The History Boys:Education is? EDUC1080 Group Presentation Group 1
Objectives • To analyse the educational philosophies in the film • To relate to nowadays HK society • To rethink the aim of education
Plot summary • (Play)Trailer of History Boys
“The History Boys” is about a boys’ school in the north of England in 1980s. Students are returning to class to prepare for winter entrance examinations to universities.
The boys are passing their A-Levels exam with brilliant results and their sights are set on the prestigious institutions which are Oxford and Cambridge.
Hector sets to prepare the boys with the General Studies course. The headmaster hires Irwin to give some extra polish to the boys and teach them how to succeed on the entrance examination.
Irwin focuses the boy entirely on the exam and teach them techniques which allow them to stand out of the crowd in the exam. While, Hector’s lessons are in preparation for life.
Hector is caught fondling one of the boys. The headmaster agrees to allow Hector to finish the term unless he promises to leave silently and shares some of his class time with Irwin.
The boys take their entrance examinations for Oxford and Cambridge and all of them are granted admission. Hector gives Irwin a lift and the car accident kills Hector.
The boys have their own accomplishments in life. Hector leaves us with a plea “Pass it on, boys…Pass it on.” and the play ends.
Who are the history boys? • (Play)Beginning of History Boys
Whoare they? • Boys from Sheffield (a not very rich place) • 8 Elites of the school • Aimed (by Principal) to enter Oxbridge • Extra term for preparation • Meaning? • Are they specially taught for promoting to higher education and elite roles? Yes
What gets taught? • History knowledge (subject matter) • General studies • Exam and interview strategies • Impress Oxbridge interviewers Things taught are for: • Preparing them to be the dominant people in society
Profile – The principal & P.E Teacher • Principal of the Boy’s Grammar School In Sheffield • Acid to the students and teachers • Conservative • The P.E teacher , Wilkes • Little bit racist • Religious • Strict to students
Their role in education The Principal P.E. Teacher One who imposes requires all the students to have P.E lesson (no matter they get a doctor’s note) • Business-minded • It’s a business! • Believed only outcome • Utilitarianism
The Principal – his perspective? • Principal asking the boys summer jobs
P.E. Teacher – his perspective? • (Play)Boys having P.E. Lesson
Their aim of education Principal P.E. Teacher A To let the students become good athletes B To develop each individual's abilities in order to better serve higher power C To fulfill his duty A To gain reputation for the school B To help students to acquire knowledge C To help student reach for perfection and be a talent in the society
Philosophical perspectives Pragmatism • Principal : • Hire Mr. Irwin as provisional teacher • Demand the students have extra elite class • Ask Hector to put the date of retirement forward • Keep asking of the students progress , unlike the teaching method of Hector • Resentment on student’s part-time job * All these are for pushing students to get into great universities-> have fame
Philosophical perspective PE Teacher Idealism • Human growth is a process of spiritual unfolding of innate power • Goal: to seek higher ideals • Failure of the fat students disappointment of himself as well as god
What is Mrs. Lintott’sbelief? Raise an example from this clip • (Play)Boys having Lintott’s History Class
Profile – Mrs. Lintott • The only female teacher • Motherly caring • For their knowledge • For their future • Knowledgeable & • Respectful • Of her students’ background
Her role in education • To impose knowledge • Students will be able to master history when they recite it • Know all facts • Even backwards “Fact,fact,fact.”
Her aim of education • What do you think about Mrs. Lintott? • Only subject matter? • Or also future path? • She is a teacher cares: • Academic success • Career future • How the students feel
What is her philosophical perspective? Realism • Emphasises on the subject matter of the world • Content based • With criteria • Mastery of facts through recitation • Character developed • through training in the rules of conduct
Irwin – What is his focus? • Boys and Irwin discussing The First World War
Profile – Irwin • Hired for exam • Well-educated (?) • Non-conservative
His role in education • For exam • Equip students with skills to take the exam • Facilitator • Seldom teaches knowledge. Instead urges students to think
His aim of education • What do you think about Irwin? • Is knowledge important? • Or just the exam? • He cares: • Essay skills • Exam results
What is his philosophical perspective? Pragmatic • Emphasises essay skills • Skills based • Exam-oriented
Hector – What and how does he teach? • (Play)Hector having Poetry discussion with Boys
Profile – Hector • Knowledgeable • Poetry-loving • Non-conservative
His role in education • Life teacher • Teach poems of immense value • Facilitator • Utilises different methods to facilitate students’ learning
His aim of education • What do you think about Hector? • Is exam his focus? • What does he teach? • He cares: • Knowledge for life • Students’ feelings
What is his philosophical perspective? Idealist • Attempts to teach many great poems • Hopes students to learn for life - “All knowledge is precious, whether or not it serves the slightest human use."
What is his philosophical perspective? Post-modernist • Non-conservative teaching methods - e.g. roleplay • Facilitator
Irwin vs Hector Homosexual • open vs hidden • Consequences faced
Irwin vs Hector Fate • Hector (idealism) dead vs • Irwin (Pragmaticsm) alive
In Hector’s classroom • Good use of teaching strategy: role playing • Encourage students • Creativity↑ • Learning via playing a part vicarious feeling with the poet • Students’ comments : enrich their lives
In Irwin’s classroom • Exam oriented • Deny the use of role playing to learn • Facts and description as the exam strategy in History examination • Student’ comments: useful (as the A-level is coming)
Philosophical beliefs Hector Irwin Pragmatism Knowledge is not certain Truth is not important Cater for exam Their answers’ styles Postmodernism • Learn from past intellectuals • Human constructions based on experience • Question the rules
Hector Irwin Essays discussion Open-ended Nothing is absolutely correct Encourage students to think reversely for impressing the interviewer • Drama, Poetry, French • NOT related to exam syllabus • Learn knowledge for life
Irwin VS Hector • From the treatment of the teachers, • e.g. the conflicts between teachers' philosophies, the ending of some dominant teachers • The film’s sending a message: • Whether learning is for life or passing exams?
Irwin VS Hector Hector understand life better humanism Irwin serve the interest of examiner Society: exam-oriented Irwin is preferred Discussion: Which one do you PREFFER? Which philosophy should be adopted in education field?
Furthermore • An extra semester training Oxford/ Cambridge • Principal: exam brings success—reputation, better occupation, etc