I am not sure I agree with this review of the movie. When I saw The Class it really illustrated to me the incredible complexities of schools and classrooms today, and made me reflect a lot on my own pre-collegiate education. Now obviously one such complexity is multi-culturalism, and because Bowman has an agenda that is the one he chose.But the movie is also really examines the structures of discipline and hierarchy, which make any genuine relationships between students and teacher impossible. And many other things.I came away thinking that no educational reforms, and certainly not those endorsed by Bowman, could solve the issues in that classroom.
Bowman doesn't really endorse any reforms, he agrees that there is no way out of the mess--"The pathos that lies in this dawning recognition of the principal character of his own self-contradiction, together with that of his helplessness to do anything about it, constitutes the great virtue of the movie. There is an almost tragic sense of pity and terror in seeing him reduced to such helplessness." He also says multiculturalism is the problem, but what he describes is not really a problem of multiculturalism, but of inconsistently applied discipline and the surrender of authority by adults. I think his sequence of events is right--first Marin cedes a little authority to his students in the name of his ill-conceived flexibility and egalitarianism (when he concedes to the demand to write his name too), and it seems innocuous enough. But then it gives way to ever increasing loss of authority over the students until he provokes the fight in class by calling the girls "skanks" and refusing to accept responsibility for the error. By trying to be his students' friend instead of taking up authority, he becomes, as the history teacher who loves the rules points out, an arbitrary tyrant. The students' ethnic backgrounds, at least what we learn of them through the parent conferences, actually would support Marin's authority in class--they want the school to have higher standards and they want their children to be disciplined. He just thinks they're backwards. What do you mean a "genuine relationship"? Why would a hierarchical relationship be un-genuine?
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