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December 03, 2007

Need a *Magic* New Teaching Methodology? Introducing *Harry Potter* Pedagogy!


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I was skeptical at first, but it seems that those Harry Potter books may actually have a purpose beyond pop-culture's claim to have begun a renaissance of reading interest in British and North American youngsters. I have previously used the structural framework of the Harry Potter narrative, as an outline at least, to demonstrate Joseph Campbell's Monomyth (the Hero's Journey) model in my literature classes--especially when stacked up against *Star Wars*--with some success. Demonstrating how myth/fantasy can a subtle reflection of reality is one thing (for some students, some real magic is needed!). However, . . .

. . . one courageous British schoolmaster has recently taken this game to the next level. Can fantasy be transformed into reality? An excerpt below:

. . . Two hours from platform 9 at London's King's Cross station, a cluster of students in starry robes, pointed hats and rep ties are learning how plants grow, but it's not botany; they call it "herbology." In an adjacent classroom a boy with a famous lightning-bolt scar brandishes his wand, chants "Numerus Subtracticus!" and conjures the correct answer to a math problem . . .

For the rest, please click HERE to read Alex Altman's "Harry Potter Works Magic at School" in TIME magazine

Posted by lhobbs at December 3, 2007 12:59 PM

Readers' Comments:

Whatever gets the kids reading I guess...

As a youngster I was a huge fan of the "Goosbumps" books. For a few years, that was *all* I would read. I remember my mom trying to encourage me to read other books she had bought, but no dice.

For better or for worse, those books were probably responsible for transforming me into the avid reader I am today.

But encouraging the kids to pretend they have magical powers? I'm not sure how I feel about that. With ADHD diagnoses being thrown around left and right, we need to find *some* way of keeping the kids interested in school. The old ways just don't work anymore. And if they're getting good results, more power to them.

------------

LOL, good point.

~Lee

Posted by: Tony at December 4, 2007 10:13 AM

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