Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Analysis of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
When watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I observed the different teaching philosophies that McGonagall, Sprout, and Umbridge display within the varied classroom setting. *** discuss/ name and explain the different philosophies talked about in essay
In evaluating Professor McGonagall’s teaching practices at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I noticed that she incorporates and demonstrates three educational philosophies, namely essentialism, perennialism and progressivism.
Professor McGonagall is known and well respected by both students and professors for her high level of student and classroom expectations. McGonagall is known for her strict, no-nonsense demeanor and as the master of her classroom. Because of the common culture that exists between both student and professor, she has gained the respect of all of her students. While her teaching strategies are traditional she is training their minds to promote reasoning.
McGonagall uses great books by Hogwarts finest thinkers and writers, while teaching them the traditional educational values of reading, writing, and arithmetic. At the beginning of class, she warns her students that anyone messing around will be forced to leave and not be welcomed back. She states, you have been warned (McGonagall). She provides her students with instructional demonstrations, where students are asked to conduct group experiments, such as the project-based learning approach. Her students tend to be inquisitive and ask many questions and in turn, she provides them with the help that is needed by roaming the classroom and answering their questions when needed.
Overall, McGonagall utilizes three of the five teaching philosophies: essentialism, perennialism and progressivism. In the film, I believe that Warner Brother Studios chose to exemplify these three philosophies within McGonagall because they wanted to create a character who was a good example of moral ethics as well as honorable. She is capable of demonstrating both sides of the spectrum, the teacher-child-classroom relationship as well as the student driven classroom relationships. She is able to allow the students to flourish in their creativity. In regards to McGonagall, I would model her teaching philosophy of ___________. ***what will you avoid in regards to the three philosophies that she uses.
Alongside McGonagall, Professor Sprout also uses the philosophy of progressivism in her classroom. She is a cheerful, roly poly teacher, who is well liked by her students. Her philosophy offers a hands-on learning experience in an outdoor classroom setting.
Within her class, she teaches them how to repot a Mandrake plant. She provides them with step-by-step instructions while also advising them of the dangers of their activity. The students are given tools for protection, then proceed with caution as she explains and demonstrates what they will do. She double checks their work and asks for understanding.
From this we can gather that she is an encouraging and thoughtful teacher who focuses on the individual’s learning and progression throughout the time in her class. Her teaching philosophy of progressivism allows them to gain real-world experiences that can be utilized during their years at Hogwarts. There is no testing in her classroom, the pupil’s education is built around their experience, while they focus on one discipline at a time. Professor Sprout’s education states that, if a single pupil wants to come, then the school ought to remain open for that pupil (Professor Sprout).
Ultimately, I feel that Warner Brother Studios chose to show Professor Sprout in a way where progressivism is seen in a nurturing light, because the students face peril, evil, darkness, and restriction of creativity among other professors within the school. In my own classroom, I would adopt Professor Sprouts way of teaching in a progressive light, we see that she is very encouraging, supportive, and allows students to lead and she follows in their footsteps.
Consequently, we observe that Professor Umbridge adopts a completely different philosophy when teaching her students. The philosophy she demonstrates in her classroom, is essentialism. Essentialism is _______________.
Professor Umbridge’s demonstrates this by standing in front of the class as she teaches them which gives her a sense of superiority which exemplifies the idea of teachers being in charge. When she does this, she is imparting her wisdom and knowledge so that the students may learn from her instead of discovering on their own. She is endowing them with her great wisdom and knowledge.
Umbridge is viewed as the mouthpiece for the Ministry of Magic’s political stand on the practices and policies that govern Hogwarts. This teacher intimidates her students with an iron fist approach telling them there will be discipline, order, and obedience in her classroom. She has a set of classroom rules in place where speaking is never an option. She does not call her students by their names but refers to them as children (Umbridge). Because there will be no talking in class without her permission, Professor Umbridge insists they raise their hands.
What she teaches her students is that they will gain knowledge through their examinations, she believes school is about studying and test taking. She also warns the students not to question her methods and compares this act to doubting the Ministry. Students quietly sit at their desks and write with pen and paper and rote information from their textbooks. Instead of focusing on the student’s opinions, she only deems the Ministries and her own as the guiding force in the classroom.
The filmmakers chose to portray Umbridge in this traditional, old school way of teaching where students are to be seen but not heard. However, despite Umbridge’s views on how the classroom should be run, I would not agree. When teaching my future students, I would not adopt this theory. I would want to find more creative ways and other avenues that would allow them to test their understanding of subject other than her test taking methods. I would allow my students to have a voice and that their opinions are welcome.
After viewing the film and being able to critique the different educational philosophies that are presented, I was able to solidify my own teaching philosophy which is one of acceptance, encouraging creativity, understanding, and helping my students to pursue their interest while also being a role model. Overall, this film showed me the more effective ways of teaching students in a way that allows their creativity to flow and where they feel the most comfortable. The student’s dislike for Umbridge and adoration for McGonagall was blatantly obvious and continuously shown throughout the film which made it all the more obvious on which professors’ philosophies encourages and discourages learning. The level of respect, learning, and relationship development that occurred between student and professor is what appealed to me the most when watching this film. What was discouraging, was the amount of forceful rules and discipline that professors like Umbridge displayed which eliminated students excitement for learning. When subjected to this environment, students are not able to progress during their academic years at Hogwarts. This film allowed me to cohesively see and understand the different philosophies that are brought into the classroom and how they affect the learning environment as a whole.
Acceptance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In the third Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry and his friends mature into teenagers, and the series itself also matures noticeably in both depth and tone. The series continues to mature in multiple ways in book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Goblet of Fire is the longest in the series so far, with this book having grown to be twice the length of its predecessors. Harry and his friends also grow within the novel. The main plot of Goblet of Fire concerns the resurgence of an event known as the Triwizard Tournament: A magical contest that was “first established some seven hundred years ago as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry… generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities…” (Rowling 187). This competition between Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in France, and the Northern European Durmstrang Institute is designed to teach students to accept and befriend other cultures, a theme which splinters off into other subplots, and results in the story further maturing by exploring these themes of acceptance.
One of the very first examples of learning to accept others in Goblet of Fire can be found in Hermione and her efforts with the Society of the Promotion for Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W.). After witnessing how heartlessly Winky the house-elf is abandoned by her master, Hermione does research on the history of house-elves, and learns that they are treated as slaves, Hermione commences S.P.E.W. in an effort to end what she sees as the mistreatment of house-elves. With S.P.E.W., Hermione aims include“[securing] house-elves fair wages and working conditions…changing the law about non-wand-use, and trying to get an elf into the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, because they’re shockingly under-represented.” (Rowling 224-225). S.P.E.W. gains zero support from anyone at Hogwarts, including the very house-elves she was attempting to liberate. While Hermione is correct in noting that the unpaid labor system is imperfect, as it is very easy for wizards to abuse their own house-elves, Hermione does not take the personal and societal views of the house-elves into account. As Hagrid tells her, “‘It’d be doin’ ’em an unkindness, Hermione,’ he said gravely, threading a massive bone needle with thick yellow yarn. ‘It’s in their nature ter look after humans, that’s what they like, see? Yeh’d be makin’ ’em unhappy ter take away their work, an’ insulting’ ’em if yeh tried ter pay ’em.’” (Rowling 265). The house-elves residing in Hogwarts find Hermione’s crusade insulting, but she fails to listen when anyone reminds her of this. According to Luisa Grijalva Maza’s article “Deconstructing the Grand Narrative inHarry Potter: Inclusion/Exclusion and Discriminatory Policies in Fiction and Practice”, Hermione “fails to ask the elves their own opinion of their needs” and her failure to do so is a sign Hermione is succumbing to “the view that house elves are inferior in that they areincapable of constructing their own meanings of freedom and happiness, in this way reinforcing the superiority of her newly adopted magical human identity” (Maza 431). The introduction of such a complicated theme in this novel shows how much the series has matured since its last mention of house-elves. Although Hermione does not give up on S.P.E.W.’s mission by the end of the novel, it is implied by the text that Hermione’s actions are unnecessary and unwanted, and S.P.E.W. should try harder to accept the opinions of house-elves and actually work together with them when it comes to their goals of betterment.
Another example of acceptance is seen in Ron and his behavior towards women when it comes to the Yule Ball. As the Yule Ball approaches, Ron works harder and harder to obtain a date. However, he does not view the girls he wants to ask as people, rather seeing them as accessories that will make him look better at the dance. As Hermione eloquently explains, “you’re going to take the best-looking girl who’ll have you, even if she’s completely horrible…” (Rowling 394-395). Ron, growing increasingly desperate, attempts to ask Hermione, to no avail:“Well- you can come with one of us!” “No, I can’t,” snapped Hermione. “Oh come on,” he said impatiently, “we need partners, we’re going to look really stupid if we haven’t got any, everyone else has…” “I can’t come with you,” said Hermione, now blushing, “because I’m already going with someone.” “No you’re not!” said Ron. “You just said that to get rid of Neville!” “Oh did I?” said Hermione, and her eyes flashed dangerously. “Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!” (Rowling 400)Ron does not see Hermione as attractive or desirable, and in his eyes, this means no one else would possibly be able to see her that way either. Ron is insistent about Hermione lying about her date, and seeing her with Victor Krum is the only thing that makes him finally admit she was not lying. He then becomes extremely bitter and refused to have any fun at the ball. It is only after Hermione exclaims in a fit of rage “next time there’s a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!” (Rowling 452). Ron is barely able to respond to this, and at this point he realizes that Hermione actually has feelings, and starts to accept girls as actual people instead of objects.
Finally, examples of acceptance are seen in the behaviors of the half-giants of the story, Hagrid and Madame Maxime. In the wizarding world, Giants are seen as dumb savages. Due to this prejudice, half-giants are widely discriminated against. According to “Improving Cultural Competence” by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, people who are discriminated against have different ways of dealing with it and seeking acceptance. Madame Maxime, when confronted about her status as a half-giant, vehemently denies it, taking the Conformity approach. Those who conform are said to “places considerable value on characteristics that represent dominant cultural groups; may devalue or hold negative views of own race or other racial/ethnic groups” (Improving Cultural Competence). This is exactly what Madame Maxime does, claiming she simply has “big bones” (Rowling) and constantly denying that she is anything other than the dominant cultural group. Hagrid, on the other hand, takes the Integrative Awareness approach when he is outed as a half-giant by Rita Skeeter. Those who chose Integrative Awareness are said to “have developed a secure, confident sense of racial/cultural identity; maintains pride in racial identity and cultural heritage; commits to supporting and appreciating all oppressed and diverse groups” (Improving Cultural Competence). This is clearly Hagrid attitude about his race, as evidenced by the quote “I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.’ An’ he was right” (Rowling 406). These are two very distinct methods for gaining acceptance within a community, but the novel seems to imply that Integrative Awareness is better, as Maxime makes up with Hagrid offstage, reuniting after she tried to conform and lied about her giant heritage.
Acceptance is a major aspect of growing up. As Harry and his friends learn more about acceptance throughout Goblet of Fire, the more they seem to grow and mature as people. One of the oldest, wisest, and most mature characters in the entirety of the Harry Potter series, Professor Dumbledore, is often revered as one of the most accepting people to ever exist in the wizarding world. In stark contrast,the incompetent Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge refuses to accept the truth about Voldemort’s return or to accept any “dark” creatures as possible allies. Dumbledore has this to say to Fudge when he shows his true colors as a prejudice fool: “You are blinded by the love of your office, Cornelius! You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!” (Rowling 708). Fudge is not accepting of people who differ from him, and that is why he ultimately fails as Minister of Magic. The more one learns about accepting others and accepting one’s self, the more one is able to grow as a person.i