To begin with, the two movies (Dead Poets Society and Stand and Deliver) are perfect illustrations of the prejudice and stereotype approach that was given to education system in the world, starting from the US to the rest of the world. In brief summary, ‘The Dead Poets Society’ though released in the year 1989 presents to the viewers the education system of the United States during the 1950s when culture and traditions were the standard parameters of human action and behavior. The cornerstone of the movie is the implicit exploration of the non-conventional teaching methods introduced in Welton academy, which do not conform to established standards of the school. It is to be noted that the introduction of the two new teaching methods by John Keating forms the climax of the plot through which other issues are built.
On the other hand, Stand and Deliver film is a renowned 1988 film set in Los Angeles, California. It is a practically true story with approximately 90% reality and only a paltry 10% drama. The film is all about a determined and resilient teacher who converts apathetic students as they were famously referred in the film, to victors in one of the feared exams in the states, calculus. Generally, the film Stand and Deliver as its name suggests is revolutionary film that uses determination and hard work to do what tradition branded undoable.
The two movies, that is, Dead Poets Society and Stand and Deliver have important differences and similarities when viewed critically. For instance, one of the chief similarities in the two films is the fact that a complete overhaul of the education tradition in the two setups was actually pioneered by a single person. Jaime Escalante leads the way in bringing change to the education system in Stand and Deliver film whereas John Keating does it in Dead Poets Society. What this actually means is that change will always start with very few people, like one person and not with a whole mass. Another important similarity in the two films is the influence of environment on individual’s educational achievements. Such environment includes parents, teachers, peers among others. For instance, in the film Dead Poets Society, we see the influence of Neil’s father in choosing educational career. Neil wants to pursue a career in acting while his father convinced by the dictates of the society wanted him to pursue medicine.
Environmental influence is also depicted strongly in the film Stand and Deliver. Actually, Escalante’s students are challenging the usual pattern of things in order to emerge victors. For instance, in Los Angeles during summer, it was not usual to find students working on their academic work. However, with Escalante’s students, they are confronting that life long tradition by being constructively engaged in leaning and unearthing secrets behind theorems and formulas. It is to be recognized that there was general perception of failure in the whole society, more so, in calculus. Such stereotype thought is found to be fundamental in discouraging students from taking such technical courses. There is, therefore, no doubt that environmental influence was an issue in shaping education achievements in both the two films.
In terms of differences, what can be seen in the two movies is on the different weights given to different subjects in school. In the Dead Poets, subjects like arts and culture are lowly prioritized comparing to technical subjects such as engineering or life sciences like medicine. Such unbalanced prioritization is seen in the strained relationship between Neil and his father who preferred medicine to acting. Nevertheless, in the movie Stand and Deliver, the issue is not preference but the spirit of failure in the whole society. It is this spirit of failure, which was responsible for discouraging students from taking lessons on calculus.
Education equity is one issue that seems to be highly violated in both the two films. Welton academy for instance, did not allow equal access to all students of all genders. It was purely preserved for the rich white male students only. Such action violated one of the fundamental principles of education equity, equal access to all. It particularly prohibited female students from accessing the same services as male students. Education equity is also an issue in the movie Stand and Deliver. Poor Latinos,whocould no afford money for better schools, dominated the school Garfield High.. That arrangement is clearly revealed by Escalante who was unable to find computers in the school contrary to his earlier opinion before quitting his job in a software company. It is, therefore, imperative that education equity was an issue in the 1950s education system.
There are two major characters in the two films in general. These are Jaime Escalante and John Keating. Escalante has three major strengths in his characters that are his dutiful, respectful and possessing a great sense of integrity. In terms of duty, we see Escalante embarking on a thorough service of teaching mathematics as opposed to computer, which he was employed to teach. His sense of duty is further compounded by his insistence that students must take summer and Saturday studies in order to be eligible to sit for the Calculus and AP tests. All these illustrate qualities of a dutiful person. Escalante also has a high sense of integrity beyond reproach. He particularly showed this quality by always keeping his superiors being informed of his actions. He informs all the staff, more so, the schools management of his intention to deviate from teaching computer to teaching calculus for reasons well known to all.
In terms of respect, Escalante shows this by putting the safety of all his fellow staff members first when the war broke in the school. His respect for his work and his fellows is further reinforced by his deliberate decision to institute daily quiz that enabled him to provide daily briefing to all interested parties on the progress he was making. The only major weakness that comes out in Escalante’s characters is his inability to involve all fellow staff members appropriately. That is, he lacked deep persuasion skills necessary to convince his fellows that what he was doing was indeed attainable. Despite this weakness, Escalante was an all round dedicated fellow who sought not to convince people by empty rhetoric but by tangible actions and results.
Actually, the movie of Stand and Deliver is a revolution to me as for a future teacher. It has taught me that being a teacher is more than calling just like evangelism. It requires full dedication and the belief that even the poorest students with little or no finance can actually make it in education if they work hard. Dead Poets Society, on the other hand, has given me a new challenge both as a teacher and as one planning to be a parent in future. As a future parent it has taught me that what the children likes is much important than parents demands. I will always give advice to my kids on the different careers and live, it is upon them to make their own choices. This way, I will avoid any potential conflicts with my children.