Wands or Quills? Lessons in Pedagogy from Harry Potter


  • Melissa Carol Johnson Virginia Commonwealth University


Teaching and learning, active learning, critical thinking


This essay is grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning and will focus specifically on the ways in which the Harry Potter books highlight the diversity of learning and teaching styles; privilege active experiential learning and problem solving over passive rote learning; and emphasize the benefits of collaboration over competition. Through analysis of the teaching styles and pedagogy of Professors Binns, Umbridge, Snape, Lupin, and Sprout, I illustrate that a pedagogical approach such as active learning is only successful when coupled with a supportive, non-threatening, cooperative learning environment in which critical thinking and risk-taking are encouraged and rewarded.

Author Biography

  • Melissa Carol Johnson, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Assistant Professor and Chair-Elect Department of Focused Inquiry University College Virginia Commonwealth University