Sunday, June 7, 2015

It never was an attack on Hermione

My four loyal readers (love you guys - Hi Mum!) will remember my stance on raising hands in class.

The Age recently published a little piece about Toorak College and Frankston High School using the same idea. The piece is a good explanation of the idea but the sub-editors made it look like it was an effort to suppress the Hermiones of the class.

I couldn't resist replying so I wrote them a letter which they published yesterday. Here 'tis:
I just want Professor Snape's approval.

Outside of fictional universes there are no students who raise their hand for every question ("Teachers ban students from putting up hands", 5/6). Even Hermione Granger keeps her head down when she is unsure of her knowledge. That uncertainty is my bread and butter. Right answers are not very interesting to me as a teacher. If I only get right answers I'm out of a job.

By calling on Hermione when she doesn't have her hand up I will eventually strike a gap in her knowledge of all things magical, despite her laudably comprehensive reading of the set texts. Then I get to teach. The paddlepop sticks also let me see what is missed by the Crabbes and Goyles – even purebloods need to have their misunderstandings corrected. And despite their reputations as thugs, these two occasionally contribute useful insights, giving Hermione an excellent opportunity to question her anti-Slytherin prejudice.

Sometimes I learn that my question is far too hard for the majority of the class. At this point I ask Hermione and that nice Harry Potter boy to discuss the question and try to come up with an answer together. After all, we're hardly likely to defeat the Dark Lord without the ability to ask for a little help from our friends.

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