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Method

Studies at The New School are driven by student inquiry not text book coverage. Using the time honored methods of dialectic, we are interested in the development and expression of rigorous thought and depth of understanding, and not the mere exposure to and accumulation of information.

Student inquiry is fundamental to our work. In a typical pursuit, we begin with a studentís question; help them refine it; determine what we are trying to accomplish and our approach; collect our resources; meet, discuss, practice, learn, and evaluate our comprehension. Because personal responsibility is the mark of an educated adult, the student has a responsibility to see the process through, deftly assisted by the staff who are well-versed in the practices of dialectic and imbued with a delight in children and a love of learning themselves.

Format

Students learn in the way best suited to them: independently, with a mentor, or with a small group. Apprenticeships are arranged by those interested in working with "masters" in particular fields in the larger community. Group studies are designed by the participants; they agree on frequency of meeting, length of course, instructional format, and type of assignment. Organized group study rarely exceeds 6 or 7 in number. Those who engage in independent study are encouraged to discuss their work with a mentor to validate and further develop their understanding.

Resources

The New School is not limited to the books within its walls or the expertise of its staff. Students have unlimited access to the Internet and the databases of the University of Delaware library. The School engages experts as needed, including those who instruct via email or act as masters in the Apprenticeship program.

Evaluation.While there is no normative grading, critical evaluation is an integral part of every conversation or group meeting. Written work is critiqued in writing with follow-up conversations to elucidate and expand on the mentorís observations.

Studies Pursued

A studentís curriculum is completely individualized and limited only by his interests and imagination. A few examples of studies pursued by students in the past include:

Asian cultures, Spanish, mythology, comparative religions, the Renaissance, poetic composition, reading and composition, the algebras, criminology, conversational German, art, mock trial, wilderness survival practicum, physics, handwriting, grammar, pre-calculus, physical and cultural geography, ecology, ancient Greek, economics, general biology, heredity, botany, early American history, ancient Egypt, architectural design, sewing, animal husbandry, WW I & II, mid-wifery, computer programming, Russian, zoology, native American studies, gender differences, weather and climatology, sculpture, linguistics, horsemanship, law, and comparative cultures.

Organized drama productions, choral ensemble, instrumental music instruction, and intramural sports occur on a regular basis.

Results

At The New School, students gain the habits of mind of rigorous thought and critical inquiry and analysis, the skills of articulate expression, both spoken and written, and the ability to engage in both independent and collaborative work.

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