Details of Thesis

Title Harry Potter and the Quest for Values: How the boy wizard can assist young people in making choices
Author Lennard, Anthony
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2007
Abstract The Harry Potter series has been a phenomenal publishing success for their author J. K. Rowling. This thesis argues for the use of these books as a worthwhile teaching asset, especially in the promotion of values in our schools. It particularly focuses on the use of these books for Values Education in the curriculum area of Religious Education. While the world continues to change and evolve there are some aspects of our societies that remain unchanged and the power of stories is one of these stable forces. This thesis looks at the importance of stories in teaching our youth about values, especially Christian values. It also provides research on how critics and youth have responded to the stories about Harry Potter through undertaking a review of critical comments and by actually asking young people what they feel about aspects of the novels. Comment is made on what Christian values can be found in the Harry Potter series and how they are shown through the choices characters make. This thesis also looks at how the power to choose is a fundamental basis of Christian religion and that through our choices we live out our humanity. Mention is made of Values Education in both State and Catholic schools and how, in recent years, we have seen increased moves by both Federal and State Governments to instigate Values Education programmes in Australian schools. This study also looked at how curriculum changes in Tasmania, at both State and Catholic levels, encourages the teaching of values through the use of resources that connect with our young people and teaching strategies that encourage higher-order thinking skills. An analysis is also made regarding the connection between the Harry Potter series and the hero journey motif. This connection provides some answers as to why the series is so popular and why our youth feel some connection to the characters in the books.Through research and analysis this thesis found that the Harry Potter series is popular with our youth and that they are connected to the characters in the books and the choices they make. This study also found that the series, through the characters and choices they make, provides itself as a valuable teaching tool because it is able to be used in both secular and Catholic schools regardless of attacks on the books by Christian groups. Studies undertaken indicated that the values presented in the books are compatible with our Australian societal values and that with the use of good teaching strategies the books can assist students in developing their higher-order thinking skills. The Harry Potter series can be used to assist youth in acquiring values that will assist them in their personal development and to help them become useful contributors to our modern world. Through the character of Harry Potter and his experiences students can learn more about themselves and the values they need to overcome those difficulties that they, like all of us, face in life.
Thesis 01front.pdf  17KB
02whole.pdf  3,378KB

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