching students has come to Oak Hill Academy in Lincroft. The main feature of this style of instruction is the Harkness table which is a large oval table wherein students and their teacher can see each other at all times. This allows the teacher to encourage students to come up with ideas of their own and learn good reasoning and discussion skills.

This is the image for the news article titled "Harkness Method" comes to Oak Hill Academy

According to Oak Hill Headmaster, Joseph Pacelli, utilizing this approach requires students to think rather than just memorize and regurgitate information. “Our intention is to use the Harkness method with our middle school students in their social science and literature classes. We will have this type of atmosphere also for our younger children’s reading classes,” stated Pacelli. Twenty-first century learning skills such as being creative and fostering collaboration are also by-products of this method.

Students are also encouraged to take charge of the discussions by posing their own questions, debating a point, and feeling free to ask follow-up questions for clarification. Students work together rather than taking notes dictated by the teacher. Discussion is lively while being equally respectful. Students indicate that seeing everyone’s face and seeing their reactions makes everyone feel more a part of what is happening and being at the Harness table makes topics more interesting.

This method and table are nothing new. Both were born in the 1930’s when philanthropist Edward Stephen Harkness challenged the faculty at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire to create a way of teaching using his vision of students sitting at a table where teachers talk with them and each student has an equal chance to speak. Something old is now something new as many elementary, middle, and high schools across our nation are adopting the Harkness method as a powerful means to engage students to think deeply about the issues being studied.

Share
Article By Oak Hill Academy
Oak Hill Academy is a Monmouth County NJ private school that is co-educational, independent, nonsectarian, and nonprofit for grades per-kindergarten through eight.

Our Latest News

Earth Crusaders

In honor of Earth Day, after reading many books on the topic, each 2nd grader chose a problem they were passionate about.  They created a superhero to help save the day!  They wrote about what they would do to help the earth as this superhero.  They then created comic strips about an adventure they had […]

Read More
What Does College Ready Really Mean?

Often first year college students who were getting straight A’s in high school find themselves getting B’s and sometimes C’s in college. Their professors comment and research finds that often secondary school assignments require only low level work such as memorize, describe, or locate. These questions are usually factual and samples of which are, “Can […]

Read More
16 Reasons to Choose a Private School over a Public School

(Comparing Public School to Oak Hill Academy – The Best Private School in Monmouth County) Teachers in independent schools are more than disseminators of knowledge. They are integral parts of their schools and are experts in their fields allowing them to always construct the learning environment to heighten student interest.  Teachers are not sidetracked by […]

Read More
Oak Hill Academy Students Learn By Exploring

“How can we eliminate plastics from our environment?”  “What are the characteristics of planet Earth which make it unique?”  “What features might you change if you were starting a new super planet?”  “How does the Internet work and how can it help people in society?”           These and many more thought provoking questions have been […]

Read More
Get The Latest News From Oak Hill! Join our newsletter now
News & Events

News & Events

Featured News

More News

Class of 2020 ‘Thank you’ Read More
Early Reflections 2019-2020 Read More
OHA has 4 Winners in the Cybersecurity poster Contest! Read More
2020 Oak Hill Academy Talent Show Read More
View More

Upcoming Events

Sunday, August 2
  • Graduation - Class of 2020

    Sunday, August 2  3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Scire Student Activities Center (SAC)

    See more details

Monday, August 24
  • 5th Grade Orientation & New Upper school Students

    Monday, August 24  10:00 am - 10:00 am

    5th grade orientation for students who completed 4th grade

    See more details

Wednesday, August 26
  • Classroom Visitation

    Wednesday, August 26  9:00 am - 2:00 pm
    Oak Hill Academy, 347 Middletown-Lincroft Rd, Lincroft, NJ 07738, USA

    See more details

  • Pre-K orientation

    Wednesday, August 26  10:00 am - 11:15 am
    Oak Hill Academy Pre-Kindergarten, 1333 W Front St, Lincroft, NJ 07738, USA

    See more details

Thursday, August 27
  • Kindergarten orientation

    Thursday, August 27  10:00 am - 11:30 am
    Oak Hill Academy Pre-Kindergarten, 1333 W Front St, Lincroft, NJ 07738, USA

    See more details

View All Events