How do you run a Harkness discussion?

With the Harkness Discussion, students sit in a circle or oval shape. The conversation will begin with one student, but by the end of the discussion, every student has to pose a question and answer at least one question in order to receive a grade.

What are good Harkness discussion questions?


  • Function. What function did today’s readings provide?
  • Doctrine/Law. What legal issues did the readings cover?
  • Theories justifying IP.
  • Hypos & hot issues.
  • Locke.
  • Externalities & spillovers.
  • Public domain & “commons.” What is the difference between them?
  • Information as a commodity.

What schools use the Harkness method?

Harkness Tables are the centerpiece of learning at some of the most prestigious preparatory high schools, such as Phillips Exeter, Lawrenceville, St. Andrews. Upland is one of only two schools in the country to incorporate this discussion-based method across all disciplines at the middle school level.

What is the difference between Harkness and Socratic Seminar?

In a Socratic Seminar, students are there to collaboratively answer the teacher’s questions with their peers. But, in a Harkness discussion, students are expected to formulate questions themselves. In discussions, forming questions is as important as answering them.

How do you use the Harkness method?

Discussion based teaching (also called the “Harkness method,” after the oval discussion tables designed to facilitate conversation) challenges students to sit at the center of education, making meaning of new information together, talking, listening, and ultimately thinking.

What is the Harkness model?

The Harkness Model provides an opportunity for shy students to learn to speak, for those who are ordinarily quick to respond or answer to learn how to be measured and weigh the importance of their contributions, for collaboration, and for the development of mutual respect among peers.

How many schools use the Harkness method?

How many schools in the United States and Canada use Harkness Tables™? Over 200 schools use Harkness tables in their classrooms according to the licensed manufacturer of Harkness Tables™.

What is the purpose of a Harkness discussion?

What is Harkness style discussion?