On Monday, December 26th 2016, we held a “Harkness Table Workshop” hosted by the Boarding Schools Alumni of Japan (BSAJ).
Harkness Table Workshop
|All-English Class||Japanese Class|
|14:00～14:45||Workshop Theme ”Identity”||Workshop Theme ”Technology”|
|14:50～15:35||Workshop Theme ”Technology”||Workshop Theme ”Identity”|
|15:35～16:00||Q & A Session with BSAJ|
The participating students got to experience taking part in the “Harkness Method,” adopted by many prestigious boarding and preparatory schools. The discussion-based sessions were led and moderated by the members of the BSAJ, with students from junior high and high schools.
The students, mostly having met for the first time, were nervous at first. But as the session proceeded, many students took part in the discussions actively, creating a lively atmosphere.
With “Technology” being a familiar topic for all, students both in All-English and Japanese classes were able to convey their personal opinions as well as discuss the pros and cons on the usage of tablet devices and smartphones. On the contrary, students had a challenging time exerting their feelings on a controversial topic of “Identity,” and the conversations were rather abstract – some tried to define “people of Japan” or portrayed themselves with characteristics rather than nationality.
After the sessions, a casual mingling time was held among the BSAJ members, students and their parents. Information on summer schools, entrance to boarding schools, and studying abroad were the topics of great interest. Coming in contact with students from overseas boarding schools and universities must have been a stimulating, exhilarating experience for the students in Japan.
Comments by the Participants (Students)
- “It was fun to take part in the curriculum of the schools in the United States.”
- “It turned into a heated discussion that I wanted to speak out more.”
- “Expressing my opinions for an unfamiliar topic was hard, but I realized that I wanted to improve my English skills.”
- “I participated in the Japanese Class this time, but I want to work hard to be able to participate in the All-English Class.”
- “I was able to listen to the opinions of many students of my age.”
Comments by the Participants (Parents)
- “Classes based on the Harkness Method were very interesting. I want my child to study in a way that builds up the ability to think.”
- “I am satisfied to have heard the valuable stories such as the requirements of entering boarding schools.”
About BSAJ (Boarding Schools Alumni of Japan)
Boarding Schools Alumni of Japan (“BSAJ”) is a student organization by current students and graduates of boarding schools. They take active part in educating the Japanese students on the opportunities of studying in overseas high schools.»Facebook
Mr. Yuta Inumaru
Yuta is a representative of BSAJ. During his sophomore year at high school, Yuta transferred from a public high school in Connecticut to Milton Academy. After graduating from Milton, Yuta entered Brown University where he currently attends.
“Boarding school is not only valuable for education. Living and learning with students from across the country during the most developmental and growing stages of your life can serve as a great stimulus. It also has a ‘global’ essence in many ways: you can widen your perspective by communicating with people of various backgrounds and races, living while understanding other cultures, and making the effort to carry out the common academic goals with your peers.”
Mr. Shosuke Hasegawa
Shosuke is also a representative of BSAJ. After graduating from Azabu High School in Tokyo, Japan, Shosuke was accepted at Tokyo University and a university in the United States. Shosuke attended Tokyo University for one semester before proceeding to Pomona College. During Shosuke’s sophomore year at Pomona, he transferred to Brown University.
“At Brown University, I met many brilliant students from Japan who are boarding school graduates and I was just overwhelmed by their scale of existence. I came to America to experience things that can only be achieved overseas, rather than settle with the things that could be attained as an ordinary student in Japan. I sometimes regret not knowing that I had the option of attending a boarding school during my high school years, but this regret was actually the driving force in establishing BSAJ.”
Mr. Shin Ehara
Shin is also one of the representatives of BSAJ. Shin transferred from Komaba High School, an affiliate of Tsukuba University to Stevenson School in California. Shin is now in his junior year.
“I had no experience abroad whatsoever before attending Stevenson, but I made up my mind to attend a boarding school soon after I participated in a summer program in London during my last year at junior high school. At Stevenson, I am currently taking part in activities to enlighten the public on diversity among school communities. By studying abroad, I have learned about the concept of diversity and various social issues associated with it. Going forward, I’d like to reflect back on the things I have learned and acquired and think how I can give back to the society.”