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The History Boys: Education is?

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  1. The History Boys:Education is? EDUC1080 Group Presentation Group 1

  2. Content

  3. Objectives • To analyse the educational philosophies in the film • To relate to nowadays HK society • To rethink the aim of education

  4. Plot summary • (Play)Trailer of History Boys

  5. “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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. General Discussion

  13. Who are the history boys? • (Play)Beginning of History Boys

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Character analysis

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. The Principal – his perspective? • Principal asking the boys summer jobs

  20. P.E. Teacher – his perspective? • (Play)Boys having P.E. Lesson

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. What is Mrs. Lintott’sbelief? Raise an example from this clip • (Play)Boys having Lintott’s History Class

  25. Profile – Mrs. Lintott • The only female teacher • Motherly caring • For their knowledge • For their future • Knowledgeable & • Respectful • Of her students’ background

  26. 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.”

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. Irwin – What is his focus? • Boys and Irwin discussing The First World War

  30. Profile – Irwin • Hired for exam • Well-educated (?) • Non-conservative

  31. His role in education • For exam • Equip students with skills to take the exam • Facilitator • Seldom teaches knowledge. Instead urges students to think

  32. His aim of education • What do you think about Irwin? • Is knowledge important? • Or just the exam? • He cares: • Essay skills • Exam results

  33. What is his philosophical perspective? Pragmatic • Emphasises essay skills • Skills based • Exam-oriented

  34. Hector – What and how does he teach? • (Play)Hector having Poetry discussion with Boys

  35. Profile – Hector • Knowledgeable • Poetry-loving • Non-conservative

  36. His role in education • Life teacher • Teach poems of immense value • Facilitator • Utilises different methods to facilitate students’ learning

  37. 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

  38. 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."

  39. What is his philosophical perspective? Post-modernist • Non-conservative teaching methods - e.g. roleplay • Facilitator

  40. Irwin vs Hector Homosexual • open vs hidden • Consequences faced

  41. Irwin vs Hector Fate • Hector (idealism) dead vs • Irwin (Pragmaticsm) alive

  42. Messages from the film?

  43. 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

  44. 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)

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. Is Irwin a better teacher?

  48. 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?

  49. 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?

  50. Furthermore • An extra semester  training  Oxford/ Cambridge • Principal: exam brings success—reputation, better occupation, etc