Math—a subject some students hate and other students love. In most schools, it’s taught with a book and you just work through it and compare the answers. But how does it work with Harkness during Exeter summer school?
Students are supposed to sit around the table and discuss the math problems you are working with to find out how to solve it. Which sounds good and comprehensible when you hear of it, because you think that every student has the chance to understand the tasks and if not it will get explained to him or her. But as maybe some of you experienced or heard of there are quite a few students who are struggling with the Harkness concept during math.
As you probably know there are different kinds of math courses you can take here at Exeter. For example, Problem Solving in Algebra, where you work with a book which has different sorts of text problems you have solve trough an equation fort that is created by yourself. Which is different than what most of us are used to. That’s one of the reasons people are struggling with the method because they are not used to figuring out what the task wants from them.
But I would say that is something you can figure out during the time you are here and when you start to solve these problems more often you will be able to work through these problems. The bigger problem is that the students in the classes are not the same age or grade so they sometimes haven’t had a certain math subject you would need to solve the problems and in class, you don’t have time to go through all that algebra again to make sure everybody understands everything.
The lesson itself consists most times of talking about the problems you had to solve for your homework or the problems you solve during the lessons. The students will explain how they figured out how to do it and sometimes the teacher adds something to it. Which can also be a problem for students who are shy and scared to say something wrong or are having a hard time explaining the ways they solved something to others. Although the math courses are hard for some students it’s a nice experience and you get the chance to get to know a different kind of teaching in math.