Teachers and Teaching on Stage and on Screen (Book)

Dramatic Depictions

Portrayals of teachers in stage plays and films abound. This edited anthology brings together scholars in education to seriously reflect upon portrayals of teachers and teaching in theatre and film.


Why are educators and their profession the focus of so much film and theatre? Diane Conrad and Monica Prendergast bring together scholars and practitioners in education, examining dramatic portrayals of teachers and teaching to answer this very question. Films such as Freedom Writers, Bad Teacher and School of Rock, to name a few, intentionally or inadvertently comment on education and influence the opinions and, ultimately, the experiences of anyone who has taught or been taught. The chapters gathered in this collection critique the Hollywood 'good teacher' repertoire, delve into satiric parodies and alternative representations and explore issues through analyses of independent and popular films and plays from around the world. By examining teacher-student relationships, institutional cultures, societal influences and much more, Teachers and Teaching on Stage and on Screen addresses these media’s varied fascinations with the educator like no collection before it.

Diane Conrad is professor of drama and theatre education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Monica Prendergast is professor of drama and theatre education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

Part I: Teacher Reflections/Reflections on Teachers

Chapter 1: Three Perspectives on Freedom Writers: Considering Teaching Across the Career Span by Jaime L. Beck

Chapter 2: Characteristics of a Successful Learner Applied to Why Shoot The Teacher? by Phil Duchene

Chapter 3: The Roles We 'Were Born to Fill': Thinking about Performing Teaching with Mona Lisa Smile by Dorothy Morrissey

Chapter 4: A Curriculum of Diversity in Monsieur Lazhar by Jenny Osorio

Chapter 5: Laughing to Learn: Irony in Election by Carl Leggo and Claire Ahn

Part II: Teachers as Heroes or Antiheros

Chapter 6: The Light and Dark Archetypes of Teachers: What Can Matilda Tell us about Teacher Identity? by Angelina Ambrosetti

Chapter 7: The Problem with Mr. Holland: The Portrayal of Music Teachers in Film – Mr. Holland’s Opus by Nancy Curry and Jeffrey Curry

Chapter 8: The Politics of Representation of Pedagogues in Nollywood: A Critical Analysis of Somewhere in Africa: The Cries of Humanity by Taiwo Afolabi and Stephen Okpadah

Chapter 9: An Unlikely Revolution: Portrayals of Teaching in Strictly Ballroom by Anita Hallewas

Chapter 10: Good Teacher/Bad Teacher…Is that all we are? by Patricia Jagger

Part III: Pedagogies/Pedagogical Moments

Chapter 11: O Brave New World? The Role of Arts Education as presented in the film Hunky Dory by Claire Coleman and Jane Luton

Chapter 12: “You’re not Hardcore, unless you Live Hardcore”: Exploring Pedagogical Encounters in School of Rock by Mitchell McLarnon

Chapter 13: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the Pedagogy of Misdirection by Matthew Krehl Edward Thomas and Bernadette Walker-Gibbs

Chapter 14: Playfulness, Relationships, and Worldviews: Indigenous Pedagogy and Conrack by Matthew “Gus” Gusul

Chapter 15: Bill and Ted’s Assessable Adventure: A Frame Analysis of Assessment Representations in Popular Culture – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure by Rachael Jacobs 

Part IV: Ethics and Desire in Teaching

Chapter 16: Teaching as a Moral Act: Reflections on Five Plays Featuring Teachers and Students (Shaw’s Pygmalion, Kanin’s Born Yesterday, Riml’s RAGE, Mamet’s Oleanna, and Russell’s Educating Rita) by Monica Prendergast

Chapter 17: Granting “the Wherewithal to Resist”: The Erotic as Pedagogical Supplement in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys by Ian Tan Xing Long 

Chapter 18: Why are You Doing This? Negotiating the Gift of Education in Development Work in Nepal: Kathmandu – A Mirror in the Sky by Ruth Hol Mjanger, in dialogue with Bibek Shakya, Reiny de Witt and Meena Subba Karki

Chapter 19: Learning with Brecht: Exploring the Learning-to-Read-and-Write-Scene in The Mother by Stig A. Eriksson

Chapter 20: Teaching, Fantasy and Desire: Me and Mona Lisa Smile by Kate Bride and edited by Elizabeth Yeoman

Part V: Destabilising Perspectives of Teachers and Teaching

Chapter 21: Wrestling with Vulnerabilities & the Potential for Difference: The Pedagogy of Drug Use in Half Nelson by Diane Conrad

Chapter 22: The Seductress in the Classroom: Female Teacher as Erotic Object and Fantasy in The Piano Teacher by Melissa Tamporello 

Chapter 23: Knowing Where We Came From: An Examination of the One-act play Education is Our Right by Carmen Rodríguez de France

Chapter 24: Art School Confidential: Profound Offence or Just Good Fun? by Anita Sinner and Thibault Zimmer

Chapter 25: Emancipatory Reaggregation of the Irrational Man: (Im)moral Possibilities of an Existential, Lived-Curriculum by Sean Wiebe and Pauline Sameshima 

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