Student-Centered Spanish Learning at the Stevenson School: Trials and Triumphs of the Harkness Teaching Philosophy

Brooke Higgins, Grade 8 Spanish teacher, Stevenson School; Adjunct Professor, Monterey Institute of International Studies;

Kathryn Haggquist, Grades 5–7 Spanish Teacher, Stevenson School; Master’s Candidate, Teaching Foreign Language, Monterey Institute of International Studies


Stevenson’s Grade 5-8 program utilizes the Harkness Teaching Philosophy as a way to create a student-centered learning environment that fosters a student’s delight in learning and a passion for success. Unique on the Monterey Peninsula, this time-tested teaching method enables students to be active participants in their education as they develop the skills critical to succeed.

Kathryn and Brooke share the basics of the Harkness model and reflect on their successes and struggles with Spanish-language instruction in grades 5-8.