Unique Perspective to Teaching: Dead Poets Society Essay

Unique Perspective to Teaching: Dead Poets Society Essay

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In Dead Poets Society, John Keating becomes the new English teacher at Welton Academy, an esteemed school rooted in tradition, after attending as a student years ago. He teaches using an unconventional style which is different from the traditional English curriculum, and in the process, he exposes the students to a new perspective on the subject and principles for living life. Keating encourages free-thinking and condemns the textbook which prevents the students from thinking for themselves. Other individuals, including the principal, Mr. Nolan, disagree with his unconventional method of teaching and prefer that he follow a traditional method of teaching through an English textbook. The lessons that Mr. Keating presents the students reflect the transcendentalist beliefs of Ralph Waldo Emerson found in “Self-reliance” and influence the students to become more independent thinkers.
Mr. Keating teaches his English class in an unconventional fashion which is reflective of the principles in Emerson’s “Self-reliance”. During the first class, he tells his class to rip out the page that introduces in the English textbook. On this page, the author of the textbook, Dr. Pritchard, says that a poem’s greatness can be measured based upon two criteria: the importance and the perfection of the poem. However, measuring the greatness of a poem using a rubric is ridiculous and as a result, he has the students rip out the page. He wants the students to measure the greatness of poetry based upon their thoughts on the poetry and to trust their feelings. Poems were written to express emotions and passion which people should interpret on their own without a quantitative scale. This reflects Emerson’s principle that people should trust themselves and ...


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...his death, the person is Keating which further supports Emerson’s principle on nonconformity. After the death of Neil, the removal of Keating further reflects the principles of nonconformity found in “Self-Reliance”.
Mr. Keating taught the students using principles from Emerson’s work “Self-Reliance” and the students absorbed much of the information. His unusual lessons reflected and demonstrated an understanding of transcendentalist ideas found in “Self-Reliance” and other works by Walt Whitman. The English classes successfully influenced numerous students into making their own decisions by teaching them to become independent thinkers, which is a key Emerson principle. Many students followed through with their ideas as a result of his teachings. Although many of these decisions resulted in positive results, some of the decisions made had terrible consequences.

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