Student says Potter should be taught

The Newtonite

by Kayla Shore
Harry Potter should have a place in classrooms outside of Hogwarts, according to senior Karen Brier.
“I think Harry Potter should be used as a text in classes to teach students about mythology,” said Brier, who researched the use of the Harry Potter series as a tool to teach mythology for her Senior Year Project.
Her final products were a paper exploring the concept of ‘The Hero’s Journey’ in Harry Potter and a handbook on ways in which one can bring Harry Potter into the classroom.
“It included a few lesson plans on the use of myth in Harry Potter,” she said.
Brier’s essay focused on Joseph Campbell’s concept of the ‘Hero’s Journey,’ which is the theory that many myths follow the same narrative pattern.
While her research paper focused on ‘The Hero’s Journey’ in Harry Potter, “my project, the handbook, is much broader than my paper,” she said.
Brier worked with English teacher Wendy Richardson, “who is practically an expert on Harry Potter,” Brier said.
With such a vast array of possibilities for SYP students to explore, Brier went through very different ideas before she arrived at Harry, she said.
Her initial idea was to interview Holocaust survivors.
“I just didn’t think I could do it justice,” she said, so she searched for another idea until she arrived at Harry Potter.
“Because it’s at the end of senior year,” she added, “I didn’t want to do something too serious.”
Even in the final stage of SYP, Brier’s project continued to change.
She began with the idea of looking at the cultural impact of the wildly popular Harry Potter series. “I realized there just wasn’t enough information on that topic,” she said.
Shifting her focus to the ways Harry Potter incorporates myths, legends and fairy tales, Brier said she found that this time, there was just too much information to cover.
With the tight time frame, Brier’s original plan to create a curriculum based on Harry Potter also had to be downsized, she said.
She then arrived at her final topic of Harry Potter and ‘The Hero’s Journey.’ The other information was included in her handbook but not her paper.
“Most people start out with a broad topic, and each week it gets more and more focused,” she said. “SYP is about finding a midpoint between what you want to do and what you are able to research,” she added.
Brier chose to do SYP because of the limitless opportunities it provided to explore anything one wants. “Kids our age are not going to get the opportunity to do this kind of thing for a while,” said Brier.
Brier and her Senior Year Project may be to thank if students begin learning English through the magic of Harry Potter.