Humanities and Harkness learning

Andrea '17 is a day student at Peddie. During her freshman year, she participated in the freshman musical, Godspell, and was a member of the crew team. She started off this year as a yearbook editor, 2017 class representative, and a Blue-Key tour guide.  Here, she talks about gaining self-confidence through Humanities.

When I first came to Peddie, I was pretty shy and quiet.  I would say the thing that really changed that was my Humanities class last year and our teacher Mr. Bennett.  Humanities is a class that every freshman is required to take at Peddie.  The people in your humanities class are also in your community life class, so you end up getting really close with them.  About every other week we had a Harkness class.  In a Harkness class, our teacher gives us a topic, usually about a book we’re reading and then sits in the corner quietly observing us.  The idea of being evaluated on what I said was really scary to me at first.  Our first Harkness was probably the second week of school and we didn’t know each other that well yet.  I was so nervous to talk that I planned out what I was going to say so I didn’t mess anything up.  As the year went on we did more Harkness classes and got more comfortable with each other.  Soon I was able to just jot down some key points and a page number, and my participation really improved.  It was great to be able to see the improvement in me and my classmates as our Harkness classes went from unrelated stiff points to a casual but intriguing conversation with each other.  Humanities last year really helped me become more outgoing and confident in all aspects of my life, not to mention improved my public speaking skills.  I am so grateful for my teacher Mr. Bennett and all of my humanities classmates because they helped me step out of my comfort zone and make amazing friends.