Harry Potter in the Classroom

Posted on April 5, 2017

Harry Potter is not as controversial as it was when the books were first released in 2001. Religious groups may believe the fantasy series promotes witchcraft, but as the series became more and more popular, it has become apparent to the general public that although Harry Potter may be set in another world, its messages translate into our Muggle world just as well as any other coming-of-age stories.

From its lessons in friendship, the gains and losses of loved ones, the good and evil found in people, and the growing pains from adolescence, to the choices one makes that create a person– it is one of the many books our children should be reading.

Controversial History

Controversies of Harry Potter had arose in the 2000s because of wizardry and witchcraft in the novels. It isn’t the actual writing, it isn’t vulgar, it isn’t profanic; it only created a fantasy world where witchcraft was the norm.

Consider the many classics that are required reading in today’s classroom that were first banned because of political, profanic or crude reasons. The nearest words to profanity in the books are “Merlin’s beard!” …which translates to, “Oh my God!”

The books are still banned in certain libraries, or even towns to this day, but its censorship is minimal. For example, the series is banned in Christian and other private schools and even some small-town public schools. It is important to keep in mind, the Harry Potter series does not denounce any religion, it doesn’t even create its own religion. Like many other books, it remains neutral and does not promote nor denounce any belief.

In the Classroom

When the books were first released, it didn’t have a place in the classroom. It may have physically been IN libraries and classrooms, but it wasn’t taught or appeared on any “must-read” lists. Since the Harry Potter generation has grown up and entered the working world ourselves, we have developed positive and creative ways to implement this, now classic, work of literature into our classrooms.

Hopefully, the entire year-round reading list of a class is not just Harry Potter, but its inclusion may just be the book that opens children to the love of reading. In fact, many claim it was J.K. Rowling who saved reading and turned an entire generation away from television shows, movies and video games to reading– even if just for a little bit.

The Values it Instills

One can argue any value it instills in these last few generations, but argued time and time again– this is what we have learned from Harry Potter:

“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire