Often people request information about the ways a discussion can be tracked. I have linked to some of our Exeter Humanities Institute resources here. You are welcome to use and replicate, please just credit Exeter Humanities Institute.
First, some general thoughts about tracking Harkness classes:
It’s a good idea to let the tracker have a chance to make observations to the group once the class is over. Often those observations aren’t exactly what the tool was meant to elicit, or may not be obvious from the tool.
If you use this with students (as opposed to using it to train teachers), it is important to explain that this is simply one way of tracking one class. They need reassurance that your whole sense of them isn’t being reduced to a few tally marks or lines. Always offer the chance to have a conversation as a follow up.
Avoid judging when you include your observations. (Instead of saying, “This was a great class,” you might say, “There were twenty-three direct citations of the text.”)
Truth be told: we don’t do a ton of this with our own students. What we tend to use most is the oval. We do find that these tracking tools are really useful with teachers new to Harkness to begin to get them thinking about the different behaviors and comments that they and their students might use.
It’s a good idea to have a colleague do this rather than trying to track your own class. The oval might be done by the teacher, but even that can be hard. When a student comes to class and tells me they didn’t get their homework done, I’ll ask them to do the oval.
Also, we have recently started using an iPad app called Equity Maps. This allows for timers that are very easy to use as conversation moves from person to person. It has some limitations, but it is easier to use than the Bar Graph tracker listed above. However, at this time, it is only available for iPad.