Teacher Leadership, Hollywood Style
As a part of a recent undergraduate course in teacher leadership, I asked my students to view and analyze one of the legion of American motion pictures which take place in a school setting. I let them have free reign to choose any film, with the primary requirement being that they were able to apply one of the many possible definitions of teacher leadership to the film’s protagonist.
I also asked them to analyze the formal organizational structure of the school depicted in their movie of choice and describe its ability to stimulate (or stifle) teacher leadership.
Once I gave the assignment, I was not surprised to find many of my students selecting the old stand-bys, the films that we all think of when we reflect on Hollywood’s representation of teachers. Many of these films are the same ones identified by members of the Teacher Leaders Network in our Top 10 teacher-movie list published here in October : Lean on Me (1989), Freedom Writers (2007), Stand and Deliver (1988), Dangerous Minds (1995), and Dead Poets Society (1989). The students who chose these familiar movies did an excellent job of analyzing them, noting many of the same characteristics...
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