A week ago, I was treated to a wonderful Facebook post that had 10 Real High School Detention Slips That Will Make You LOL. The one that truly made me laugh was the slip that gave the detention reason: "Calling a teacher a muggle".
My initial chuckle was of course due to the wonderful Harry Potter reference. (FYI: In Harry's world, there are magical people- i.e Wizards, and of course non-magical people- Muggles)
While I certainly don't know the details behind the detention slip, and I'm not condoning inappropriate comments towards a teacher, I think there may be a deeper meaning to the student's reference.
I think its safe to say, that with the rapid advance of technology, our students and children are immersing themselves much quicker and easier than their parents and teachers. This has been framed by Marc Prensky as the Digital Immigrant vs. Digital Native dynamic. Yet, I'm thinking the Wizard's vs. Muggles reference may be more descriptive as an illustration of our students/teachers and the ever widening gap between students use and beliefs in technology compared to teachers/ parents.
Perhaps the muggle term was said in frustration over the inability of our education establishment to understand the true empowering aspects of the technology renaissance that is around them. Think back to the fictional Harry Potter as he has to live among Muggles for his summer vacation. Remember his frustration with his Uncle Vernon and cousin Dudley, who intentionally demean Harry, knowing fully that Harry has magical powers. Harry has to constantly hide his desire to use magic in order to fit into this rigid culture of the Muggle life.
Don't you think that our students are feeling this same disconnect and frustration? When they get home, many have access to an amazing array of technology tools that are forbidden in school.
Great literature can be entertaining, but its true value is to give us deeper meaning to our lives. I think Harry Potter has something to tell us. Are we listening?