So, today I was watching Harry Potter (I am obsessed!) and the Order of the Pheonix, and I got to really thinking about Professor Umbridge’s style of teaching. It’s really absurd to even think that a teacher would actually teach like this, but in some cases and places, teachers do! For those of you who are not Harry Potter fans or do not know what I’m talking about, take a look at this clip! I don’t know about you guys, but she really pisses me off. I guess the point that I’m trying to make from this clip is that learning can be fun, and she has medieval tactics so yes, I agree with Professor McGonagall 🙂
First she makes it apparent that she is in the room by destroying a rather clever bird that someone made and used magic to fly around. Instead of taking this and incorporating it into something cool, she simply destroys it; ruining part of the creativity that had just started to float around in the classroom.
Next, she writes on the board O.W.L. and for those of you who don’t know what these are they are equivalent to final exams at CSU, or the standard test of basic skills. As we all know, you cannot just teach these things in the classroom and expect students to be engaged. We all understand that students have different learning styles and they need to be incorporated, and especially in this scene they are in the Dark Arts classroom. Why WOULDN’T you apply hands on interaction and wand using in this class? She believes that there is nothing out there that would attack them, so teaching to the test will be the most efficient way for them learn. As Harry points out, however, how are they suppose to use this in the real world? I think this is what a ton of students are asking while they are in school as well, and a ton of our future students will be wondering: what is the point of this? I think if we keep this initial question and have an essential question in each lesson that we are aiming towards, students will understand why they are doing what they are doing.
There are many other scenes in Harry Potter as well that got me wondering. Another scene is while the students all have the same dress code, she goes around and tidies them up even though I see this as each student creating their own personality with their clothes. Even though they are all wearing the same outfits, she is trying to make them look identical and base their learning on just learning and nothing else. She also starts adding a ton of rules as High Inquisitor and takes away everything fun that they do at Hogwarts. For example, all clubs were banned; Weasley products were banned (such as fireworks, things to get students out of class, etc.); she would be interviewing each teacher to see how their teaching is. While all of this was going on, I couldn’t help but wonder how this would affect me in my teaching later on. Students are going to have cellphones, computers, twitter/Facebook accounts, anything you name it. How can I/we as future teachers turn these forms of technology that some see as a distraction, into positive learning? For instance, if there is a word that comes up in a story that the students are unsure of, have them google the definition so their is a clear understanding. The next time one of them could use the dictionary based on time. There is going to be so many distractions, it will be hard to keep track of, but I truly believe if we can incorporate positive learning into these distractions, the students will understand and also enjoy learning more. Thanks Professor Umbridge for showing me what NOT to do in teaching!
Add some thoughts to this! I KNOW there are Harry Potter fans out there!