Movies play a crucial role in the life of the contemporary society. Even though many people think that they are meant to bring only entertainment and relaxation, in reality, films contribute to the creation of worldviews, inform about various societal issues, and generally make humans think. One of the themes largely portrayed in the movies is teacher and their role in forming communities. There is a large number of films that concern teachers, schools, and students; however, one of the most popular and interesting ones is Mean Girls. For this reason, the following paper will discuss the mentioned movie by exploring the assumptions made about teaching and learning and presentation of educational systems and teaching styles.
The Mean Girls movie is a typical American drama for teens that portrays the problems that students have to deal with in the school environment and the types of relationships they form. After watching the whole film, it becomes clear that one of the major assumptions made there is that schools play a significant role in forming children’s and teenagers’ personalities. This idea is shown in the scene when the school headmaster and a few teachers bring all the students together and encourage to engage in a conversation and apologize for bullying and disrespect. On other hand, teachers are also portrayed as strict and indifferent people who do not even let students leave the class in order to go to the bathroom. Therefore, education is represented as something hard and not a priority thing for young individuals, and school is not a very desirable place of visit.
Like in most movies, gender and status in schools is very much differentiated. The community is divided on groups based on their influence and class in society, and teachers treat students accordingly – better those who have a higher status and worse those who have a lower one. Typical girls are portrayed as mean and self-centered in comparison to boys, making teachers fear communicating with them to some extent. At the same time, the topic of race is not covered in the Mean Girls movie; thus, it is hard to make assumptions about this topic based on it.
In the movie, the educational system is represented in a traditional way. The school, where most of the events happen, is a public school where students receive general education on a variety of subjects, such as math, history, and chemistry. All the characters study in high school; however, they do not only attend classes, do their homework, and complete tests but also participate in extracurricular activities, such as performances and clubs. Consequently, it can be stated that Mean Girls present the audience with the typical American educational system and different life situations that teenagers find themselves in.
Talking about teaching and learning styles, they can also be analyzed by looking at different parts of the movie. One of the teachers is a middle-aged woman who has just gone through a divorce. She cares about her students, which can be proved by the scene when she talks with the main character about her academic performance and gives her a helpful advice. In addition, she is the one who understands the struggles of teenagers and encourages them to apologize in front of each other. At the same time, the movie tris to portray the learning styles as realistically as possible. Some students have problems with certain subjects; therefore, they seek help from their peers and friends.
One of the distinguishing features of the educational philosophy used by the teacher is that she tries to establish a personal connection with her students. When having a groups conversation in the gym, she asks them to be honest and instead of overwhelming young individuals with information, communicates with them by asking relatable questions. As it was already mentioned, she gives personal advice and shows her understanding to students.
The Mean Girls movie portrays schools as essential agents in forming the society. The film shows how the relationships built in school communities, everyday interactions, and classmates’ opinions play a role in forming characters of young individuals and their perceptions of the world. In addition, it shows how influential teachers can be and how they can contribute to managing various issues that arise between the students. Hence, school is an important place for every person the lives in the contemporary society.
Overall, movies can be used to analyze teaching styles, educational systems, and the role of schools in forming the community. Mean Girls is an example of a movie where the impact of school and teachers on young individuals can be identified. This film gives a possibility to explore effective teaching and learning styles, understand the relationships that can be established between teachers and students, and realize how teenagers’ personalities are formed. Therefore, the presented paper discussed the Mean Girls movie by investigating the assumptions made about teachers, students, and educational systems and exploring teaching and learning styles and an education philosophy used.
Waters, M. (Director). (2004). Mean Girls [Video file]. Web.