Hermione Needs Math and Science Education

Feb 05, 2009

Posted by: Doris | Comments


I recently wrote a review of an educational book about boys in our classroom. Another book I’d like to suggest to all teachers and parents is Failing at Fairness, How our School Cheat Girls. This book looks at the cultural phenomenon that leaves girls feeling left behind in both science and math.

I think back to the first Harry Potter book and realize that our wizarding classrooms don’t seem to have this problem, but one shortfall in many classrooms today is the trend to focus science and math curriculum towards boys. This leavs girls feeling like these subjects just are not for them.

Hermione Potions

No longer is it acceptable for Barbie to say, “Math class is hard, let’s go shopping!” Even Mattel realized their insensitivity and stereotyping with their Teen Talk Barbie. Now it’s time for educators to reach out to girls who’ve lived with that stereotype and make sure that those girls are offered the same opportunities given to their male schoolmates.

According to this article from LiveScience.com, the top five myths about girls in math and science are …

  • From the time they start school, most girls are less interested in science than boys are.
  • Classroom interventions that work to increase girls’ interest in STEM run the risk of turning off the boys.
  • Science and math teachers are no longer biased toward their male students.
  • When girls just aren’t interested in science, parents can’t do much to motivate them.
  • At the college level, changing the STEM curriculum runs the risk of watering down important “sink or swim” coursework.

I challenge everyone to encourage girls to discover the exciting world of math and science. Can we imagine what would have happened to the trio if Hermione, the brightest witch of her age, had never found a love of potions? If, instead of mastering the difficult task of polyjuice potion making, she’d have decided “Math is too hard, let’s go shopping.”

For educators or parents, the book How to Encourage Girls in Science and Math is a great resource to help encourage girls to discover the world of math and science.

(You can read the full article on Mattel’s Barbie Teen Talk here on the NY Times.)

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.