The Dead Poets Society

Culture is something we are surrounded by, it is something so diverse that just one individual can be a part of many different cultures. Culture can help influence you as a person and adapt your personality.

Within this task we were asked to watch three different scenes of a film called ‘Dead Poets Society‘. This is based in the late 80’s and the main star is Robin Williams who plays the role of Mr Keating, a teacher who thinks outside the box and rebels against the school rules with his teaching methods.

Scene 1 (Start 0:00.15 – Stop 0:04:08 – 4 minutes)

This is the opening scene of the film where it sets the picture of the school structure and the expected behaviours, from both the pupils and the teachers. Everyone within the scene is smartly dressed and well-spoke, highlighting that this school is a well respected one with high expectations. With the walls being bare and very dull, minimal decoration, demonstrated the school not being about colour and fun but about learning and discipline. Which leads me on to the event of scene one. It is the opening ceremony of the upcoming students and from the beginning they are drilled with the schools expectations, these being; tradition, honour, discipline and expectations. With current students walking down the pew of the church holding flags which have these statements on, the students are then directed to stand up and shout the four words, ensuring that they have not only seen them but heard them too, highlighting structure from the beginning.

Scene 2 (Start 0:10:08 – Stop 0:11:58 – 2 minutes)

This scene highlights the different teaching styles within the school, all of which seem to follow a similar pattern. This is a strict discipline style of; ‘repeat after me’, ‘read from this book’, ‘speak when spoken to’ kind of environment. This will have a positive influence upon the teenagers within their later lives when it comes to moving on to higher education and entering their first professional role, as they will be aware of what is expected from them. On the controversy, it does not allow the pupils much room for expanding their personality and preparing them for environments that are not in professional form. Until, Mr Keating enters the room, whistling. Shock and confuse is displayed across all the pupils faces as it is something that is out of the ordinary within that type of environment. The pupils have gone through the school under strict rules, with teachers making sure pupils do exactly what it said by themselves, this is shown as soon as Mr Keating enters the room. Silence is echoed within the classroom and the only actions that are displayed through the pupils is what Mr Keating tell them to do, although he just expected them to do it without any prompting.

Scene 3 (Start 0:10:08 – Stop 0:11:58 – 2 minutes)

This scene begins with Mr Keating asking a pupil to read from the book, whilst he makes notes on the board, something that the pupils do in most lessons. This is displayed through their expressions as a lack of interest is portrayed, from the boy staring aimlessly out of the window to the boy eating snacks from under the table. The culture of the boys lessons then makes a change as Mr Keating asks them to rip out a chapter of a book, which soon grabs the attention of those who were not interested. Each pupil, apart from a couple who thrived of the rebellion, were reluctant to do so. Whilst this is taking place a former teacher bursts into the room with anger written all over his face due to the tasks being performed from the boys, once realised that a teacher is supervising he leaves in confusion. This demonstrates the clash of the culture of the two different teaching styles, with one teacher instructing the odd task and the other teacher red in the face at the idea of it. Later within the scene, Mr Keating gets down onto his knees and makes the pupils gather around him so they are looking down on him while he is talking, every pupil was engaged and listening thoroughly. This highlights the difference within engagement from the teacher styles at the beginning of scene two to Mr Keating’s.

Mr Keating creates culture change as he is thinking outside the box with his teaching styles, however it seems to work as all pupils are merely engaged to what he has to say, rather than displaying the attitude of ‘I’m here because I have to be’. The merge of the two different organisational cultures may form confusion with how the pupils will behave with the other teachers, especially those who are first starting within the school. What they get away doing with Mr Keating does not mean they will get away doing with the other teachers, causing a conflict within their behaviours.

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