Hogwarts is a Terrible Learning Environment: Discuss

A session at Open Source Bridge 2016

Thursday 23rd June, 2016

2:30pm to 3:15pm (PST)

Although Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is both fictional and utterly magical, it’s not a great place for a young witch or wizard to learn their trade. For starters, the trust between junior wizards and more senior staff is virtually nonexistent. Juniors don’t feel comfortable or safe going to senior staff with questions and problems, and this results in misunderstandings, dangerous events, and even the death of a beloved character.

The competitive nature of Hogwarts and other wizarding schools virtually guarantees that cooperation between junior witches and wizards will be essentially nonexistent, and the outsized emphasis on testing discourages experimentation and encourages dangerous work habits that threaten the health of junior developers.

There are many specific examples from the books that I’ll dive into, and I’ll point out how these serve as fantastic metaphors for the toxic environments we thrust junior developers into. There’s a better way than what we were taught at Hogwarts!

Even though Hogwarts offers many examples we shouldn’t follow, it also provides some wonderful stories of junior witches and wizards coming together to find ways around the systemic problems that they’re faced with. The journey to find the Sorcerer’s Stone is a really great bit of pair programming, and Dumbledore’s Army offers us an excellent example of a safe and supportive meetup space!

This talk will use Hogwarts as a way to discuss how we can make our professional environments more welcoming to and supportive of junior developers, how we can be better mentors to them, and what it means for a space to be safe for learning.

About the speaker

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Lacey Williams Henschel

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Time 2:30pm3:15pm PST

Date Thu 23rd June 2016

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