Harkness Tables provide one of the simplest yet most effective methods for Upper School students to build confidence in expressing views and engaging in healthy debate. Rooted in the Socratic method of stimulating critical thinking through cooperative dialogue and a continuous exchange of question and answer, classroom experiences involving Harkness Tables encourage each participant to contribute to discussions, challenge one another, and defend viewpoints. The large, oval-shaped tables are used in Humanities courses and are ideal for debating works of literature, questioning interpretations of historical events, and other discussion-based dynamics.
There is no hiding around the Harkness Table. The fact that the teacher, and any of your classmates, can call on you at any time stresses the importance of being prepared, and allows you to share your opinion. There was no better teacher for real-life experiences than the debates I engaged in while sitting around that table at GA. – Suzie Cutler '87