« The Importance of Music | Main | My Music Progression »

The Movies

Movies have the power to inform, entertain and contribute to quality discussions and reflections. They take us to a world outside of ourselves and have the ability to persuade, heal and motivate...

It is obvious that I find them entertaining and powerful. I believe that movies that depict teaching do motivate some into the profession, as well as inspire current teachers to improve and become rejuvenated. This is what the article in Education World argues. (http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin156.shtml) However, I think there are major faults and downfalls as well. The main character is often someone who has no experience in the field, but somehow sweeps in and saves the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching them too, for this is what we want to spend two hours watching. While I love the main ideas; that we as teachers really can make a difference, and the extreme importance of teachers in our lives, I just find them unrealistic. I also realize that with only two hours, it would be very hard to make a movie about the teaching profession realistic and entertaining. If movies have become the way that the public views “good education,? there are some ironies going on. Then, good education would be when the teachers would create a band by rehearsing all day every day, or by having hours every day to really get to know each student, by going to their houses to talk to their families and to help out during their hard times. However, “good education? is judged by test scores; which then dictates funding, so therefore schools are forced to use cheaper models giving secondary teachers 180 students to “get to know? each day. In addition, schools are having to cut language programs, after school programs and many times music and art education all together. Maybe people working in government who make all of the educational decisions should watch some of these movies to see what’s really important….if that is what the public is viewing as good education.
Referencing the quote from Shannon and Crawford (1998) in the class syllabus, I don’t think you would ever be able to portray a real and complete “perspective on the complex nature of teaching,? during a two hour movie, or even a documentary. So, if movie makers are having to chose what type of teaching movie to make, why not have ones that make us out to be heros? Maybe because it’s not quite as easy as the actors make it seem. Sure, they always go through their few days of crying after work, and then their few hours when they decide they just can’t go through with it and are going to give up, but then a student provokes a hope in them that keeps them going…..and surprisingly enough that next day all the tides change and the entire class comes together to make some special happen. That’s called writing a good story, right? And at the core, it’s true. The most important part of becoming a good teacher is the relationship that you have with your students. It’s just not usually as dramatic, eventful and as obvious as it is in the movies.
School of Rock is your typical “teaching movie.? Jack Black is a wannabe rocker, who just happens upon a substitute teaching gig. He then transforms the class into a rock band. Somehow throughout the few weeks that he is teaching, no one notices that this is all the class is working towards. Sure, the students are already excellent musicians, who also all happen to be perfectly behaved even when no adult is supervising…but Jack Black was still the guy to put it all together. When the principal and parents find out they are outraged, until 15 minutes later they come across the concert and are suddenly awed, thrilled and proud. Suddenly he is a brilliant teacher, who has saved their children. Here are the movies’ good points: It is entertaining, Jack Black is a funny guy and the kids really are good musicians. It also reminds us all that kids do need things in their life other than core subject school work, and that when music is involved everyone in the class has something to contribute. Considering pop music, Jack Black does assume that rock is everything, and cannot believe that the students do not know some of the “premier? rock artists. He spends time educating them about rock history – the different types of rock and the artists that followed. However, he also has a realization that maybe the students have their own ideas as to what pop music is, and by the end it’s the students who are writing the songs and singing the solos. Jack Black’s values in the movie are questioned because he takes his roomate’s name and job, as he is not a “real? teacher. By the end of the movie he apologizes to the parents and explains that he truly loves their children. The other part that I enjoy about the movie is that he talks about what makes music “good.? He talks about the important of feeling it inside, and the definition of good rock music is if you the performer are “rocking out? and enjoying it; that it will never be perfect. I think these are the best things about incorporating music into education and that the film does well to portray this idea. The students who did not have friends or talent at the beginning of the movie show their new found confidence towards the end. Popular music can speak to many different children in many different, personal ways. It truly impacts society; whether it’s positive or negative is however it’s personally viewd, but by keeping an open mind, its experience will always be positive for someone involved. Even out of negativity can come successful conversations and the possibility of personal and societal growth.
Music has the ability to communicate across peer groups and allows people of all ages to regain confidence in different parts of their lives, to feel important and to enrich their lives. So, Rock On!
School of Rock Preview