The Pedagogy of Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is one of the most successful series of all time, and since its publication, has inspired scholars to analyze its engagement with gender, its relationship to mythology and fairy tales, and its literary and historical influences. Scholars have examined the impact that the books have had on popular culture, children’s literacy, and children’s literature. Collections have considered the series as a way of exploring politics, philosophy, religion, ethics, and psychology, among other fields. Yet, lost in all this scholarship has been a serious engagement with the way the series portrays education.
Before she was a renowned children’s author, J.K. Rowling was an educator. She taught English as a foreign language in Portugal, then trained as an educator in Edinburgh. She taught French part-time in Edinburgh while writing the Harry Potter series. Her educational background left an indelible mark on her books. Hogwarts, the central location of the series, is first and foremost, a boarding school. Most of the characters within the text are either students or professors. While scholars have looked at the series’ relationship to other boarding school stories or considered how the series can be used in the classroom, there has been no focused analysis of the educational theories and practices depicted within the walls of Hogwarts.
In assembling a collection of essays, we would like to see a variety of topics related to the various pedagogical approaches (both successful and unsuccessful) and educational concerns depicted in the Harry Potter series. While authors are invited to draw on the film adaptations, we ask that essays focus on the book series.
Possible subjects might include:
- Discipline and punishment
- Responses to bullying
- Teaching without technology
- Active learning strategies
- Process-based learning
- Standardized testing & the O.W.L/N.E.W.T. exams
- Teaching styles displayed by various characters
- Student support
- Classroom management
- Ethics and inclusivity
- Assessment of student learning
- Issues related to first-generation/ muggle-born students
Brief author biographies and abstracts (of 300-500 words in length) should be submitted via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by July 10, 2018. Essays must be in American English and spellings, fully cited in accordance with the current MLA style manual. The length of each contribution should be roughly 6,000 to 6,500 words. The deadline for final chapter submission is November 30, 2018. Peer review will be conducted after the collection is submitted, currently scheduled for March 2019. The collection is under contract with McFarland.
Marcie Rovan, Ph.D., serves as an Assistant Professor of English and Director of First-Year Writing at Central Penn College, Summerdale, PA. She has a Ph.D. in literature from Duquesne University with a specialization in Children’s Literature. Her publications include a journal article, “The ‘Broken Mirror’: Casualties of Nation-Building in Train to Pakistan,” in Impressions and a book chapter, "What to do with Supergirl?: Fairy Tales Tropes, Female Power, and Conflicted Feminist Discourse" in a forthcoming collection of essays on Supergirl to be published by McFarland.
Melissa Wehler, Ph.D. serves as the Dean of Humanities and Sciences, Central Penn College, Summerdale, PA. Her publications include book chapters in various edited collections, including “‘We are allies, my dear’: Defining British and American National Identity in Downton Abbey” in Exploring Downton Abbey (2018), “The Haunted Hero: The Performance of Trauma in Jessica Jones” in Jessica Jones, Scared Hero: Essays on Gender Trauma and Addiction in the Netflix Series (2018), “‘Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky’: Neil Gaiman’s Extraordinarily Ordinary Coraline,” in A Quest of Her Own (2014), among others. She has several forthcoming publications including, co-editing a collection of essays on the television show Supergirl where her article “The Super “It” Girl: A New Brand for a Classic Icon” will also appear.