The movie begins with Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), in 1953, accepting an art history teaching position at the prestigious New England school for women. She is a liberal and a feminist who was inspired to come to Wellesley to “make a difference”. After a semester of teaching a progressive, less traditional teaching style, she is given conditions by the alumni that, if she is to stay at Wellesley, she will teach the outlined syllabus and submit her lessons plans for prior approval. This demonstrated the hard core traditional style view that governed Wellesley’s educators. The students were expected to memorize the textbook. The administrator made the statement, “You didn’t come to Wellesley to help people find their way; you came to help people find your way.” To compare the behavior of the students in the film, I’ll start on the first day of class; the students embarrass Ms. Watson, the teacher, in front of the class evaluator by knowing everything she had prepared. The character, or teacher, seemed to demonstrate two different educational or behavioral positions. At the end of the movie, you find numerous assumptions of the andragogical model. Ms. Watson appeared as a feminist who refused to fall under the traditional educational objectives or educational theories. Therefore, she changes her educational model or theory to the andragogical style of teaching. This was a change from the beginning of the movie when she first entered the classroom with the traditional power point. Thus according to Knowles (2011), she originally followed the pedagogical model. This model is clearly defined in The Adult Learner written by Knowles, Holton, and Swanson, 2011. It explains the pedagogical model assigns the teacher full responsibility for making all decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, when it will be learned, and if it has to be learned (2011, p.60). This is the style of teaching the administrative staff at Wellesley believed to be the best. Historically this model has been found to be less effective than the andragogical style for adult learners who have specific educational needs. The assumption that the andragogical model is based on includes: (Knowles, 2011 p.63-67) Principals of teaching :( Knowles, 2011 p.63-67)
1. The learner’s need to know.
-The first task of Watson was to help the students become aware of the need to know by making or demonstrating an intellectual case for the value of learning by giving them the potential tools, thus improving the quality of their lives. As an educator her goal was to help them discover the gaps between where they were and where they wanted to be. She demonstrated that there is much more to art that memorizing a textbook. This was demonstrated best in the movie when she talked to Joan about pursuing law school and seeking a career.
2. The learner’s self-concept.
-Educator Watson was fully aware the girls had arrived at the self-concept that they were more than capable of reading the book and memorizing the information as they had been previously taught in the past. Educator Watson was approached with resentment and resistance by the girls demonstrating they had previously read the text. The attitude was, “We know this so just let us go out in smoke and socialize.” Watson was on top of the situation by coming to the second class introducing new thought stimulating ideas; she utilized a power point presentation that included a picture of Soutine’s “Carcass.” She presented several other power points of art not found in the text and challenged the students to transition from being dependent learners, to think outside the box, transitioning and becoming self-directing learners. She also challenged them to become more than the traditional art students. Katherine tries to get the students to explore ideas by a metaphorical demonstration in the paint-by-numbers...