Recently Erin Bouton asked her History classes this question. Ms. Bouton has been refining the use of the Harkness Method in US History and in World History II over the last several years, and emphasizes the intellectual power it develops in students. MeKenzie Mattheson '15 wrote this response:
"I have never been so invested in history as I am in this class. It's definitely a mix between my love of my peers and the teacher, but what brings us all together is Harkness. Without it we wouldn't be able to enjoy others' opinions, knowledge and ideas because we would probably be listening to a lecture or reading silently. What has been great about using the Harkness in this class is I can go home and read and not have to fully understand everything. I can go to class with questions prepared, and in my particular class I trust that someone can give me either the right answer or their best one. Then at the end of the day the things that appeared hazy to me in the reading are crystal clear because I think, 'Oh, Will was talking about that' and 'That's what Spencer and I were debating about in class!' Everything just sticks better with Harkness! "
This is impressive, but so is Ms. Bouton's response:
"WOW! is all I can say. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I have been extremely impressed with your level of engagement over the past few days. Don't waver! Stay strong with your ideals...I continue to be impressed with you level of confidence at the table. You are growing by the week as a history student and I am so proud of the work you are doing!!"
Together, this exchange gives a wonderful glimpse of the experience of studying history with Ms. Bouton,