This paper examines self-identifying shy college classroom students. Using social identity theory, identified shy students are studied based on their inclusion in a Hogwarts House from the Harry Potter book series. The purpose of this research is to examine how group identity can cultivate and create a sense of belonging for these students and lead them to academic and personal success. The stories shared by these shy learners reinforce the need and importance of belonging to a social identity group to strengthen an individual's sense of self and personal growth. This study encourages the use of a fictional social group—like the Hogwarts Houses—in teaching pedagogies to create a more engaging and fruitful experience for students and educators. The research design and methodology for this study used an exploratory qualitative semi-structured interview with a phenomenological approach to study how individuals create and cultivate their sense of belonging as a shy college classroom student. The data shows that individuals who self-identify as shy and are then placed within their social identity group were positively affected to be more outgoing, to be more likely to participate, to make new friendships, and to find a support system that provided security, safety, and encouragement for their personal and professional lives. This research suggests a new approach to classroom management and a new pedagogical approach by instituting the Hogwarts Houses as peer groups for any college-level course.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bashfulness -- Education (Higher) -- Students; Group identity -- Education (Higher) -- Students; Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Imaginary organization) -- Education (Higher)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

June Schmieder-Ramirez