School of Rock

The boys have really been getting into The school of rock.

They seem to be enjoying it so much, Maria and I are thinking that maybe we should have let them watch it at the beginning of the year. They’re engaged, they respond to discussion, they’re making connections – bliss. Or maybe it’s just that all our hard work – trying to awaken their powers of observation, to encourage them to think critically and creatively – maybe the fruits of our labours have finally started to come through.

I was thinking that the boys have been raised on media – it’s not really surprising, on the one hand, that they are in tune with the interpretation of visual clues. However, watching lots of TV and film does not necessarily produce critical analysis. This is where I’m hoping that we’ve had some influence in gently prodding (what am I talking about! pushing from behind!) the boys into a way of thinking and responding. Or just having guided discussion so often that it becomes a mindset.

To me, this is literacy. Doesn’t matter if they’re reading a book, watching a film, reading a graphic novel or listening to music – being able to talk about what you’ve observed and the reasons for your thinking is what literacy is about.

Following our discussions throughout the viewing of the film, we’ve put up a few questions onto the ning – the same ones we’ve talked about – as a way of consolidating the discussion, and allowing the boys to formulate these ideas into their own words. These are just short answers, but the idea is to provide regular time for sustained responses.

It’s also important for them to feel a sense of community by reading their colleagues’ responses and respond to these. As I’ve said before, in this way, they’re not writing for the teacher alone, they’re writing for each other.

These are our initial questions:

List some of the stereotypes represented in the film. What message about body image do you get from the film? Which characters have a problem with body image? Why do you think that is?

Dewey has an unusual style of ‘teaching’. What do Dewey’s students learn from him?

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