QuestionQuestion

Media Viewing:
From the list of school films (or school films of your choice), choose three films to view over the course of the semester (this may include the film from your preview presentation but it does not have to include that film). These films will inform your final paper assignment.

Media Paper (Individual Assignment):
Think about our conversations this semester about schools and consider how the schools in the films are portrayed. With that mindset, write a review of the films that you watched. Cite course texts throughout to justify your thoughts. Don’t forget that the focus of this assignment is on schools, and not on individual “teacher heroes” or “teacher villains” as portrayed in the films. Your final paper should be 1500-1800 words. Please include:
• A heading with your name and the title of your paper
• The word count typed on the last page of the document
• 12 point font
• A hard copy of the paper printed on one side only
Guiding question (These are things to consider as you write, but not required):
• What theme/s from the course emerge as you view and reflect on this film?
• Does the film present an authentic portrayal of schools? How or how not?
• How do the characters’ interactions/relationships contribute to the authenticity of the portrayal of the school? Are the personal relationships portrayed as genuine?
• What is your impression of the overall film and how is that impression visually supported?
• How does the film present a political and/or moral message? Is there any redeeming educational value?

Movie List
1. Akeelah and the Bee
2. Dead Poets Society
3. Election
4. Freedom Writers
5. Ghost World
6. Grease
7. Mean Girls
8. The Ron Clark Story
9. Walkout

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In our society, education has been viewed narrowly, hitherto, associated with achieving degrees and securing a job. It appears that some parents send students to school as a matter of routine, to make their kids literate. On the other hand, schools focus on the mere curriculum based teaching and numeric test results of the students to receive state funding. But, the three movies, Ron Clark Story, Akeelah and the Bee, and Dead Poet’s Society, challenge these prevalent attitudes. These movies explore the multidimensional relationship between the student, family, teachers and the school. They highlight that school are not mere institutions where the kids go to spend time and do rote memorising. Rather, schools are the institutions, like an extended family, to provide a supportive environment, to enhance the potential of the students and set them on the path to achieve their life’s goals. In this context, Vanessa S. Walker in her book, “ Their Highest Potential: An African –American School Community in the Segregated South,” highlights the    familial atmosphere in schools, “where teachers and principal, with parent-like authority, exercised complete autonomy in shaping the student learning.” (1996, p.3)

Ron Clark Story
This is the inspirational story of a white North Carolinian real-life teacher, Ron Clark. In search of a teaching job, he moved to Harlem, New York and the story traces how he makes an impact on the lives of the minority, inner-city students....
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