The camera lies - but it brings things into focus

10th May 2013 at 01:00

Tom Bennett claims that his "greatest pleasure is hugging myself with joy" when he spots something in a film that does not depict the reality of teaching - a lack of photocopying, say, or no detentions to be supervised. Well, what a miserable, supercilious approach. Richard Linklater, the director of School of Rock, himself says: "Unless it's a sequel, remake or over-the-top comedy, that's all the studios are even doing. They've kind of admitted they're not in the business of doing anything else. The slightest level of irony or intelligence and, boom, you're out of the league, you're done."

School of Rock doesn't suggest that being wacky is the best way of teaching - in fact, it is clear that Jack Black's character (pictured above) is on the whole a terrible teacher - but what it does say is that children need stimulation, creativity and a challenge. Black's character also challenges prejudice, laziness and low expectations. I use this film in lessons to discuss attitudes to teaching and teachers in fiction. So, Mr Bennett, do this film the politeness of at least watching it to the end.

Lyn Lockwood, Secondary English teacher, Sheffield.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today