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Hogwarts is a Terrible Learning Environment: Discuss

Hogwarts is a Terrible Learning Environment: Discuss

Like many young Muggles of the early 00's, I dreamed of receiving my Hogwarts letter. But re-reading the series with an eye toward learning lessons about creating a positive learning environment, it's clear that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry contains some unfortunate lessons in what NOT to do. When it comes to crafting an environment that encourages asking questions, fosters cooperation, and ensuring the success of its developers -- I mean, wizards -- we can learn a lot from the mistakes of the Hogwarts faculty. In this magical talk, you'll learn how to be a better mentor and help your workplace become a place where your junior developers can flourish.

Given at Open Source Bridge, June 2016.

Lacey Williams Henschel

June 23, 2016

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  1. For those select few who possess the predisposition, I can

    teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. “
  2. And finally, I must tell you that this year, the

    talk on the third day is out of bounds to anyone who does not wish to experience a very painful spoiler. “
  3. Also, Hogwarts is not diverse. And that’s a big problem.

    It’s got more problems than we have time to talk about today.
  4. You might belong in Gryffindor, Where dwell the brave at

    heart, Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart
  5. You might belong in Hufflepuff, Where they are just and

    loyal, Those patient Hufflepuffs are true And unafraid of toil
  6. Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you've a ready

    mind, Where those of wit and learning, Will always find their kind
  7. Or perhaps in Slytherin You'll make your real friends, Those

    cunning folks use any means To achieve their ends
  8. You know, sometimes I think we Sort too soon. Professor

    Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  9. Harry Potter can talk to snakes. Voldemort could talk to

    snakes. Voldemort was evil. Ergo, Harry Potter is evil.
  10. “Highly rated servers are given more tables and preferred schedules.

    By shifting work to its best servers, the restaurant hopes to increase profits and motivate all employees.” Netessine and Yakubovich, Harvard Business Review
  11. “[This system] engendered anxiety and excessive competition, and the company

    had to adjust its system as a result.” Netessine and Yakubovich, Harvard Business Review
  12. “When teams are forced to go head-to- head with one

    another, women’s creative output goes down. In fact, the more intense the competition, the weaker women perform.” Segran, Fast Company
  13. “[M]ale evaluators penalized female candidates more than male candidates for

    initiating salary negotiations” Bowles, Babcock, and Lai, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
  14. Professor Binns can’t remember anyone’s name, won’t update his lesson

    plans, and doesn’t care that his students are not remotely engaged.
  15. (I know he wasn’t REALLY a Death Eater. But the

    fake Moody got away with that crap for a long time because of the reputation of the real Moody.)
  16. “Besides the direct harm, dysfunction, and disrespect this kind of

    rule-breaking and rudeness causes, when you allow people to get away with it, you’re sending a message that they can get away with outright harassment and assault too.” Aurora, Gardiner, and Honeywell, “No more rock stars: how to stop abuse in tech communities"
  17. “Coaches need to be 100% focused on their learners and

    always be there when needed. Make sure their experience is positive and that they have fun.” Django Girls Coaching Manual
  18. “Get out, get out, I don’t want to see you

    in this office ever again!” Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  19. “What would I get if I added powdered root of

    asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  20. “Longbottom, kindly do not reveal that you can't even perform

    a simple Switching Spell in front of anyone from Durmstrang!” Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  21. “I’d expect first years to be able to deal with

    Red Caps and grindylows.” Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  22. “Wands away, quills out. There will be no need to

    talk.” Professor Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  23. “Far from testing knowledge or competence, Umbridge’s examinations of both

    students and teachers are exercises of pure terrorizing control, intimidating and humiliating.” Wolosky, Children’s Literature in Education
  24. He hated her boyfriend (who was in fact a jerk).

    He called her a racist name. They weren’t friends anymore.
  25. He gets away with it because he’s one of the

    good guys? But then he pretends to be a bad guy? But he’s really good? I guess?
  26. “Harry and his friends create their own classroom as public

    sphere, through which they circumvent censorship, circulate materials, pass messages and ultimately, in the last book, organize an active underground revolt.” Wolosky, Children’s Literature in Education
  27. When they haven’t been meeting for a long time, but

    someone reaches out, many of them respond.
  28. Read the Recurse Center User’s Manual and the Django Girls

    Coaching Manual. Have an enforced Code of Conduct. Image source
  29. Thank you! Special thanks to Rebecca Kindschi, and the Open

    Source Bridge conference committee @laceynwilliams
  30. Aurora, Valerie, Mary Gardiner, and Leigh Honeywell. “No more rock

    stars: how to stop abuse in tech communities.” hypatia dot ca. Bowles, Hannah Riley, Linda Babcock, Lei Lai. “Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Brown, Sarah, Daniel Gray, Jolian McHardy, and Karl Taylor. “Employee trust and workplace performance.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Conference anti-harassment policy. Geek Feminism Wiki. Contributor Covenant. Django Girls Coaching Manual. Llopis, Glenn. “5 Powerful Things Happen When a Leader Is Transparent.” Forbes. Netessine, Serguei, and Valery Yakubovich. “The Darwinian Workplace.” Harvard Business Review. References
  31. Nikolajeva, Maria. Power, Voice and Subjectivity in Literature for Young

    Readers. Nobel, Carmen. “When business competition harms society.” Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. Recurse Center User’s Manual. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter novels. Segran, Elizabeth. “Does Workplace Competition Kill Women’s Creativity?” Fast Company. Wolosky, Shira. “Foucault at School: Discipline, Education and Agency in Harry Potter.” Children’s Literature in Education. References