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Essays

A Hogwarts Education: Well-Rounded or Not?

by Neil Ward

There is much we don't know about wizarding education.

  • How do younger wizards and witches get educated in basic skills like reading and writing?

    • We see very little of this in the books, although obviously the kids entering Hogwarts have been trained in some of these basic skills or they wouldn't be able to handle the classes the face at Hogwarts. Given the very medieval nature of the wizarding world, I suggest that most kids are trained either by their parents in basic reading, writing, and math, or are trained in small one-room schools with a relatively few children and one teacher. This training would cover the basics and enough pre-magic theory to produce kids who can function in wizarding society.

  • Do all children in the wizarding world go to Hogwarts? Are there other, less prestigious schools in Britain?

    • JKR says that Hogwarts is the only wizarding school in Britain for kids eleven and up. Perhaps that means that kids who don't qualify for Hogwarts, people like Stan Shunpike for example, move immediately into trades where they become apprentices. They then learn the magic necessary for their station in life and that's about it. If that doesn't sound fair, remember that if they had more magical ability than that, they'd have been invited to come to Hogwarts. This fits in with a medieval-style culture, although it seems limiting to us.

  • When do Hogwarts students learn the rest of what we consider to be essential parts of any curriculum, things like geography, literature, or foreign languages?

    • We do know of quite a few classes Hogwarts does offer, and these courses do cover a lot of what we would call a well-rounded education. Neil Ward on HP4GU gives us this list of classes and what traditional subject areas they cover:

    • Most of these subjects would include use of English language in the writing of essays, but there are a few topics that don't seem to be covered much at all: Terrestrial Geography (it's no wonder that no one knows where anything is located), Modern Languages, English Lit, Art, Music and Sex Education spring to mind. Overall, the curriculum seems very science-heavy and could do with an injection from the creative arts. For example, I'd love to see the Sorting Hat coaching the Hogwarts' School Choir - that would have so much comic potential.

© 2001 Neil Ward

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