learning these skills can be more important than learning the traditional
sciences, math, English, art, and history. This movie is definitely a
comedy, and the film mocks elements of the teaching profession, like
teaching philosophies, strict standardization, and curricular approaches,
but it valorizes true education and lasting lessons shared between a
teacher and students when they engage in authentic learning together.
One interesting discussion between Finn and the other teachers occurs
during the lunch break one day when one of the other teachers asks,
“Which test do you find the most effective? The TASS or the Wilson
Binet?” Finn responds, “I say no testing, and I will tell you why. I
believe that the children are the future. Now listen, you can teach them
well, but, buddy, you have got to let them lead the way. Let the
children’s laughter just remind us how we used to be.” This is a great
line by Finn drawing on lyrics from popular songs in a fitting way
and another example of how he challenges the standardization of the
school system that so heavily relies on testing and grades to give
students a sense of success and worth.
There is an important turning point in the film when Finn
challenges conformity. The students are originally confused by his
methods of teaching because they are so erratic, but when he realizes
they play music, he changes his teaching style and becomes an engaged
teacher and the students adapt to his unconventional teaching ways.
One example of the mockery of teaching is when Dewey Finn rips the
gold star chart to shreds. This is a commonly used tool in the classroom
where students are rewarded with a gold star for completing an
assignment or being on good behavior. He says, “As long as I’m here,
there will be no grades or gold stars or demerits. We’re going to have
recess all the time.” By doing this, Finn is breaking the standardization
of schooling with an overtly symbolic act that has lasting repercussions
for the students.
The best part of the film School of Rock, for me, is seeing Finn’s
transformation and how he is able to connect with and teach his
students without having any formal training in education. I like this part
because it breaks away from the standardization of education, which is
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