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Looking at what the DADA classes taught, prior to Barty Couch Jr. taking the position in Harry's fourth year, it seems to me that the class should have been called "Defense against Dangerous Creatures" instead - no matter whether it was taught by evil Quirrell, incompetent Lockhart, or a great DADA teacher Lupin.

Was there a single topic covered in DADA before GoF that had to do with defending against actual Dark Arts as practiced by other wand-bearers?

(Dueling club in CS doesn't count as it was NOT part of DADA class proper).

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    This is based on a really unusual interpretation of what DADA should be for younger students. It seems to me that teaching them to deal with dangerous creatures, basic defensive/offensive spells, and teaching them dueling would be a priority over teaching them to fight against dark wizards. – Gabe Willard Jun 17 '12 at 20:02
  • @GabeWillard - As I said, dueling was NOT part of the curriculum (seeimingly), neither were "basic defensive/offensive spells" other than target-purposed to specific dangerous creatures. Every single lesson I recall was "Defense against Dangerous Creatures" – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 17 '12 at 20:09
  • Are you only allowing the books here or would you consider anything from the video games? – Dason Jun 17 '12 at 20:30
  • @Dason - I'd prefer books, but if the book answer is "no" and VG answer is "yes", it definitely beats just a "no" alone :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 17 '12 at 23:12
  • And the downvote is because? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 17 '12 at 23:13
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TL;DR: Quirrell taught the first years the Curse of the Bogies during Philosopher's Stone. (See Edit)

Well, and this is not very sinister, Lupin specifically taught Waddiwasi to the third years during DADA in Prisoner of Azkaban:

‘This is a useful little spell,’ [Lupin] told the class over his shoulder. ‘Please watch closely.’ He raised the wand to shoulder height, said ‘Waddiwasi!’ and pointed it at Peeves.

With the force of a bullet, the wad of chewing gum shot out of the keyhole and straight down Peeves’s left nostril; he whirled right way up and zoomed away, cursing.

Prisoner of Azkaban - page 100 - Bloomsbury - chapter 7, The Boggart in the Wardrobe

Technically Peeves is not a creature. He's a poltergeist, which means "noisy ghost" in German. Ghosts are classified as "spirits" in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

An exception was made for the ghosts, who asserted that it was insensitive to class them as “beings” when they were so clearly “has-beens.” [Grogan] Stump therefore created the three divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that exist today: the Beast Division, the Being Division, and the Spirit Division.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - page xii - Scholastic - Introduction

I know Snape covered werewolves and how to tell the difference between a ghost and an Inferi the day he took over class for Lupin, who was still transformed. I don't believe spells were involved. There doesn't seem to be any practical application of DADA in Philosopher's Stone or Chamber of Secrets. (See Edit)

Edited to Add: While reading up on the question about Filch and Mrs Norris, I stumbled upon an example of Quirrell having shown the first years a curse in Philosopher's Stone.

Ron looked at his watch and then glared furiously at Hermione and Neville.

‘If either of you get us caught, I’ll never rest until I’ve learnt that Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about and used it on you.’

Hermione opened her mouth, perhaps to tell Ron exactly how to use the Curse of the Bogies, but Harry hissed at her to be quiet and beckoned them all forward.

Philosopher's Stone - pages 117-118 - Bloomsbury - chapter 9, The Midnight Duel

Probably on par with Waddiwasi, but it's a canon reference and does not have to do with creatures.

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    Sorry, but Waddiwasi was not part of the curriculum - it was Lupin having fun at Peeve's expense. And I fail to see how a spell to shoot a chewing gum out of a key hole is relevant to Dark Arts any more than Vingardium Leviosa would be. It's just a general use spell. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 20 '12 at 10:34
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    Well, you didn't say it had to be part of the official curriculum. And a poltergeist is usually considered a malevolent spirit, which we know Peeves is. That said, I realize Waddiwasi isn't exactly along the lines of the Cruciatus curse or Protego. I disagree that it's general use, but I can see your objection to it. :) – Slytherincess Jun 20 '12 at 19:48
  • I added additional information to my answer. :) – Slytherincess Jun 23 '12 at 18:40
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    upon further thought and careful consideration for 1.5 years, I hereby declare my full disagreement with you slanderous accusations against Peeves. He is not malevolent. He is just mischevious. And if you don't agree you better watch out for a wad of gum in your hair. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 31 '14 at 1:54
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    If I recall correctly, Snape didn't teach the students the difference between ghosts and Inferi until Harry's 6th year. When he was subbing for Lupin, he focused only on werewolves. – E. J. Mar 17 '15 at 0:43

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