Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inherit the Wind and Schools Today

"He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind."

Last night I watched the 1960 classic film Inherit the Wind starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, and Dick York. I can't believe I never watched this fantastic film before. It easily makes my top 25 favorite films of all time (not sure who just got bumped). I also think this film should be required viewing for preservice teachers as a catalyst for discussion regarding school politics, policy, and the ethics (which are topics I don't remember being discussed in great enough depth in my own teacher training).

Inherit the Wind is a dramatization of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial where a public school teacher was arrested for teaching Darwin's Origin of Species. While the story was built around this well known evolution vs. creationism debate the topic is not the core issue in this film. What is at issue is the conflict that often arises between truth and righteousness and what it means for employees, public servants, teachers, etc. This theme has broad application and is timeless in its levity. This issue has been with us for at least as long as we have a recorded history. It is the perfect parallel to the story of Socrates "corrupting the youth." It is also a story I feel has just as much relevance to today and today's issues regarding social media, alternative ed, the production gap, the achievement gap, or any other issue that threatens to upset the status quo.

The following are five clips from the film that I feel have particular relevance today for education and the teaching profession:

On Disrupting the Status Quo:

On Policy & Politics:

On Social Media, Other Technologies, and Human Progress:


Mrs. Tenkely said...

It looks like I have a new movie to add to my Netflix que. I haven't ever seen this one, you have me intrigued.

Dan McGuire said...

I, too, will add this to my Netflix queue. I've actually seen it before; it's classic Spencer Tracy. No, I'm not quite old enough to have seen it in the first run.