Cumulative cultural texts give a foreground and a context into what to expect for that particular culture. In fact there is a criteria in which any text may be classed as this. Intergenerational, Intertextual, Multidimensional. In short these words mean that the texts within this accumulation relate to each other, they refer to each other within themselves or insinuate links or they apply to the masses and are regarded of any particular text type. In this essay I will be exploring different Cumulative texts within the boundaries of Teaching. By first examining the key arguments of Mitchell and Weber (1999)’s prescribed article and what their views are in which these texts can change teacher Identities. Furthermore comparing and contrasting their study with Dead Poets society (1989) and how typical texts can be linked and provide support for identity within the classroom for both teachers and students. Part A
Mitchell and Weber (1999) discuss the importance of the role of cumulative cultural texts in the portrayal of “The teacher” in society and explore this impact it can have on self-evaluation and analysis of pedagogies of the “real classroom”. This is done by focusing on a lead text in Dangerous Minds but complimented through comparing and contrasting to intertextual links within the Teaching movie genre. From this examination we can come to the conclusion that from looking at past texts teachers can have some form of model either a how to or a how not on the kind of pedagogies they will engage with and their sense of self as teachers in the classroom. Looking at Dangerous Minds, Good Morning Miss Dove, and To Sir with Love, Mitchell and Weber note the ‘popular texts wouldn’t be popular unless they managed to tap into particular desires of many readers [viewers]’ (Mitchell and Weber, (1999), pp. 167). Texts such as these are a window into the profession of teaching and give society a distorted knowledge on what it is to be a teacher. The dramatization of these texts gives a false sense of expertise to the common man/woman. It leads to an impression that Joe Blow can come up and tell you what it is to be a teacher and how you should go about your classroom. When in fact they are getting a completely skewed view into what the real classroom looks like thus popular culture in the form of the “hero teacher” having a negative effect on the profession. This leads to the ‘unrealistic and potentially harmful expectations by encouraging teacher fantasy at the expense of reality’ (Mitchell and Weber, (1999), pp. 181). It’s these expectations formed from the cumulative cultural texts which lead to disappointment for both students and teachers. Although these “hero teachers” stem from real people on the film reel their characters are over romanticised leaving new teachers at a turmoil between the pulling of the popular hero vs. the curriculum. The recurring theme and what can be argued as a centre focus of Mitchell and Webers exploration of the cumulative culture texts of teaching, is that they provide an opportunity for professional development through critical reflection and evaluation. An area in which we can link the contrasting nature between teaching pedagogies in popular culture for uses or reflection and evaluation, is the excerpt where Weber looks at To Sir with love and Dangerous minds. Both of these teachers have been portrayed as “Hero Teachers” and both have a similar style of racially diverse and disadvantaged rebellious class. As goes with the hero teacher story both teachers break through the barriers faced by these particular children. Who have been recognised as the outcasts of classroom which have been “turned around” by these teachers Miss Johnson and Sir. But with Webers close analysis between the two we can pick out distinct differences between teaching styles and can be used for some self-evaluation of how to compare your own teaching methods. For example Sir attempts to raise the students intellect...
References: Dangerous Minds (1995). [DVD] John Smith .
Dead Poets Society (1989). [DVD] Peter Weir.
Mitchell, C., and Weber, S. (1999). Reinventing ourselves as teachers. London: Falmer Press.
To Sir With Love (1967). [DVD] James Clavell.
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