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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.