Harkness Outreach

Training Teachers Around the World

We host eight professional development conferences at Exeter during the summer. These intensive one-week workshops attract more than 450 teachers from a broad spectrum of schools, including private, parochial and public schools in the U.S. and abroad. All based on Harkness learning concepts, the conferences focus on specific subjects, including humanities, science, Shakespeare, writing, environmental literature and diversity. We continue to develop new conferences, most recently launching the Environmental Literature Institute at Exeter. In 2017, the Exeter Humanities Institute piloted a west coast session to accommodate overwhelming demand. 

Exeter Mathematics Institute takes Harkness teaching and our custom-developed math materials to schools around the U.S. and Europe for workshops taught by PEA math instructors.

Tools to Help in the Classroom

Our recently launched toolkit contains useful materials for teachers who want to try Harkness methods in their classrooms. Each tool comes with a brief description of how it is used at Exeter, with ideas for implementing it in other environments. 

If you are unable to attend one of our professional development conferences, these tools provide a simple way to explore student-centered learning methods on your own. 

We also provide a set of essays written by teachers and students who have taught and learned using Harkness principles in classrooms here at Exeter.

Alumni Commitment to Harkness Learning

PEA alums bring collaborative, student-centered learning to schools in the U.S. and abroad through their own work, people like Jenna Leahy ’06 who founded CASA Academy in Phoenix; Bryan Contreras ’91 who works with the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) network in Houston; and Jennie Niles ‘84, D.C. deputy mayor for education.

Meaningful and enduring learning requires the determined engagement of students in a power-neutral environment that welcomes questions, encourages discourse, and emphasizes collaboration … through the dialogue and discussions that happen ‘at the table.’"
Drew Stephens ’82, head of school, Southridge School

Partnering to Improve Schools

Through partnerships we are helping public schools benefit from collaborative, discussion-based Harkness learning. After seven years of partnering with Exeter, the small town of Raymond, New Hampshire has seen significant gains in the percentage of students who graduate from competitive four-year colleges, now beating most NH public schools. Noble Academy, a Chicago charter opened in 2014, is working with Exeter to improve educational performance for its students – 83 percent of whom are financially disadvantaged – and bring four-year college graduation rates from a citywide percentage in the low double digits up to 75 percent for Noble pupils.

Students at Noble Academy are using Harkness in the classroom.
Play

Harkness in Chicago

This inner-city charter school is transforming student performance. Find out how.

Contact Us

Summer Professional Development Conferences at Exeter: Rachel Hanson, 603-777-4471

Exeter Mathematics Institute: Laura Marshall, 603-686-2544

Harkness Outreach programs: Meg Foley 

More to Explore

Harkness Toolkit

Check out these tools designed to help teachers everywhere enhance student-centered learning in the classroom.

Go to the page titled Harkness Toolkit

Learning to Share

A graduate of the Exeter Humanities Institute describes the workshop’s impact on her teaching. – from Independent School Magazine

Go to the page titled Learning to Share

Chicago Hope

Can PEA’s collaboration with a big-city charter academy transform American public high school education? – from The American Scholar

Go to the page titled Chicago Hope

450+

Teachers trained each year in intensive on-campus workshops

Harkness and Cormac McCarthy: A wonderful mess

A senior English class follows a winding path to understanding.