First Community Education Evening Focuses on Harkness Method

English faculty members Courtney Flerlage and Katherine Snyder offered an opportunity for parents to learn how the Harkness Method works in Episcopal's classrooms on Thursday evening, October 21. Parents and student caregivers were invited to attend a discussion of Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour," using the Harkness Method.

Those registered for the event were provided the story text in advance, and the first part of the hour was spent doing what English students at Episcopal regularly do: sharing thoughts and questions in response to the text, considering varying perspectives, and seeking a common understanding in the process. Ms. Flerlage and Ms. Snyder introduced and oversaw the discussion and time was spent at the end in discussing some of the specialized ways in which ESJ uses the Harkness Method.

"Harkness has become a defining feature among the learner-centered approaches we employ as part of an Episcopal education, and we were excited to offer an opportunity for parents to experience an actual English class in the method," said Jefferson Brant, Dean of Faculty.  "This method of instruction and learning centers on student-led discussion, and it emphasizes individual voice, discovery, and intellect at the center of the educational experience. In doing so, students are challenged to seek individual conclusions as they engage with others in civil discourse in response to the materials at hand."

This event is the first in what is planned to be a series of events called "Community Education Evenings." The events will offer the school community of parents and family members the opportunity to engage with the exceptional instruction happening in Episcopal's classrooms at the Middle and Upper School levels.  Future offerings that will be posted to the Episcopal Insider. Contact Jefferson Brant, Dean of Faculty, with any questions or requests at [email protected]