The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry may exist only on paper and screen, but there are magic portion we can definitely borrow from the walls of the castle school.
1. School Friendships are for life
Going through the class photos is among the most nostalgic moments in our otherwise routine school life. School is the ground for learning about standing up for your friends, being completely aware that it will surely put you in trouble or worse at the principal’s mercy!
We revisit our schools with Harry, Ron and Hermione. It’s their adventure that makes the magic possible. While Harry is the chief protagonist, the story weaves itself through his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger characters too.
Simple tales of stating up to the bully Draco Malfoy or Neville Longbottom, who mustered up the courage to stand up to his friends in the beginning and to help take down big bad Voldemort in the end, these are interactions that makes a school so dynamic and memorable.
So be it Gilderoy Lockhart or Cho Chang, we go through the purani jeans type emotions all across from the big claims to the first crush. So your school may have had its own Dementors at school or you had Voldemort for a teacher, you made it all though with your friends.
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
2. Good teachers are half a good school.
Good educators matter more than ever. While there are no mobile or gadgets at Hogwarts but there is enough distraction to keep the students occupied. It’s the teachers who bring in quality and respect to academics over fruitless distraction. Be it Sirius Black or Severus Snape who showed us a thing or two about love, good teachers are eternal.
Professor Dumbledore is a prime example of the change a good Principal can bring. His leadership, backing the students, short speeches before the school dining hall are takeaways for any leader willing to take charge of their school.
Looks matter less than love. Hagrid with his dis-shelved beard and a giant frame is one who protects the trio on the face of danger. From taming Buckbeak, the steel coloured Hippogriff to the lazy Fang the Boarhound, he teachers Harry & Co about preservation and politeness.
An interesting piece of trivia that both Rubeus (red) Hagrid and Albus (white) Dumbledore, have colours in their first names. Red denotes practical & perhaps co-curricular and the white stands for academics. Two coins of a good school culture.
A passing word on the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell or the wicked Dolores Umbridge, one indifferent and vice dark teacher does more damage than ten good ones.
“Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
3. Take your Quidditch seriously
So imagine yourself riding the Nimbus 2000 zooming in air trying to catch the snitch. Well just replace the snitch with a football or a ping pong or anything round and rubber. Sports is an integral part of a good school.
Reevaluate your schools’ sport timetable. If it is a cosmetic one period a week with an annual sports day with the dreadfully done march past and the drill with rainbow feathers, it’s time to re-think again.
The students at Hogwart took their Quidditch seriously. The matches are intense and very competitive. George Weasley called Quidditch a rough game. This wizarding sport played on broomsticks may be a fictional invention but weren’t our childhood sports also very innovative? A cricket bat could be anything from a book cover to a plank of wood but there was no missing the fighting spirit.
Today, alas, we need to push our young learners outside the homes away from the gadgets instead of calling them in, as our parents did!
“It’s our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
4. Magic exist – it’s called hope
While the school of magic at Hogwarts is special with flying brooms and talking paintings, it could be very well be anywhere else in Honolulu or Hyderabad. Magic is created not by some oracle or charms but by the competitiveness and a strong school character.
The team names have significance and a legacy. From Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slitherin, each has a spirit that makes a school worth studying in. Are your school teams just as exciting?
A good classroom is not just within the four walls. Learning happens all around. In dark Chambers guarded by three headed dogs (Fluffy) or the haunted forest. Small artifacts make learning fun. Plant these across your schools and see the magic of conversations grow.
Another trivia that the artifact Mirror of Erised is actually “desire” spelled backward. Harry becomes addicted to staring in it, seeing his deceased family behind him for the first time. You don’t need a mirror in your school but you surely can let students do things they desire, to make the place magical and desirable.
“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – -Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban
5. A writer can be a successful career too (of course we talking about JK Rowling)
Go follow the handle and tweet to @jk_rowling. From being a single mom, struggling to write to become the most influential (& also richest in literally world) writer speaks volumes of what books can do for careers.
“And I was still alive and I still had a daughter whom I adored and I had an old typewriter and a big idea,” write Ms Rowling.
Heed the advice of JK Rowling and you will find yourself in good company. “Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.”
One of the books I recommend at my workshops is Goodnight stories for Rebel Girls. This book is a collection of biographies of women who have achieved the outstanding. JK Rowling is surely up there with the best. Use the books to encourage good language usage at your school, promote the almost extinct writing skills and yes, show them writers can also make a lot of money!
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
6. Growing years need different outcomes (the book & movie series)
While I loved the experience of watching Sorcerers’ Stone with my six year old, I can’t say the same as we reached the Cursed Child. It was amusing to see the darker versions, the growing grey matters and more sophisticated plots as the characters grew older. My daughter who loved the first one, just couldn’t identify with the newer versions.
Mistake was entirely mine. While the movie grew with the characters, I had decided to binge watch them all with my kids. Perhaps she will love the others versions as she grows into a teenager just like Emma grew!
But though this experience, I learnt a more deeper psycho-social lesson. We are often guilty of teaching our tweens in the same way we teach our teens. Their needs, dreams and approaches are as varied as a knight and a priest. Don’t believe me, go binge watch the seasons.
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” – -Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
7. Explore the world of Imagination
The Sapiens author Yuval Hariri said the biggest gift that humans are endowed with is imagination. Armed with the power of imagination we have created pharaohs with god like divine powers, aliens from outer space or simple the value of gold, which otherwise is meaningless to all other living species.
It is this imagination that allows us to explore the world of spells, mythical creatures from a flying eagle-horse, gas like spirits, were-wolves & were-rats to Dobby the house elf until he was killed in Deathly Hallows.
JK Rowling mentioned this key aspect in her 2008 Harvard speech, “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
So let our learners continue to imagine. Imagine a world without boundaries, imagine cars without drivers and imagine school without teachers. Imagine and you never know when it can turn true.
“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire