Training for Harkness/Seminar Discussions

Harkness, seminar-style discussion is an excellent means of improving student engagement, checking for understanding, and boosting long-term retention. At Veritas we've been successfully using Harkness-style discussions for many years in secondary classes. 

Comments from teachers who have had this training:
“A wonderful seminar!”

“Great introduction to the topic.”

“Great tools to take back to the school year.”

“This class helps validate using discussions and increases my confidence in utilizing them.”

“There was a great balance of tactical, tangible practice and philosophical discussions.”

“I found the implementation information and the grading tools very useful.”

“I really thought the discussions themselves with following evaluation of the discussion most helpful.”

“The practical tools of the grading, the trouble-shooting and equipping students was invaluable.”

“We put the principles into practice.”

The training can be either one or two days, depending on the desires of the school, and will cover the following:
  • why Harkness discussions are such a valuable method
  • what teachers need to do to be sure that students know how to prepare for and how to participate in excellent discussions
  • how teachers can efficiently and fairly grade discussions
  • how teachers can give specific feedback to students 
  • how teachers can help students take more responsibility for their own preparation and participation
  • what to do with reluctant participants, and other frequent roadblocks to implementing discussions
For more information or to schedule a teacher training, please contact Bryan Lynch at blynch@veritasschool.net


Harkness/Seminar Discussion Documents:
Harkness Discussion Feedback Form (Google doc)
Harkness Discussion Self-Assessment (Google doc)
Question Prompts for Student-led Discussions (Google doc)
Harkness Discussion Daily Grading 
Harkness Discussion Student Progress Tracking and Goal Sheet
Harkness Discussion Student Self-Assessment 
Harkness Discussion Prompts
Assessing Harkness Discussions and Preparation

Harkness Seminar Discussions and The Seven Laws of Teaching