Conversation as a Means to Learning
"Harkness table is love. Harkness table is life. Roundtable discussions have been incredibly helpful in shaping my ideas and in learning to allow my own thinking to be shaped with the help of others."
-VI Form student
Engaging in conversations, whether in the classroom, around the Harkness table, on dorm, in the Dining Hall, or elsewhere, allows students the opportunity to learn to listen carefully, think nimbly and creatively, see undiscovered connections, speak with respect for others, and become open to criticism. Our School mission engenders a diversity of perspectives in all areas of campus life, and this diversity becomes an invaluable tool in our discussion-centered classrooms, where St. Andrew's students encounter new viewpoints and interpretations, learn to re-evaluate and strengthen their own thinking, and develop the ability to resist defensiveness and closed-mindedness. As our community feeds into our classroom, students come to understand that responsible argumentation and debate can occur only when participants are informed by a multiplicity of perspectives. This approach to learning, centered on both living with and interacting with others, keeps both students and faculty thinking and rethinking our ideas and beliefs. Only a visit to St. Andrew's can provide a view into the extraordinary vitality of our campus dialogue.