An Approach and a Culture,
Not a Technique
The fundamental principle of The Hague Approach is that through peer-to-peer, conference-style discussion and multivalent instruction, students will engage with the assigned material and identify with its focal themes and ideas. In so doing, students achieve increased retention of the material such that when encountering analogous situations and concepts, they can problem-solve their way through new material.
Harkness discussions are premised upon the ideas that questions are more important than answers and that lifelong questioners become lifelong learners. Our students engage with the assigned material through critical inquiry, open-minded discourse, and substantive practice before, during, and after every class.
Studies show that student engagement is one of the most important predictors of success in college. Test scores measuring conceptual understanding in classes promoting engagement exceed those of traditional classes. The Hague Approach’s focus on peer-to-peer instruction engages students by giving them a voice and role in the how and why of their learning. Engagement through a variety of perspectives with the assigned topic and material ensures that learning is accessible to everyone.
We believe that the skills gained at the table transfer to every aspect of life, be it college, career, or personal relationships. The Harkness Method of conference discussion not only creates better students; it creates better citizens, able to engage in the world as they would at the table.