The History Boys


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The History Boys

  1. 1. Film and Education Teaching and Learning Styles on Film
  2. 2. Objectives • To examine representations of teaching and learning styles through The History Boys • Discuss representations of sexuality in the film • To consider the extent to which education is 'erotic'
  3. 3. The History Boys • • • • • 2006 Produced: Kevin Loader, Damian Jones, Nicholas Hytner Directed: Nicholas Hytner Screenplay: Alan Bennett from his stage play Starring: Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Stephen Campbell Moore, Clive Merrison
  4. 4. The History Boys • “Take it. Feel it. Pass it on…for someone. Somewhere. One day. Pass it on, boys. Pass it on…”
  5. 5. Who are the History Boys? • Dakin – The Stud • Scripps – The Conscience • Posner – The Lover/Poet • Rudge – The Working Lad • Akhtar – The Ethnic Minority • Crowther – The Lip • Timms - The Class Clown • Lockwood – The Soldier
  6. 6. Where and When? • Where – Mise-en-Scene: • Northern • Urban • Leafy • Rural • “Provincial self-perception” • 1980s (soundtrack) • Elements of 1970s • Attitudes of 1990s
  7. 7. Representations of Class & Ethnicity • Working Class? • Middle Class? • Yorkshire? • Ethnicity?
  8. 8. Representations of Class • Opening scenes – Holiday jobs cf Oxbridge aspirations
  9. 9. Representations of Class • Headmaster’s (BA Hull) snobbery: • “They’re clever but they’re crass…Culture they can get from Hector, History they can get from you…” • “They need polish. Edge…I want to see us up there!”
  10. 10. Representations of Teaching Styles • Mr Hector (General Studies): “Life Lessons” • Mrs Dorothy Lintott (History): “Subject teaching” • Mr Irwin (Oxbridge): “Exam boosters” • The Head Master: “Results”
  11. 11. Teaching Style: Hector • Traditional classroom • Wood, bricks • Multi-coloured pictures and photos • “I was confusing learning with the smell of cold stone” Fox, UK
  12. 12. Teaching Styles: Key Question 1 • “All knowledge is precious, whether or not it serves the slightest human use” • AE Houseman • “We won’t be examined on that, Sir...happiness” • Question: What is education for?
  13. 13. Teaching Style: Irwin • Modern classroom of glass and plastic, bare walls, functional • “I’d go to Newcastle and be happy” Fox, UK
  14. 14. Teaching Style: Key Question 2 • “You keep saying ‘Good Point’. Not Good point, Sir. True” (Scripps) • “Nothing is appropriate” (Hector) • Question: Should you teach the Holocaust?
  15. 15. Intertextuality as Commentary • Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter: “Thank you for coming back to me” • Drummer Hodge: Thomas Hardy “A saddish life. Though not unappreciated...Unkissed. Unrejoicing. Unconfessed. Unembraced”
  16. 16. Representation of Gender • “History’s a commentary on... the continuing incapabilities of men...” (Lintott) • “Five centuries of masculine ineptitude” cf “The utter randomness of things” (Lintott) • Question: How are the masculine and feminine represented in The History Boys
  17. 17. Education as an erotic act - Fisher et al • Eros as life force, pervading all human interactions • Schooling as a process of discipining the body and suppressing desire • The inevitability of a dynamic between pupils and teachers • The distinction between "pedagogical eroticism and pedagogical abuse" (McWilliam, 1996)
  18. 18. Schools as sexual sites - Fisher et al • Sites of sexual opportunity, tension and competition • Reinforced by popular culture, peer support • Dominance of heteronormativity • Male environments - homoeroticism of The History Boys
  19. 19. Representation of Sexuality 1 • Representation of Male Adult Sexuality: • “The transmission of knowledge is itself an erotic act” (Hector) • “This is a school and it isn’t normal” (The Headmaster) • “A grope is a grope” (Lintott)
  20. 20. Representation of Sexuality 2 • Representation of Male Adolescent Awakening: • Dakin’s ‘conquest’ • Scripps’ faith • Posner’s ‘in-love’
  21. 21. Representation of Sexuality 3 • Dakin’s proposition of Irwin • Irwin’s response • Question: What do you think of the representation of male (homo)sexuality in The History Boys?
  22. 22. Learning Styles • “Mr. Hector’s stuff’s not meant for the exams. It’s to make us more rounded human beings” (Timms) • “We’ve got the most important exam in our lives...We’re just sat here reading literature...” (Lockwood) • “Hector produces results but unpredictable and unquantifiable...There’s inspiration, certainly, but how do I quantify that?” (The Headmaster) • “Lying works” (Dakin to Irwin) • “He was a good man. But I don’t think there’s time for his kind of teaching anymore” (Irwin on Hector) • “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them” (Lintott)