It makes a sensational, controversial headline: A Harry Potter-centered curriculum boosts a failing school into the top 5 percent. Students must recite a spell (“numerus subtracticus”) when answering math questions.
But on closer inspection, this turns out not to be just a school carried off into frightening conformity to the current fad. Whatever you may think about Harry Potter, the real magic seems to be somewhere else: the students performance has increased “over the last three years after deciding to let pupils pick a theme for the curriculum each term. Previous themes have included the Titanic, Africa and Princes & Princesses.” They enjoy their coursework (especially “practical tasks and those that allow them to investigate mathematics”), since the theme they chose helps them make connections across subjects, and they behave well and work independently because it’s fun.
Hmm. . . students taking responsibility for the curriculum + creative teaching + real life learning = student achievement. Who knew?