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Essays

Teachers and Curriculum: Would You Want This For Your Child?

by Steve Vander Ark

Academics at Hogwarts are a curious mix of practical experience and rote learning. While the curriculum is dictated to some extent by the Ministry of Magic (GF14), each instructor is given considerable leeway in exactly what they teach and how they go about it. To be perfectly frank, some of the instructors at Hogwarts are very poor teachers indeed and would never survive in a Muggle school. The education provided to the students at Hogwarts is scattered and incomplete in many areas. Students learn Potions and Transfiguration rigorously and completely, studying both the theory and implementation in a carefully planned way. On the other hand, their training in Defence Against the Dark Arts is very inconsistent, with at least one entire school year recently (1992-1993 [Y12-Y13]) being taught with no practical lessons at all after the first day (CS6), and much of their time in Care of Magical Creatures during 1993-1995 [Y13-Y15] seems to have been a complete waste, unless they plan to become flobberworm ranchers once they leave school (PA8) or to work with illegally-bred Blast-Ended Skrewts (GF13, GF24).

The fact that teachers are allowed to be grossly unfair and vindictive in their treatment of students is another cause for concern. There seems to be no recourse for a student like Neville Longbottom, who is being consistently abused by his Potions teacher. He is expected to tough it out. Hogwarts classes are dangerous as well. In various activities planned as part of lessons, students are routinely injured or "damaged" in sometimes spectacular ways. Perhaps it is because of Madam Pomfrey's amazing ability to patch things together, regrow bones, and reattach noses makes that all these many accidents are not cause for more alarm. One can only imagine the reactions of parents to some of the tales their children bring home from school during holidays...

© 2001 Steve Vander Ark

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