Assessment of Mr. Glen Holland, as represented in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus According to Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development.
This paper is an assessment of Mr. Holland, as represented in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus (19) using Erik Erikson’s Theory of development. The underlying theme that stretches throughout Erikson’s theory is that of balance (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2003). Erikson (1963) divided the life cycle of an individual into developmental stages (Meyer et al., 1997). Each stage of development is characterized by what Erikson called a crisis; he used the word crisis as it results in an important turning point in one’s life cycle. The crisis has the possibility of a positive or a negative resolution. Erikson’s theory provides a description of some key universal concerns at each period of life. His theory is a bio-psycho-social theory which views humans as biological, psychological and sociological beings that are shaped by an interactive mix of forces (Corey, 2009). Erikson believed that development is the result of two complex principles which occur simultaneously, these two principles involve genetic and social inputs (Meyer et al., 2003). He further stated that genetic factors determine development through a genetically determined ground plan called the epigenetic principle. This principle holds that development occurs in sequential, clearly defined stages and that each stage must be satisfactorily resolved for development to proceed smoothly (Sadock & Sadock, 2003). Social factors or influences refer to the demands placed on individuals by society in accordance with their current stage of development (Meyer et al., 2003). According to Erikson a crisis indicates a turning point in life, “a crucial period of increased vulnerability and heightened potential” (Erikson. 1978 p. 5). A developmental crisis results from the interaction between genetic development and social influences. Erikson’s theory states that stages are interrelated. This means that the success or failure in one stage determines the outcome in another stage (Morris, 1996). If successful resolution does not occur , all subsequent stages reflect the failure in the form of physical, cognitive, social or emotional maladjustment (Sadock & Sadock, 2003). Erikson's theory covers the psychosocial development of an individual’s entire lifespan, therefore serves as an adequate lens through which Mr. Holland’s (in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus) life can be assessed psychologically. In the movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus, there are many issues that relate to human growth and development. In the beginning, Holland’s goal was to write one memorable piece of music that would be regarded as a historical symphony. However; he ends up teaching music at a high school hoping it would pay off the bills; he referrers to the teaching position as something to fall back on for the interim. He is frustrated at first because the students are bored and unresponsive, yet Holland didn’t give up. This would indicate that he successfully managed Erikson’s early childhood stage. During this stage we learn to master skills for ourselves. Not only do we learn to walk, talk and feed ourselves, we are learning finer motor development as well as becoming toilet trained. Here we have the opportunity to build self-esteem and autonomy as we gain more control over our bodies and acquire new skills, learning right from wrong. One of the skills learned during the "Terrible Two's" is our ability to use the powerful word "NO!” This develops important skills of the will. In a sense we learn tenacity and persistence, which is useful in problem solving. Not learning these skills adequately we would all too easily give up on tasks. Holland did not give up and manages to teach students through methods such as playing rock and roll instead of Mozart; which would have been considered radical for the time period represented. As time goes on, Holland...
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