keilinger 9 / 53 Jan 15, 2010 #1The Honor Code at Haverford creates an environment of deep trust, respect, and collegiality between professors and students which, in turn, fosters open dialogue and free intellectual exchange. Talk about the conditions you think are essential to allowing this type of dialogue and exchange in both academic and non-academic settings.Last September, Mr. S----- began leaping from the corner of one desk to another. Vault, spring off, vault, spring off. He gets two desks in two seconds. What other teacher would have put on a frenzied show to teach his students about the carefully calculated impulses of the body's neurological action potential? 70 mV means resting potential, so the lights ought to be off and the frenzied activity ceases. At -55 mV, the action potential occurs. You know this because he shouts, "Here comes the sodium!" and starts leaping sprightly onto desks again. It is a five minute aerobic workout for him, but my classmates and I will remember what an action potential is for the next ten years.When teachers clearly care about their students' personal and academic success, an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust is created. Mr. S----'s passion for teaching is boundless, as are his respect and concern for his students. In the classroom, psychology concepts are linked to real life with examples from news articles and pop culture. He stops at nothing to educate and motivate his students. Outside the classroom, he demonstrates immeasurable patience in one-on-one review sessions. It is no question that teachers at L---- care about their students' success; knowing this inspires and empowers my peers and me.Openness is another key to the creation of the ideal learning environment. Honesty, both on the part of teachers and students, opens the doors to a classroom environment based on mutual trust and respect. My current Government and Politics teacher, Mr. J------, constantly reminds us to speak up when he isn't clear in his lectures. This past Halloween, he offered what I felt was an unnecessary apology to our class for his teaching quality in comparison to teachers who have been at L---- for decades, "I know having an inexperienced teacher is hard. You can ask tons of questions to my colleagues in the department, and they have the answers. I'm still learning. It takes me time to get back to you guys with answers to all your questions." He then proceeded to give us Halloween candy, as something of a consolation prize.But I never felt that I lost the teacher lottery with Mr. J------. His open honesty touches us everyday. In turn, we are encouraged to be more open with him. Questions keep coming, despite the 24-hour turnaround for answers. Hypotheticals are posited. Suggestions for how to make the class more efficient abound. We partake in class debates, and we have learned to respectfully disagree with each other. My peers and I feel an inalienable sense of duty in Government and Politics, tied right into the themes of the class. We have learned to exercise our voice, to shape our own educational experience. The sense of efficacy given to us by the open atmosphere of the classroom has made for an incredible learning experience.Despite budget cuts that threaten at the start of each semester, L---- has not ceased to provide an incredible learning environment. My high school years have been a phenomenal period of intellectual and personal growth, because my fellow classmates and I have always been pushed to work in equal cooperation with teachers and with each other. Our childlike curiosity has been nurtured at the same time that we have been pushed to grow into mature and responsible adults. At my high school, the adults are consciously and intentionally building a community based on mutual respect. After having spent four years here, I have internalized the values of my role models at school; my vision of a utopian community is one in which compassion marks every human interaction and honest and open communication is the norm. Haverford is it.