How Harry Potter’s Magic can Boost a Child’s Confidence and Social Skills

by Tanya Thomas on Sep 13 2008 3:18 PM

The British education system seems to be taking a lot of lessons on popular culture nowadays. After its initiative to introduce “Star Wars” inspired personal development classes for school children, now it’s the turn of Harry Potter. The National Curriculum is considering magic lessons to boost kids' confidence and self-esteem, courtesy the boy-wizard himself!

Prof Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at Hertfordshire University and a leading academician, said that pupils should be taught 'mind reading' card tricks and how to rejoin the ends of a magic rope after it has been cut in two.

The suggestion is based on study, in which he introduced the lessons to two groups of 10 to 12-year-olds.

He said that the classes improved pupils' social skills and confidence levels and is now calling on them to be introduced in all schools.

Wiseman said that the 'magic classes' were more effective then standard classes in personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), which are designed to help children deal responsibly with life issues such as drugs and sex.

"Magic School was far more effective than the existing self esteem and confidence lesson. I think there are all sorts of reasons for this. Learning magic requires self-discipline, an understanding of how other people think, and an ability to entertain. Also, unlike playing computer games, it encourages children to interact with their friends and family," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

He said that learning magic also inflamed children's imagination.

"Magic involves all sorts of principles, primarily misdirection by means of eye contact. Also, you have to reduce suspicion. Thirdly you have to disrupt the memory. Quite often magicians will say things that are not true, like 'remember the cards were shuffled', when they were not," he said.