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/r/hp/: I think Snape was actually very good at teaching

Discussion in 'The Humor Mill' started by James, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    First lesson with McGonagall, from Philosopher's Stone:

    So at least she starts with theory, and then proceeds to the practical part, and then gives positive feedback for partially successful result. True, we don't see her teaching and she could have just revealed writing on the board for the students to copy down, but somehow I don't think that's the case.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  2. afrojack

    afrojack Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    It makes sense that he wouldn't be a good teacher though, since he's not really even qualified to have been a school teacher. That always struck me as one of Dumbledore's strangest decisions.

    "Hmmm, so you're an ex-terrorist with no social skills and a chip the size of a mountain on your shoulder? Got it! We've been looking for a teacher to handle adolescents while they work with potentially lethal substances!"
     
  3. Red Aviary

    Red Aviary Hogdorinclawpuff Prestige DLP Supporter

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    In Hogwarts, it seems like teachers that want to be positive and engaging with their students do that as a bonus, not as a requirement. Snape gives all the information students need, either on the board or in the book. He doesn't actively sabotage anyone, like giving the wrong instructions (at least from what I remember). And in the end even a chronic fuckup like Neville seems to pass his class. Actually I don't remember hearing about anyone failing Potions, just not going on to NEWT levels.

    Seems like Snape does a fine job, really. I don't think I'd like him, but you don't have to like your teachers, you just have to pass their class, and as long as you put in a decent effort it seems like Potions is definitely passable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  4. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    The fact that people pass their Potions OWLs despite Snape's lack of teaching really devalues potions as a subject. Apparently it's just cooking, and anyone capable of following directions to the letter can do it. Better leave it to the elves, then.

    True art of potions should then be in experimentation and coming up with new potions, something Snape doesn't teach at all, given Hermione's reaction to the altered recipes in HBP.
     
  5. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    That sort of experimentation might be a bit beyond the scope of the first couple years of Hogwarts education, though. You presumably have the learn the basics of potionmaking first.

    Though that does incline me to echo a comment earlier in the thread: Snape would probably work a lot better teaching more advanced and older students. He'd probably enjoy advanced material a lot more than teaching little kids the basics, and older students would generally have thicker skins to be able to handle his personality.
     
  6. MsCalypso

    MsCalypso First Year

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    I think that while most of the "good" teachers at Hogwarts are all rather inductive in their teaching styles, Snape has always been a "Ill throw you in the cauldron and you better learn how to swim" kind of teacher (I'll admit, not one of my best analogies). Once you show promise, I think he would pay attention to you because - well - he likes Potions. Like mentioned quite a few times in this thread, that doesn't necessarily make him a good teacher. But it does work for some pupils. There is this huge discussion on what teaching style is the best in teaching these days, but it basically comes down to what you want to achieve.
    That said, I don't think I could function with Snape as a teacher or colleague for that matter.
     
  7. Corian

    Corian Squib

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    I think Snape is just one of those teachers who was naturally good at the subject himself and so assumes that anyone who struggles is just a bad student. Case in point, when Neville's cauldron explodes in their first lesson. The fact that their first potion is something that can explode and melt a cauldron just by not turning the heat down makes Snape's hands off teaching seem downright negligent, especially given his blame of everyone but himself for the incident.
     
  8. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    ... yes, but Neville was a bad student. I mean, bullying or no, but Neville's got to be one of the least suited persons ever to brew potions.

    As for the other thing, that's part of the Hogwarts discussion we had some time ago -- as long as the damage is easily reversible, it's apparently not a big deal.
     
  9. Red Aviary

    Red Aviary Hogdorinclawpuff Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Thinking on it again, maybe my last post was more suited for advanced students than eleven and twelve year-olds. But I guess the thing with Snape is that Rowling needed him to be an active teacher to Harry as a First Year to make him a believable red herring.
     
  10. James

    James Professor

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    That's not a good belief even in a random person, but in teacher it's outright stupidity.

    Well, he was, but theoretically, he should be better — he basically knows half of the source material (the flora) by heart. But then again, that's only an assumption.

    ---

    I also think that considering Snape as a teacher should be based only his ability to teach, not his knowledge and/or passion, and that's where he quite fails, I think, because nobody can deny that he is one petty twisted genius in potions and DA/DADA.
     
  11. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    "theoretically" being the key word :p

    There's a lot of people whose mind I'd pick any time regarding whatever problem's theory, but who I'd like to stay far, far away from monster-lasers, high-voltage access and whatever else to potentially kill yourself with in our experiment labs.


    It's like I said, though -- the argument probably could be made that it's his job to teach even "dunderheads", so if he fails at that, he fails at his job (if you accept this kind of responsibility-chain as a general notion -- the supervisor being responsible for the fuck-ups of his workers). That doesn't change the fact that the actual teaching experience can vary wildly depending on the student, of course.
     
  12. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Not to mention the fact that Snape decided Neville was a lost cause on the very first day of class, without even trying to help him get better. When a teacher sees a student struggling, they're usually supposed to at least try to find out what the problem is and help them solve it.

    Snape's behavior with Neville is especially damning considering the fact that the later books in series indicate that Neville's biggest problem was a lack of self-confidence. It's probably no coincidence that the guy with confidence issues does terribly in the class where his instructor regularly insults and belittles him.
     
  13. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    After he proved that he couldn't follow directions written on a board, yeah. That above wasn't meant to be an excuse for Neville at all. Neville was bad before Snape was nasty -- fucking up the most simple, very first potion so badly your cauldron explodes melts is some special kind of ineptitude.

    My point was only that Snape gets paid to teach even idiots, so it's his problem that Neville fucks up, or it should be, if that responsibility chain is valid.
     
  14. Iztiak

    Iztiak Heir

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    You have to admit though, they're eleven at that point.

    If I taught eleven year olds, wrote some instructions on a board, and then when half of them inevitably fucked up, I wrote them off as retards and refused to help them with anything for the rest of their time at school...
     
  15. Evan Tide

    Evan Tide Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Depends on how complicated those directions are.
     
  16. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Leaving the didactic merit of Snape's teaching methods aside, I can't say much for his pedagogical skills. The first lesson is... iffy, what with 'Idiot boy!' and his snide remarks re: Harry not opening a book and Neville's cauldron being Harry's fault, and I don't think it gets better from there.

    The two best examples are those of Snape outright insulting a pupil. "Insufferable know-it-all" cannot be construed positively in any way, shape, or form with the context, even if Hermione is a teacher's pet caricature in that scene. Try that in real life and at best you lose the entire class (i.e. what happens in PoA as well), while at worst it gets you a nice little chat with management. Another example of this is GoF's "I see no difference" when Hermione's teeth are past her collar.

    These are not moments of weakness in which Snape blurts something he didn't mean to. (I.e. a more combative/insulting Snape is to be expected after Harry maims Draco in HBP, or when faced with the fact that Sirius got away.) Either Snape has a not-working or selective brain-mouth filter, or he uttered these items on purpose. Given his secondary profession, I think the odds of the former explanation are very long indeed.

    Snape's lack of pedagogical rapport with pretty much every non-Slytherin pupil is a huge factor in the Occlumency tutoring failing to work. Any individual tutoring is only going to work if tutor and tutee have enough of a rapport or are able to set aside bad feelings long enough. Harry in OotP couldn't do the latter, and the former was poisoned from the get-go. Whether or not Snape's didactic approach for teaching Harry Occlumency was good or not - and fanon certainly runs with this - is irrelevant in this respect.
     
  17. Idiot Rocker

    Idiot Rocker Auror

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    I always felt like Snape would've been a fine teacher provided he wasn't working with 11-year-olds. Slughorn, on the other hand, would do great as a primary instructor for kids under something like year five.

    Roping Snape off behind a class line, where students have to actually choose potions with him, would have improved matters. He would still been an insufferable ass, but people would know what they were getting into. One of the reasons we hate Snape so much is because he's unreasonably mean to kids. His expectations are astronomical and not really targeted at any particular age bracket. He could actually be someone that you respect a little if it was your choice to work with him.

    He'd still probably fail half the class, but they'd all pass their OWLs and NEWTs fine.

    Unless you're Harry Potter. Then you're just screwed either way.