My Research Trip to the North East

My quick trip (again) to Little Rock and then to the North East where I visited a few independent boarding and day schools went well. I was able to chat with a few faculty members while sorting through archival records as part of a current research and writing project. I was most impressed with how some of the campuses I visited have maintained a wonderful sense of tradition and academic rigor. While walking across Exeter’s campus, I was quickley reminded of John Knowles’ fictional depiction of Exeter as the Devon School in his award wining book, A Separate Peace. As I noted in a previous blog piece, I champion the Socratic Harkness method of teaching. I have used this method for years and believe that it is the best approch to challenging bright and motivated students. Charles Terry, the Lewis Perry Professor and chair of the English Department and 11th /12th grade instructor at Phillips Exeter writes about the importance of tradition and teaching via Harkness.  This is a really good read. As I enter into my 8th year of teaching, I am excited to note that there is no sign of burnout. This was my greatest fear when I decided to become an educator; I was concerned that there would not be enough intellectual engagment to keep me curious and motivated. In part, this is why I have committed myself to being more than just a person who conveys knowledge to students. Being active in research and writing has not only made me a better teacher, it has allowed me to meet and spend time with other faculty members across the country. And, it has kept me on the road or in the air for all but two weeks this summer. Furthermore, after my recent visit to the New England states, I discovered a new purpose and attitude toward teaching in a private school. I am looking forward to my return this spring.


9 thoughts on “My Research Trip to the North East

  1. It was great meeting you last week. I wish you well this year and look forward to seeing you in the spring. Thanks for the great comments about us. Stay in touch.

  2. Thanks for this insightful reflection and encouraging word. I, too, can relate to the energy and vigor research brings to the classroom, as it continues to spur creativity and contribute to the sheer joy of the educational process. Look forward to continuing the conversation.

  3. Phil,

    I figured you would be able to relate with the amount of research and writing you have done beyond the writing of your dissertation (book). I am amazed at what I continue to learn; it never stops….And when you think you know it all about a particular topic — you read something new.

    Mike – you like the ties!

  4. I was wishing that I could find my copy of A Seperate Peace just the other day. I’m sure it’s in an as-yet-to-be-unpacked box. I thought I had found it, but it was a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows that looks similar. Equally good story, but much less important on an intellectual level. I didn’t realize that Knowles set that at Exeter.

  5. Mike,
    I started wearing bow ties about 6 years ago, and my colleagues and my students love them. On days I go “casual,” the question is “where is your bow tie”?

    We’ll have to put bow ties on the agenda for discussion as well!

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