Learning Curve

882 Words4 Pages
Learning Curve Thought provoking and startling, the movie “Learning Curve” awakened in us, as viewers, the uncomfortable reality of where our society and the educational system as a whole are clearly at odds. Mr. Walmsley was hired to substitute at an inner city high school where the same problems that we find today in many schools were brought to an unbelievable level of surreal chaos. The same problems that we witness everyday in our schools were present in this movie, but with an intensity and boldness that would shake the foundation of most well-meaning educators. Problems of student apathy, lack of parental involvement and teacher support, as well as financial constraints plagued this inner city school in much the same way that it does our own schools. However, Mr. Walmsley chose to demand respect and prove to the students that not only was he of value and worthy of their respect, but they should place higher value on themselves as well as others. He demonstrated in a succinct way that learning would take place even at the expense of traditional methods of teaching. As a substitute, Mr. Walmsley was greeted by students who were disrespectful and had apparently no motivation to learn. Students sat on the desks, spoke out in class as if they were attending a social gathering and used bad language in most every conversation. In addition, the teachers in this high school were so tightly controlled by financial constraints as well as restrictions placed on them by their school board that they were only a hindrance to anyone with the vision of making a difference in the lives of these students. One of Mr. Walmsley’s first student-teacher interactions came early in the movie with a young man who had been bullied and abused b... ... middle of paper ... ...thus effecting them all. The pressure to conform was great. Theorist Lev Vgotsky’s studies would support the idea that Mr. Walmsley’s use of group reward and punishment helped to further the cooperative learning that the students began developing to live successfully in their environment (site). While Mr. Walmsley’s intentions and the principles in which they were founded may be justifiable, his methods of application and instruction were not. He was clear and concise in his expectations of the students, as well as consistent in his treatment of them. They were given rewards, but they were basic needs which should be allowed to every human not only to those who perform in a required manner. Works Cited Thompson, Ph.D., Martina M. "Introduction to Learning Theories." Learning Theory and Instruction Class. Baker University, Topeka. 10 May 2010. Lecture.
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