Sharing of different ideas and different views are an important part of the Belmont Hill classroom experience. Many of our teachers use Harkness tables to facilitate stimulating classroom discussions. The oval tables are designed to make a statement about a certain kind of learning. Lively conversation ensues, with everyone having an equal opportunity to participate. It is the combination of many ideas—including yours—that make the class work.
Gathering around the Harkness table feels similar to a family sitting down to dinner. Even if the members of the group already know each other well, something magical happens when we enter that designated communal spot. Nourishing and intriguing ideas stimulate our intellectual palates, and a sort of sacred space opens up in the middle of all the faces trained on one another. A lack of corners, given the table’s oval shape, means that each person—students and teacher alike—possesses an equal opportunity to listen, contemplate, and share. We leave feeling fuller, more expansive, and best of all, more connected to each other."
- Jeanne Tift
Chair, English Department