Professors of sociology often struggle to introduce sociological concepts in new and thought-provoking ways to their students. According to a recent article in Bowling Green Daily News, Professor Bertena Varney is tackling this issue in an unconventional way and using the Harry Potter series to engage her students with various sociological topics. In her “Inequality in Society” class at Southern Kentucky Community and Technological College, Varney sorts students into the houses of Hogwarts and each day a specific house leads class discussion on social issues. For example, the students apply the Harry Potter terminology of “muggles” and “squibs” to a discussion of the disabled and mentally challenged.
Not only do the students use Harry Potter to understand concepts, but they also engage in community service, tutoring, and social media in order to compete for the house cup, which awards the winning house fifty points of extra credit at the end of the semester. Varney also views this immersion structure as providing students with future skills outside of the classroom, saying:
“Once you get them thinking about other people besides themselves, they take off. It teaches them a lot of social skills and problem solving … [and] it’s easier for students to find out how they can work together to make the world a better place. ”
When professors use magical teaching methods like Varney, students are so entranced by the material that anti-cheating spells are no longer necessary!