We would like to pay tribute with these 5 films about education to all the teachers who have done and continue to do their bit to train the professionals of the future. Cinema, throughout its history, has also done so. During the serious health crisis generated by COVID-19, we have been able to see how all the teachers have been on the other side of the screen, attending to the students at almost any time, solving their doubts, motivating them and trying to ensure that the course was not given up for lost.
Education as the basis for the advancement and progress of society
If we look up the term education in the dictionary we can find the RAE definition: “Action and effect of educating; upbringing, teaching and doctrine given to children and young people; instruction by means of teaching action; politeness, civility“. A fairly comprehensive definition, of course, but one that perhaps forgets one thing: the motivation and involvement that these actions imply for teachers. Education is a lifelong process. Through this process we acquire knowledge and values that can be transferred to all areas of our lives. It should not be forgotten, however, that education begins in our immediate environment but that it continues in the educational centres where teachers carry out exemplary work, motivating and setting an example for students. And education, on many occasions, makes use of films.
Films on education to reflect on
The Dead Poets Club (Peter Weir, 1989)
An excellent film that portrays the relationship between teachers and students. The film tells the story of several students studying at the elite Walton Academy and the relationship they establish with the new literature teacher, John Keating(Robin Williams), a former student of the school who, thanks to his avant-garde methods, manages to awaken critical thinking in them and make them reflect on the meaning of life. Gentlemen, learn to appreciate, value and seize the day, carpe diem. The film, set in the late 1950s, portrays very well the traditional educational models, dominated by discipline and family authoritarianism. Dead Poets Club won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Dangerous Minds (John N. Smith, 1995)
Adapted from LouAnne Johnson’s book My Posse Donat Do Homework, the film tells the story of a group of students with serious social problems in an inner-city high school in California. Louanne Johnson(Michelle Pfeiffer), a former Marine with little experience in education, is hired by the school. She soon realises that some of them have a lot of talent, but that it is likely to fall on deaf ears due to the socio-cultural circumstances surrounding them. The protagonist will fight against the rigidity of the school and will use all her strength to get the attention of the students and make them believe in themselves and graduate. An excellent example of education in film. Attention to the soundtrack “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t heard this song
The Wave (Dennis Gansel, 2008)
In a school in Germany, Rainer Wenger, a teacher who is an expert in anarchy, has to give a seminar on autocracy against his will and decides, in order to make the course more interesting, to carry out a pedagogical experiment with his students. In order to demonstrate the effects of living under an authoritarian regime, the professor decides to create a fascist party with his students for a week. The film is based on a school experiment that took place in April 1967 at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California
The Butterfly’s Tongue ( José Luis Cuerda, 1999)
Galicia, 1936. The film, marked by the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, tells the story of Moncho (Manuel Lozano), an eight-year-old boy, and the tender friendship he establishes with his teacher, Don Gregorio (Fernando Fernán Gómez). The latter tries to pass on knowledge and values to his pupils, as well as his love of nature. The film, adapted from a short story by Manuel Rivas, was awarded the Goya for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated in 12 other categories. La Lengua de las mariposas is another magnificent example of the importance of education in film.
The Choirboys ( Christophe Barratier, 2004)
In 1948, Clément Mathieu, an unemployed music teacher, starts working as a caretaker in a strict juvenile detention centre. He soon becomes aware of the repression that the boys are experiencing in the centre and, through music and singing, he manages to reach them, creating a choir in which the boys can escape from their day-to-day life in the boarding school. Attention to the exquisite original soundtrack. The film received two Oscar nominations: Best Original Song and Best Foreign Language Film
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