The Magical Effect of Harry Potter and Education

Nov 13, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

In news that surely would make Hermione proud, the Daily Mail is reporting today about a school in the UK that has experienced a significant turnaround in the academic performance of their students after introducing a Harry Potter curriculum this year. While the use of Harry Potter in schools is nothing new, the paper reports that a primary school in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England “has jumped from the bottom 25 per cent of schools nationally to just outside the top 5 per cent over the last three years after deciding to let pupils pick a theme for the curriculum each term.” A recent inspection of the maths lessons where “the children were motivated to learn about subtraction by pretending that it is a magic formula created by Harry Potter. Pupils were not allowed to answer questions without first saying a spell – “numerus subtracticus”, which they devised themselves.The official report describes achievement at the school as “outstanding.”

Headteacher Donna Chambers said: “Other schools do topic-based learning, but not to the extent we do.”With maths, the teacher will say ‘today we are learning how to do inverse operation’. They put on their Harry Potter hat and wands, and work it out in their books.”

Other examples of the Harry Potter cirriculum include the following:

  • Art: imagine what Harry Potter would do if he painted a version of Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece The Starry Night. The Potter-inspired versions featured witches, dragons and other beasties.

  • History: the history of flight, starting with a discussion of Harry Potter’s broomstick, then discussing if that is real and tracing the real development of aviation, including the Wright brothers.
  • Geography: comparing the children’s home town of Arnold, Nottinghamshire, with Goathland, North Yorkshire, where the scenes of Hogsmead Station were shot for the Potter films.
  • Science: put a stick of celery in a beaker of blue dye and see how it takes in the fluid, turning the celery from green to blue. Discuss whether Harry Potter could use this to turn one of his foes a different colour.




  • 29 Responses to The Magical Effect of Harry Potter and Education

    Avatar Image says:

    I’m glad Harry could help all those kids!! Cute…

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    Take that, Laura Mallory’s of the world!

    Avatar Image says:

    WOW! I want to go to that school!!!

    Avatar Image says:

    @Jessie So true, Laura Mallory drives me nuts… she does so much to ban the books and hasn’t read them… urgh!

    @becca Me too…

    Avatar Image says:

    that’s really cool!

    Avatar Image says:

    Jelous a little, kind of creepy though but cool

    Avatar Image says:

    Hey, if it gets them learning and helps the information stick in their minds then its all good.

    Harry Potter: So good it can make maths fun!

    Avatar Image says:

    Jessie: Yeah, really! Laura Mallory doesn’t seem to get it, though. Ah well. I don’t think she’s changing anything, and we’re all entitled to our own opinions (however skewed) I guess. ;)

    But that’s really cool news! Really wonderful to hear.

    Avatar Image says:

    Wow! So cool!

    I hope they don’t get sued :-(

    Avatar Image says:

    “In news that surely would make Hermione proud”

    But would Hermione believe anything she read in the Daily Mail? Would she even be reading the Daily Mail? :)

    Avatar Image says:

    I tried to talk to miss ‘His Voice Today’

    Basically she pissed me off when she accused me of being a child, and encouraging me to have my pastor write to her since she wasnt sure if she could talk to me (thirty being underage and all LOL)

    The saddest thing is that her arguments arent even hers… she just regurgitates stuff shes heard from other people.

    My personal favorite was that erised is supposed to be the name of a demon. (She got that from a supposed former witch)

    MEANWHILE HP is promoting positive results in classrooms across the world. WAY TO GO HARRY (and JK Rowling)!!!

    Avatar Image says:

    That is so cool, I would go back to school for HP themed lessons myself. Lucky kids.

    My daughter and her friends have renamed all their courses after Hogwarts classes (science is Potions, music is Charms, PE is Quidditch practice, history is Muggle Studies, etc.) It gets them through the day, lol.

    Avatar Image says:

    I already do this!

    I am studying for my level 2 NCEA and use it kind of like picture revision. I picture a Scene from the book, and them relate each fact to a different part, tying the storires together in some way.

    It really helps!

    Avatar Image says:

    Now, why doesn’t my school do that? I would pay SOOOO much more attention, if this were the case.

    Avatar Image says:

    As much as I love Harry Potter, I find this a little creepy. It’s great that it helps kids learn, but I don’t think I’d want every aspect of school life to follow any novel.

    Avatar Image says:

    interesting! learning made much more enjoyable—that’s wonderful! i commend this. it doesn’t harm the kids… it does the opposite. so great! =)

    Avatar Image says:

    Should I comment on the shift of society from teaching the value of delayed gratification to only caring about instant gratification and the effect it could have on future societies and even lead to a fall into the dark ages?

    No? Well then let me just comment that maths is easily the most annoying British-ism EVER.

    Avatar Image says:

    pat: surely ‘mobile phone’ is our most annoying ‘British-ism’ ever! :)

    cell phone? pah!

    Avatar Image says:

    Easily the best thing I’ve heard in YEARS! I was a 1st grade teacher, in San Diego, California (USA) and imagination is the key to learning! Leave it to a British Teacher to use, what is (easily) one of the best and most popular series of Children’s Books, as a tool for learning! I wish more teachers would use their imaginations. Bravo! Hermione WOULD be proud!As I’m sure JKR is. The possibilities are endless!

    Avatar Image says:

    Fantastic! I am all with whatever works to get kids to learn. I remember my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher helping the kids learn the sounds of the letters by singing to the tune of “Who Let the Dogs Out” (Who let the S’s out, Sssss, sssss, sssss, ssss) Really fun for the kids and memorable.

    Avatar Image says:

    Math is one of the most annoying americanisms, although how americans pronounce aluminium is really annoying. Most words seem to be pronouced phonetically.

    Avatar Image says:

    I love stories like this. Being an educator, I enjoy any insight into what motivates people to learn. I’m sure that not every kid in the school responds to this sort of thing, and it probably isn’t even so much that it is Harry potter that makes it work – rather, I’m guessing that it is giving kids a little bit of respect to take ownership of their own motivations ot learn. Go kids!

    and @ Molly: In the US, we DO pronounce aluminum phonetically – we just spell it differently!

    Avatar Image says:

    This is wonderful! :D I’m totally gonna use that math spell in school…

    Avatar Image says:

    Jessie I totally agree….I sincerely hope that Mallory woman has read this….if anyone needs to understandanything about education(with or without Potter)its her. And which great school is this????I wouldn’t mind repeating all my elementary years again if they were gonna be like this….

    Avatar Image says:

    A friend who teaches fourth grade in one of the worst NYC schools has had much success with this kind of approach. At the beginning of the schoolyear, kids throw out ideas for that year’s theme. Then they research, present to their classmates, campaign for “their” theme and finally vote on it. For the rest of the year all the studies are tied into that theme.

    One year it was “the history of New York City”, and the next year it was “Ancient Greece”. I don’t know if they’ve done a “Harry Potter” year yet!

    Brilliant idea. I think Jo would love it. Most important is that the school has gone from bottom 25% in the country to near top 5%.

    Avatar Image says:

    am i the only person who thinks this is retarded??? as much as i luv hp it is only a series

    Avatar Image says:

    Actually, Pat, MATH is one of the most annoying Americanisms ever. Maths is the abbreviation for Mathematics. They are plurals because Mathematics is an umberalla term for a multitude of different subjects: algebra, arithmatic, geometry, triganomitry, calculus, statistics etc etc.

    Avatar Image says:

    I think this is pretty neat. I happen to Homeschool my kids, and I always thought it would be fun for a couple of semesters to call our subjects those of Hogworts. We could do Herbology, and learn about plants and gardening, we could do chemistry and call it Potions etc… Kids eat this stuff up, and it makes it fun. I think it also helps them see that all knowledge relates to something in the world. It may just be a series of books that’s made up…but it has valid knowledge contained within! Very fun!!!

    Avatar Image says:

    anyone think these are cheesy, just a little?

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