August 06, 2012

Affective teaching scenes: Holland's Opus - Russ

It's a great pleasure to return to Mr. Holland's Opus to analyze more affective teaching scenes. In this post I will comment on Mr. Holland's work with Russ. Mr. Holland is a teacher who is discovering how to become an affective (and effective) teacher. Russ is a student who needs to join the marching band to continue playing football for his high school.

At first, we can see that Mr. Holland doesn't really know where we to start and makes some remarks with implicit content that does not welcome the student. These are "Do not apologize, you haven't done anything yet." and "Do you know how to read music, even a little?". Implicit in these words are the ideas that the student will have to apologize in the future and that everybody should know even a little of music reading. These remarks certainly do not convey the idea of success and support that students should receive at the beginning of a course.

Then, Mr. Holland gives Russ choice about which instrument he would like to play, which allows the student to gain some control over his learning.  When Russ answers electric guitar he uses humour, which is a powerful rapport builder. He then makes suggestions that eventually touch Russ with great excitement.

Here we see Russ struggling to find the beat in class. Mr. Holland singles him out impatiently and that makes him exposed in front of the group. Being aware of Russ emotions and realizing what he has done, Mr. Holland tries to fix it with humour by mentioning that other people are also having a hard time. To create an even lighter environment he uses humour again with the spit valve issue.

When Russ suggests that he will quit, Mr. Holland shows faith in Russ's success by cutting him short and saying that he knows that Russ will work hard. He chose to do it sharply, but maybe acknowledging Russ's feelings and sharing stories of other students' initial struggles could be an alternative way to address the issue.

Continuing the individual work, Mr. Holland incorporates movement, modelling, touching, and the use of a mock drum to prepare Russ for success with the real drums. Mr. Holland uses these actions in a very lighthearted way, conveying that he knows that Russ will eventually get it. He was also daring and creative to beat  Russ' helmet for him to have the rhythm in his head!

Mr. Holland "surpraises" Russ when he stops the rehearsal and validates all the effort Russ has put into learning in a public way. The smile on Russ' face is beautiful, showing how this dedicated work has increased his self-esteem. Mr. Holland's look also shows pride on Russ' achievement. It's such a beautiful scene! Pure joy of learning!

Here we can see students showcasing their final product to the community. The marching band allows families to see their children succeeding in new social roles. The support of other teachers and teachers' family members makes this event a true communion. The look on Russ and his father of pride is just something out of this world!

It was a real treat to share these affective teaching scenes with you!
Do you have movies you'd like me to write about? I'd love to hear from you.

A big frug,


Check also the affective teaching scenes of Mr. Holland with Gertrude.

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