In the beginning . . .In the early 90s, I was introduced to the movie Teachers by a co-worker. Intrigued
by the numerous topics covered by the film, I began researching published critiques on the production. It
was clear that the movie was not considered a classic and the major criticism was that the script tried to
cover too many topics in too little detail resulting in a superficial presentation of teaching and educational
topics. From my perspective as a teacher, the movie was a clear presentation of teaching. Most teachers
and administrators deal with such a wide variety of topics and assignments within a given day that they
seldom give in-depth attention to any one topic or incident. After a second viewing, I began using the movie
to demonstrate this point. Subsequent viewings allowed me to use to the movie in professional development
and promote cross curricular teaching, parental responsibility for education and a host of other meaningful
topics. Whatever your hat of the day - teachers had a message.
A second film, Hoosiers, continued my conversion to the academic potential of understanding Hollywood's
potential for helping understand and improve modern school community. David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo
wanted to make a basketball movie. Little did they realize at the time, they were creating one of the finest
leadership and teaching movies of our time. Depending on your perspective, the film can have numerous
uses in understanding education. Coach Norm Dale's clearly stated mission and goals are working
demonstrations for any school trying to find its way through the continuous improvement process. His
approach to score verifies that less can mean more in the long run and lessons of how to work in a hostile
environment permeate throughout the entire movie.
The gradual awareness of the value of Hollywood's reels to real education became a hobby of mine and
then a passion resulting in the review and ownership of a large number of films. Research verified that I was
not original in this pursuit (see references and links) and that many others recognized a similar value in
educational movies and almost all movies for their use in education.
This web site is offered as a sharing of my findings and as a link to others who have worked with
the idea. It is also intended to allow assistance in getting started with the idea or using teacher and
education movies. My list of teacher movies is included to save the visitor the numerous hours of research in
locating the titles of the movies. The typical problem page with matching movies is a guide to allow one to
investigate/solve their own problems without direct comment with the belief that the correct movie will cause
the participant to resolve their own conflict. The invitation to send a request (see request form on homepage)
with a description of a topic or problem requesting specific movies or clips is an offer of my experience and
research in the field. Posting the requests and responses will help others who may have similar situations.
The sections on professional development are from my book on mentoring teachers and current research on
principals in the movies. They are intended to provide specific guidance for teachers and principals as
demonstrated in selected movies.
I sincerely hope that those who visit the site will make contributions. If you have a movie or perspective that
does not appear on the site, send us you thoughts and we will post your guidance.
Remember that Hollywood's presentations are not the important factor, it is the perspective that you take to
the movie. If you want to feel good about teaching watch To Sir With Love. If you are looking for gender
bias watch the same movie. Mr. Thackery can make you feel good about the profession but also
demonstrate that boys can certainly get away with more than girls. Also remember that he makes a come
back on this issue in the made for TV move To Sir With Love II. If you want to create a movie
autobiography of your career there probably won't be any one movie to match your progress through
education but a study of presentations will allow you to develop a list of scenes that will help you understand
yourself as an educator..
Relax and enjoy professional development in the privacy of your home for the cost of a rental.
"David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo
wanted to make a basketball movie.
Little did they realize at the time, they
were creating one of the finest leadership/
teaching movies of our time."
|Dr. Apple The Movie Teacher
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