portrayed in film, an interesting underlying trend emerged: the critical
analysis of each classroom in these mediums tends to consistently focus
on the role of the teacher. When reflecting on personal experience in
the classroom, my teachers are the clear driving force behind both the
positive and the negative memories that have left a lasting impression
on my life. Similarly, when exploring film analyses of productions
focused on the student-teacher relationship and subsequent
interactions, the interpretations and conclusions drawn by scholars
attempt to shed light on some new aspect of the dynamic teacher figure.
As a result, the existing literature on teachers in the movies focuses
heavily on paradigms oriented toward both established and new
teachers. Despite the importance of examining the diverse role of the
teacher in film, it would be an injustice to look past a critical component
of every learning environment: the students.
Just as there is a dominant paradigm in Hollywood films for
depicting teacher characters, students are lumped into categories of
struggling or superlative based on their mental health and academic
ability. Furthermore, the student category is linked to the type of
relationship those students will have with their teachers. In the
subsequent examination of teacher films, it is evident that when flipping
the traditional process for examining student-teacher relationships from
the teacher-focused approach to the student-centered lens, clear student
archetypes emerge that reveal consistent relationships between these
groups of identified students and variations of the good, and
occasionally bad, teacher. In order to effectively utilize all of the
arguments curated by scholars about various teacher paradigms in a
meaningful way, it is necessary to study these student characterizations
to further enhance the teacher paradigms as they reveal important
overarching trends in student-teacher relationships. The reveal of this
diverse range of relationships will be an important way to critique and
improve the structure of America’s current education system.
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