Analysis on the movie The School of Rock


Download 80.55 Kb.
Date conversion05.05.2018
Size80.55 Kb.

Analysis on the movie The School of Rock


Romel Noverino


School of Rock is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black. The main plot centers around hard rock singer and guitarist, Dewey Finn (portrayed by Black), who is unanimously kicked out of his band and subsequently disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and forms a band of fifth-grade students to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands so he can pay his rent for his apartment.

Plot summary

Dewey Finn, a hard rock singer and guitarist, is unanimously kicked out of his band No Vacancy by his bandmates for his arrogance and frequent hyperactive stage antics. His submissive roommate and lifelong friend Ned Schneebly (writer Mike White), a substitute teacher, is pressured by his girlfriend Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman) to evict Dewey unless he "gets a real job" and pay off his growing rent debt, which he only promises to do out of sympathy to Ned because of his fear of never getting another girlfriend. Dewey feels forced to give up his passion until he receives a phone call intended for Ned from Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), principal of Horace Green, a prestigious prep school in Woodbury, New York, asking Ned to fill in for a teacher who would be out for several weeks due to a broken leg. Desperate for income to avoid getting evicted, Dewey pretends to be Ned and takes the job as a substitute teacher for the fifth-grade class.

Dewey has no real idea how to carry out his role as a teacher, and instead simply gives his students constant free time. However, when he overhears his pupils playing in music class he realizes that the children of his class are musically talented. He decides to turn his temporary job into what he tells them is a special class project, but is actually a personal one: to turn a classroom full of kids into a rock band and crew, which will serve as a vehicle to stardom, ultimately to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands, where he is out to avenge his eviction from his old band and win the $20,000 prize.

After realizing that the kids are mostly interested in pop and rap music, Dewey turns the school days into lessons of rock history and music playing, exposing his students to those artists he regards as rock legends. Many rock legends are featured in classic photos and footage during a montage scene, including The Ramones, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Pete Townshend, Angus Young, The Clash and Buddy Rich.

Dewey narrowly escapes detection when Ms. Mullins decides to attend one of his class's lessons to check on their progress, forcing him to actually teach the official course material. Dewey attempts to revive any old love for rock he finds in her, having found out that she likes Stevie Nicks and playing her song "Edge of Seventeen" on a jukebox. The two develop a close friendship after this.

Meanwhile, the class audition for the Battle of the Bands, which Dewey told them was their "school project". They are turned back because they show up too late. With Summer's help, Dewey persuades the Battle's managers by lying that the students are all terminally ill with "stick-it-to-da-man-ni-osis", a fictional rare blood disease, and out of compassion, they allow the students to perform in the Battle of the Bands.

However, later that day, Dewey (who had requested on multiple occasions that he be paid in cash) is exposed when Ned receives a paycheck from Horace Green in the mail, knowing he has never worked there. During the parent-teacher night later on, Dewey meets the students' parents, who initially seem very suspicious of his ability to teach their children. Dewey succeeds in convincing them that he is a competent teacher, but Ned appears and confronts Dewey (due almost entirely to his girlfriend's persuasion). His real identity is revealed, and he is fired from the school. Considering himself a failure, he falls into depression, only recovering when the students, on their way to the Battle of the Bands via school bus, plead with him to join them. Realising what has happened, Ned finally stands up to his girlfriend and leaves her to watch the concert.

At the competition, the band plays "School of Rock", a song written by their lead guitarist Zack Mooneyham, instead of Dewey's "In the End of Time". Despite the strong reception from the audience (including Ms Mullins and the students' parents, who thought Dewey abducted the kids), the class loses to Dewey's ex-band No Vacancy, but accept their defeat. The crowd becomes angered by No Vacancy's victory and call for School of Rock to come back on stage. The band goes for an encore, playing "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" by AC/DC with an altered ending.

In the ending sequence, Summer is seen arguing a deal over her cell phone as she enters the "School of Rock", a newly opened after-school program where Dewey continues to coach the band and Ned teaches the younger ones, and the credits roll as the band sings "The movie is over, but we're still on screen," breaking the fourth wall.


  • Dewey Finn (Jack Black) - The protagonist of the film. Nicknamed "Mr. S" after persuading the class that he is the real Ned Schneebly (as he was unable to spell the surname), Dewey is a down-on-his-luck, energetic, 30-year-old, wannabe rock superstar who is unanimously voted out of his band No Vacancy due to his antics and is replaced with a guitarist named Spider. When Ned's girlfriend demands he pay up his share of the rent or get out, he pretends to be Ned as a substitute at the high-brow Horace Green Elementary. His main objective in the movie is to create a rock band from the Horace Green fifth grade class, after previous attempts to pull together a band failed, and take revenge on his doubting former band members and win the Battle of the Bands.

  • Rosalie "Roz" Mullins (Joan Cusack) - The very uptight principal of Horace Green Elementary. It is revealed that she was "not always wound this tight", but the pressure of the parents wanting everything to be perfect has made her into someone she never wanted to be. She is always strictly dressed. At one point she is seen wearing a blouse and necktie with a tightly buttoned blazer. She also is often seen wearing a turtleneck sweater, sometimes under a blazer.
  • Ned Schneebly (Mike White) - Ned is Dewey's roommate and best friend. He is described as a pushover by his girlfriend, Patty, because he gives Dewey many chances to pay the rent and lets him stay on account of the fact that he does not like confrontation and because Dewey is his best friend. Ned does not really mind the fact that Dewey mooches off him but is afraid his girlfriend will leave him, and as such he constantly apologizes to Dewey and his girlfriend. He and Dewey used to be in a Glam rock band called Maggot-Death together, but Ned gave up those dreams for what he and Patty consider to be something more sensible, but he admits near the end of the film that he misses performing. He breaks up with Patty and stands up for himself by ignoring her lecturing him and going to watch the band's performance. He continues to teach at the after school club he and Dewey open together, where he teaches children about music.

  • Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman) - Ned's girlfriend and the film's primary antagonist. Patty works for the mayor. She makes no secret of her hatred for Dewey, constantly berating him for his lack of a proper job and inability to pay rent. Dewey brings out the worst in her, and Ned walks out on her daily tirade and breaks up with her in the end.

  • Zack Mooneyham (Joey Gaydos Jr.) - The talented but shy lead guitarist of the School of Rock. His overbearing father has a large and domineering influence on him and his hobbies and education. Dewey is quoted saying "He's the next Hendrix" about Zack during the later half of the movie.

  • Summer Hathaway (Miranda Cosgrove) - The class factotum, Summer is determined to please and succeed, even if it means using somewhat unethical means. She is designated by Dewey as the band manager due to her threatening to tell her mother, a room parent, that he was being unfair to her by deeming her a groupie and during the latter half of the movie, Dewey says, "Summer is going to be the first woman president of the United States of America." At the end of the movie, she has taken on a full managerial tone and responsibility for the musical direction of the band.

  • Freddy Jones (Kevin Clark) - The "rebel without a cause" and somewhat of a troublemaker drummer of the School of Rock. He likes to burn stuff for a pastime and went out to hang in a van with some rockers competing in the Battle of the Bands. It is this that provides the vehicle for Dewey to prove that he cares for the kids.
  • Katie (Rebecca Julia Brown) - Originally a cellist, Katie takes up the bass guitar. Despite being a core member, her character does not really have many lines because she's portrayed as a quiet girl, but eagerly takes interest in rock music, citing Sheila E and Meg White as "good chick drummers". In the commentary, it is revealed during the credits she was supposed to have a solo, but it was cut out. It seems that due to her on-stage fashion and particularly the shape of her bass that she is an allusion to Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth

  • Lawrence (Robert Tsai) - A quiet, awkward "boffin" who becomes the keyboardist for the band and undergoes a transformation to become a rockin' keyboardist. Dewey teaches him the handshake, partially consisting of "slap it; shoot it; caboot it!"

  • Tomika (Maryam Hassan) - Not confident about her physique, later becomes "Songbird" after Dewey discovers her amazing singing talent when she admits to him in private that she does not want to be security detail, nor a roadie. She ends up being a backup singer for the band. Dewey privately informs her that he is also a bit overweight, justifying his own condition with the statement "I like to eat."

  • Marta (Caitlin Hale) - Marta is another back-up singer, seemingly more lively than other classmates, showing off her voice with "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie.

  • Alicia (Aleisha Allen) - Alicia volunteers her singing voice to become a back-up singer, "auditioning" with Amazing Grace.

  • Billy (Brian Falduto) - Originally assigned security, the effeminate Billy requests he be band stylist instead and, being that he needed to keep the kids happy, Dewey agrees. Billy designs the uniforms for the show and is shown to work hard at the design. He vehemently voices his hatred for Dewey, but still works with the band. At the end of the film, he seems to have garnered a neutrality toward Dewey.

  • Gordon (Zachary Infante) - Gordon is a roadie and is noted for his exceptional computer skills. He made the light show during the Battle of the Bands performance. He tends to get stressed easily when his plans don't work out, but Dewey inspires confidence in him.

  • Marco (James Hosey) - Also a roadie with Gordon. He works the smoke machine during the Battle of the Bands performance.
  • Frankie (Angelo Massagli) - At the beginning of the film, it appears he is good friends with Freddy, and the one who interacts/jokes with him the most. He works on security. In the beginning of the film, he is under the assumption that rock was about scoring with girls.

  • Leonard (Cole Hawkins) - He works on security along with Frankie.

  • Eleni and Michelle (Veronica Afflerbach and Jordan-Claire Green respectively) - Designated the groupies by Dewey, they are given the task of naming the band, which they are more than happy to do. They disclose the final name to Dewey by unrolling a T-shirt with a "School of Rock" emblem on it.

  • Theo (Adam Pascal) - Theo is the leader of Dewey's old band "No Vacancy", though Dewey says he brought the band together, and he is the first one who suggested getting rid of Dewey. During the end of the movie, before learning they win the contest, Theo and his band members are very impressed with the performance which the children (of Dewey's band School of Rock) had put up and they personally congratulate/admire them.

  • Spider (Lucas Babin) - Spider is the guitarist who replaces Dewey in "No Vacancy." At the Battle of the Bands, he is seen hitting on Miss Mullins, who does not understand his endeavor.

  • Neil (Lucas Papaelias) - Neil is the bass player of the band "No Vacancy".

(retrieved from on June 10, 2010)

Report on this movie consists of analysis on presentation and representation, ordinary and phenomenon, and transcendence of norms and immanence on Dewey’s role as teacher and effects which he causes on his students.

In this movie, by seeing aspects of presence and representation, the character of Dewey as presented to be a ‘teacher’, reveals a sense of representation of being “beyond normality”. Dewey’s presentation as a teacher is somewhat forced under condition where he cannot cope with his social life and environment then he takes short cut to handle the matters by being somebody who is he is not. He becomes alien to himself until finally he thinks that he can become someone as stated namely a rock star. Dewey’s presentation as an out of the ordinary figure is by himself to be placed around ordinary and regulated environment namely school and it causes conflict of interests to himself and students who have expectations of learning something from their teacher. Dewey’s inability to teach provides new his students peculiar condition where students seems to demand Dewey to give them something other than recess as cover for his inability. Dewey seems to create an environment for his students that teaching and learning in class is a matters of unimportant situation in classroom. He represents himself during his first days in school as incompetent and unreliable person to be seen as a teacher.

From the aspects of ordinary and phenomenon, Dewey as a teacher prevails a phenomenon in depiction of teaching profession that is beyond from its ordinary representations in several significant aspects. Films about teacher reveal description that teachers are characterized as self dedicated for the sake and best interest of their students. To be sure, this theme derives from understanding that teaching is an undervalued and underpaid occupation. Yet due to reason of money that Dewey takes the offer of substitute teacher though he does that by claiming to be someone he is not and as a teacher, he, in a way, manipulates his students to pursue his own personal ambition. In School of rock, Dewey's intention in being a teacher at Horace Green is not for the sake and best interests of his students at all. Since he cannot pay his rent, he sees opportunity to pay his rent by pretending to be his friend and takes the offer as a substitute teacher. Also, when he sees that his students have potential in bringing him winning a rock and roll contest, he uses the students in becoming band musicians and put aside what should be given by teachers. Other examples of Dewey’s ignorance as teacher as profession are when Patty (Sarah Silverman) says that Ned (Mike White) has the "most important job of all," Dewey sarcastically responds, "A temp?". Here Dewey sees that Ned decision to give up music and takes job as a teacher is a wrong decision. He believes that Ned should still be like him namely never giving up music and for this matter becoming a rock star. Also when the principal of Horace Green, Ms. Mullins (Joan Cusack), states how order is essential to uphold, Dewey sees it as a way to have corporal punishment and abusive words directed at the students. Such reactions from Dewey makes the principal wonders on Dewey’s perception to teach and role as parents for the students at school. Somehow, Dewey thinks that teacher should think and act as him in terms of teaching.

From the aspects of transcendence of norms and immanence, they are displayed in the way that instead of teaching materials which should be gained by the elementary students, Dewey teaches them all what they should know about rock and roll and how rock and roll can change way of life and perception in seeing the world. However, which are different from any other conventional teachings, he teaches the students with impolite words and rather mean to undermine them. Also his teachings somehow change the students’ behavior and attitude from being obedient, compliant, ordered type into rebellious type and such rebellion. This is shown in the example when Zak’s father tells him to focus only on classical guitar rather than electric. From this scene, Dewey makes some kind of scene where he asks his students on the things which make them unease and what they should do when such happens. Dewy does this in rock musical way by playing his guitar. He asks questions by singing and whatever answers given by his students, he uttered controversial words of “step off” as response on what students should do. What Dewey teaches here is an obvious direction that students can be rebellion over some things that they dislike, even to their own parents. Here Dewey puts profession of teacher into way of implanting his own ideas and thoughts towards social order and even to what children should behave to their social surroundings, even to their parents. By not telling their parents on what Dewey says as “class project” is an example of changing behavior and attitude as obedient, compliant and honest. As the movie progresses, is depicted when the students decide to leave school during school hours to participate in the rock and roll contest without permission from the principal and their parents.

As in conventional way of teaching should be that teachers accommodate and appreciate their students interests, Dewey changes his students interests, such as in the scene where he asks his students on their favorite artists. When students answer and most of their answers evolve around pop artists, he rectifies their perceptions and instead put forward rock and roll artists. Even in one of the scenes, Dewey distributes rock and roll CDs to his students in order for them to get “the feel” of rock. Dewey implants ideas and thoughts to his students that rocking is a way of contribution to society.

From the movie, so what do the students learn as Dewey do not teach what should be taught to them as elementary students and Dewey merely uses them selfishly to pursue his ambition to win rock and roll contest? From his interactions with the students in teaching them rock and roll, Dewey realizes that he is simply a big fat loser, pathetic man with no competence in making himself fulfilling his dreams by his own righteous way. Also, since he is a fraud teacher, it validates himself as a laughing stock by himself. Yet, Dewey is able to disclose potential gifts in some of his students through music and turn them into having social existence among their society and within their students’ parents’ perception on what their children can do with their music ability. Dewey is able to have the students learn through what they do best namely through music. Dewey is able to teach his students about the world outside dogma of academic life and parents. Though what he teaches goes beyond curriculum standards that the students should learn, students learn that they have intelligence, namely musical intelligence, beyond common methods that they have been getting before that sharpen their other types of intelligence.

A brief explanation on musical intelligence is explained here. The musical intelligence is the one intelligence which is the earliest visible in a child’s life. No one could determine just how early and why this intelligence would manifest so early. The majority of musical capacities and especially the most important which is the sensitivity to pitch are localized in the right hemisphere of the brain. According to research findings, Sousa (2006:221) suggests that the brain’s response to music is innate and has strong biological roots which are in agreement with the findings of Gardner as mentioned below. Researchers have proved that infants of as young as three months can respond to a certain song in a certain way (Sousa 2006:221). An injury to the right frontal or temporal lobes will cause an extreme difficulty to distinguish between tones and to reproduce them correctly. Appreciation of music will also be affected when the person is affected by a disease of the right hemisphere. The ability to perceive and criticize musical performances also seems to rely on the right hemisphere structures of the brain although certain musicians had difficulties to perform after an injury to the left temporal lobe

(Gardner 1993:118).

Music activates more than the right brain. Music causes emotional responses from the listener and stimulates the limbic system in the brain which is also the part responsible for long-term memory. According to Jensen, (1995:219) Dr. Robert Monroe, engineer and founder of the Monroe Institute, has produced audiotapes with specific beat and rhythmic patterns to help the left and right hemisphere of the brain to work together to effect optimal concentration, learning and memory. He has thousands of learners with success stories as part of his research findings. Halpern, as referred to by Jensen (1995:219), stated that the absence of art and music “can retard brain development in children”. He is absolutely convinced after years of study that music should be an essential part in any school’s curriculum. He also proved through research that exposure to specific kinds of music causes a remarkable improvement in mathematics, reading and the sciences (Jensen 1995:220, 2004:19). There is clear evidence that music affects brain waves and our physiological states. Lozanov, (Maples 1994:19) a Bulgarian physician psychiatrist and educational researcher, developed a teaching and learning theory in the 1960s called suggestopedia. Lozanov’s theory and practices at the time triggered the accelerated learning movement and according to Maples, (1994:59) Lozanov chose Baroque music from the period 1600-1825 for a specific reason: he found that it produces the right frequencies and sounds which harmonise the function of the body and the brain. If used correctly, listening to this music will improve the alpha levels in the brain and improve memory and recall on a much higher level than without the music (Maples 1994:59). Lozanov (Dryden & Vos 2001:180) further suggests specific music for each of the phases of the accelerated learning process. A lesson should start with introductory music which will relax the learners to achieve the optimum state for learning. The second phase where the new information must be learned should be accompanied by “active concert” like Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major. The last phase when the information must be moved into long-term memory should be accompanied by “passive concert” like The Water Music of Händel.

Children will achieve the ultimate form of expression of this intelligence in completely different ways. The Japanese Suzuki Talent Education project proved that children from the age of two years can be taught to play a musical instrument like the violin with technical precision whereas another child with no formal training will be able to sit down and play his own composition on the piano (Gardner 1993:99). There are also those children who can hear a song once and be able to repeat it by singing it flawlessly without accompaniment. These examples represent a number of children who were observed and proved the existence of these phenomena (Kagan & Kagan 1998:4.25). These examples also show that the musical intelligence can well be inherited as a talent but it surely can be learnt as well.

According to a National Broadcasting Corporation TV show of September 1994 as mentioned by Jensen (1995:217), learners increased their spatial learning, memory and reasoning abilities after having listened to selected compositions of Mozart during active or passive learning (Jensen 1995:217). Evidence was also gathered at the Centre for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in California, that students, who listened for 10 minutes to certain pieces of Mozart’s music, raised their test scores in spatial and abstract reasoning (Jensen 1995:218).

Sessions, an American composer of the 20th century, as referred to by Gardner (1993:100), holds the opinion that a composer of music only writes what comes up in his head in the form of musical imagination; a musical rhythm or a melody. Wagner considers composing as something as natural as a cow producing milk (Gardner 1993:100; Kagan & Kagan 1998:4.23). Other composers like Igor Stravinsky agree with Sessions that composing music

has nothing to do with words and is a pure act of doing (Gardner 1993:103). They could not describe any part of the process of composing as something they could express in words. Their thinking was in symbols and not words. To the same extent they would not have been able to have done any composing if they were given numbers to do it. One would think that auditory ability is crucial for musical ability but it was proved not to be the case as deaf

individuals could appreciate the rhythmic tones of music (Kagan & Kagan 1998:4.24).

Tony Melendez, a man born without arms, had an inborn “feeling” to create sounds and music as he described it during a CNN interview (7 April 2005) as observed by the researcher. Music was so part of his being that he managed to play his own compositions on a guitar with his feet in a very short period of time without making use of writing or any other ability but a music ability. He said on the CNN programme that he only had tones and rhythms in his head that he wanted to give expression to. He therefore had to use his legs and feet and toes to do just that.

It is therefore clear that the musical intelligence has a variety of ways of expression. All skills needed in expressing music are linked with each other. These skills, however, differ from each other. Someone who can appreciate the beauty of being emotionally touched by a composition does not necessarily have the composer’s innate structure of knowing how to arrange the melody or tones to achieve that level of expression. Research has proved that even the most disabled could appreciate something of the structure of music (Gardner 1993:107).

The development of musical competence happens from a very early age where children sing and babble and imitate sounds and tones made by the people around them. This happens with an astonishing accuracy. It has been claimed by authorities in this field that infants as young as two months are able to match pitch, loudness and melodies of their mother’s songs and by four months they can also match rhythmic structure. Children of this age are predisposed to pick up aspects of music more than the core properties of speech (Gardner 1993:108). What is interesting is that the ability to create new unfamiliar tones disappears by the age of three to four when the typical cultural tunes will take over. After the age of seven little further musical development takes place except for the increase in knowledge about music where most learn the ability to read music and how to play an instrument.

Music literacy is viewed very different in different cultures and therefore important to mention as it has a significant impact on the musical intelligence (Armstrong 2003:26). There are extreme cases like the Anang tribe in Nigeria (Gardner 1993:109) who introduce their new born babies to music and dance from the age of one week. These children join groups where they learn basic cultural singing and dancing and playing of instruments by the age of two. They can sing hundreds of songs and play several instruments and perform various dances by the age of five. The anthropologists, who studied this group according to Gardner, claim that they have never had a “non-musical” member in that tribe. The Venda people in Limpopo start early with movement but they do not attempt to sing. In China and Japan musical competence is highly prized. Children are expected to perform well in playing different instruments as well as be proficient in singing (Gardner 1993:110). The great master Suzuki has shown that children can play many instruments from as early as two years of age although very few of them go on to make music a career (Gardner 1993:373). These examples suggest that musical ability is not only about inherited talent but it is an intelligence which is very susceptible to cultural stimulation and training. When one looks at families like Bach, Mozart or Haydn one does admit the genetic factors in talent but should also keep environmental factors in mind. They were surrounded with music all day from birth (Gardner 1993:108-113).

Children learn up to the age of nine in a very spontaneous way and also use their musical skill and talent without much ado. After this age a more sustained effort has to be put in to further develop the musical skill and ability. Children then have to make choices to practice or to play with friends (Gardner 1993:111). It is at this stage where music in the life of a child experiences its own crisis and if they can overcome that, the next crisis will appear during adolescence when the youngster has to decide whether music is so important that he would want to make a career of it and is prepared to sacrifice time, effort and money to achieve that. Motivation, personality and character are elements that play a crucial role in the continuation or further development of the musical ability (Gardner 1993:111).

An important research finding known as the “Mozart effect” has profound educational benefits also in an ordinary classroom. Shaw as referred to by Sousa (2006:224) found that there is a neurological basis for the “Mozart effect” which suggests that passive listening to the Mozart sonata K.448 stimulates spatial thinking, as well as the parts of the brain that are responsible for memory recall and visual imagery. Other music was found to have activated only the auditory cortex and not the frontal cortex where higher order thinking takes place. Teachers should use the right music in their classes to get attention in order to promote a specific topic, to activate the alpha state of the brain and to make teachers and learners aware of the impact of certain types of music on their whole being.

Activities which can be implemented in the class to develop the musical intelligence can at the same time affect the development of other intelligences. Students can make up a rap song in the science class which can depict all the elements in the periodic table. In this way they will better remember it. The teacher can also employ the following examples of activities to develop the musical intelligence or use the musical intelligence of a learner to learn subject content: Create and use songs, cheers, jingles and poems, listen to tonal patterns, try music and dance of different cultures, move to the beat chanting learned material and create dances that illustrate concepts (Armstrong 1994:30; Van den Berg 2004:157). McKee (2004:48) lists the following activities suitable for developing the musical intelligence in the classroom: composing your own verses to a well-known tune or writing a song, utilising rhythm and using harmony, rhyme and melody. The brief explanation above characterizes positive methods that Dewey teaches on his students and it elicits energy, vitality, life and existence which previously are unfamiliar by them.

Further analysis in this report focuses on wordings which cover the aspects. As stated above that Dewey is merely a selfish man though he is positioned as a teacher, is depicted in the following dialogue:

Oh, you wanna learn something? [Summer: Yes, I do.] You want me to teach you something? [most of the students nod] Here's a useful lesson for you: give up. Just quit. Because in this life, you can't win. Sure, you can try. [really getting angry] But in the end you're just gonna lose BIG TIME. Because THE WORLD is run by the Man. [Frankie: Who?] The Man. Oh, you don't the Man? [class shakes their heads] The Man is everywhere. In the White House, down the hall, MRS. MULLINS, she's the Man. And the Man ruined the ozone, and he's burning down the Amazon, and he kiadnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! And there used to be a way to stick it to The Man. It was called rock ‘n’ roll. But guess what. Oh, no. The Man ruined that too with a little thing called MTV! So don’t waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome, because The Man’s just going to call you a fat, washed up loser and crush your soul. So do yourselves a favor and just give up!

From the above dialogue, it can reveal his presentation and representation of his students namely as depiction of his inability and frustration; also aspect of phenomenon that as a teacher, he says things which probably would never be said by other teachers to the students.

Second dialogue:

Dewey: [to the class on his first day] Alright, look, here’s the deal. I’ve got a hangover. Who knows what that means?

Frankie: Doesn't that mean you’re drunk?

Dewey: No. It means I was drunk yesterday.

Freddy: It means you're an alcoholic.

Dewey: Wrong.

Freddy: You wouldn't come to work drunk unless you were alcoholic. Dude, you got a disease!

Dewey: Mm, hmmm. What's your name?

Freddy: Freddy Jones.

Dewey: Mm, Freddy Jones-- SHUT UP.

[Frankie snickers.]

Freddy: [whispering] Shut up.

In a way, this is a usual interaction between teacher and students where teacher asks and students answer then teacher gives responses. Yet what is unusual is the subject matter discussed with elementary students. Dewey displays his unwillingness to teach by making the students aware of his condition. Once again this is unusual for a teacher to talk about to students. Also, response given by Dewey to one of his students to silent by using harsh words of SHUT UP and somehow replies by the students with the same remark. This phenomenon shows how students are actually impersonator of what happens in their surroundings. Dewey’s character as being ignorant really shows his inability to become conventionally noble self sacrifice teacher let alone having parenting basic ability.

Third dialogue:

Dewey: Now, listen, normal kids would have been stoked to slack off, but not you guys, because you're not normal, you're special. And because I think you guys have the right attitude, I think it's time we started our new class project.

Lawrence: A science project?

Dewey: No. It's called..."Rock Band".

Marta: Is this a school project?

Dewey: Yes. And it's a requirement. And it may sound easy, but nothing could be harder. It will test your head [points to his head], and your mind [points to his jaw], and your brain too [points to his forehead].

Summer: Will other schools be competing?

Dewey: You could say that. You could say that every school in the state will be competing for the top prize.

Billy: What's the prize?

Dewey: A win will go on your permanent record. Hello, Harvard U.

This dialogue takes place after Dewey finds out that some students have musical ability. By knowing this, Dewey sets an evil plot to use the students as displayed in the dialogue to make his ambition of winning a band contest and win $ 20.000. What is presented within the dialogue is a mere lie. Dewey selfishly manipulates the students into “helping” him and since his position is a teacher, he is able to make the students in following his hidden agenda. What is represented contradictory to what is really presented, namely Dewey simply wants to use the students for his own personal interests.

Fourth dialogue:

Freddy: What are we gonna play?

Dewey: Uh, you don't have to worry about that. We have awesome material, which I wrote.

Zack: Let's hear it.

Dewey: What?

Zack: Let's hear your song.

Dewey: I'll play you my song, if you wanna hear it. Thing is, I just want you to keep in mind that...I wrote it in like, 15 minutes, and uh, it's not done yet, and you might not like it-

Freddy: Just play the song, Schneebly!

Dewey: Okay! I will sing it for you, just, uh, let me get in the zone, I wasn't planning on unveling it, but I will sing it...(performs vocal excercise)Okay, it starts off a dark stage and then a beam of light and then you can see me and guitar...(imitating his guitar) dew-neew-dew-neew..."in the end of time, there was a man who knew the road,and the writing was written on the stone", and then a thin layer of fog comes in around my ankles, roadies, that means dry ice, we're gonna go over this this later "in the ancient time, an artist led the way, but no-one seemed to understand..." Chimes! Freddy! "in his heart he knew, the artist must be true, and the legend of the rent was way past due!" and Katie, you come in with the bass! (imitating the bass) Rim-bim-bim-bim-bim-beru-beru-bum-bara-bara-bara-bum-bum-bum "well you think you'll be just fine without me, but you're mine! You think that you can kick me out of the band?" And then Zack, you come in with a face-melter (imitates the guitar) weew-new-didli-new-didli-new-didli-new,ok? "Well there's just one problem there, the band is MINE! How can you kick me out(high pitched)of what is mine?" And then, you ever see that show, "Hawaii Five-O", yeah? Well there's a drum solo in it, it goes shugadugadugaduga "You're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore" And then, that's where I want the backup singers to be all like, "No, you're not hardcore (high pitched) No you're not hardcore! (reverts to normal singing voice) unless you live hardcore (imitating backup singers) unless you live hardcore! (back to his own voice) but the legend of the rent, was way hardcore! BOOM! Big old explosion, some, like, confetti or something comes down. Anyways, that's all I got so far, it's a work in progress.

There are two points which can be addressed in this dialogue. First, Freddy’s response to Dewey’s deliberate delay in performing his song. Freddy as a student dares to address his teacher simply by name. In ordinary situation, elementary students will not dare to address teacher by name yet since the way Dewey interacts with his students is not in a proper, normal and polite situation, Freddy as the student takes such model and this is a phenomenon as this is beyond normality. Second, Dewey’s way in elaborating his singing of his song is an interesting way of teaching as it gives description of stage act and gives insights to his students on how stage preparation should be in line with mood of song and way to sing it. In a way, this is a teaching by Dewey as Dewey provides students with what and how the world of rock and roll in appreciating song and stage act.

Fifth dialogue:

Summer: You want me to be a groupie?

Dewey: Well, groupie is an important job.

Summer: I researched groupies on the Internet. They're sluts! They sleep with the band!

Dewey: No, that's not true! They're like cheerleaders.

Summer: I don't want to be a cheerleader. Look, my mom is a room parent, and she's not gonne be happy when she hears about this.

Dewey: Summer, I didn't want to tell you this in front of the class, but I made a special position just for you: Band manager.

Summer: Band manager? What's that?
In order o have support from the whole class though not all students have musical ability that Dewey needs, Dewey gives role to those who are not core members of the band. Summer is one of them and he manipulates lack of insight of summer by giving her role as groupie and at first she agrees, well due to her absence of knowing what groupie really means. This dialogue takes place when Summer finally finds out what groupie means as displayed in the dialogue. Yet once again, since Dewey’s way of interacting with his students is using impolite words, Summer takes such model and she uses an impolite word here of ‘sluts’. In making sure that his so called “class project” safe and sound, Dewey does not hesitate to lie and manipulates her innocent hence he alters the role into Band Manager as he knows that Summer is a type of student who likes to lead and control.
Sixth dialogue:

Dewey: Look, the first thing you do when you start a rock band is talk about your influences. That's how you figure out what kind of band to be. So who do you like? Blondie?

Marta: Christina Aguilera.

Dewey: Who? No! Come on. What? You, Shortstop.

Leonard: Puff Daddy.

Dewey: Wrong. Billy?

Billy: Liza Minnelli?

Dewey: What are you...? You guys! This project is called "Rock Band". I'm talking about bands that rock. Led Zeppelin. [the class gives him blank stares] Don't tell me you guys have never got the Led out. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant? Ring any bells? What about Sabbath?...AC/DC?...Motörhead? Oh, what do they teach in this place?!
This dialogue takes place when Dewey wants to find out the students preference of band or artists. However, the way Dewey addresses his students is actually degrading. He addresses his students as displayed in the dialogue as blondie for his blond student and shortstop for his short figure student. After knowing whom are liked by his students, Dewey in a way questions his students and even questions the school for having no knowledge of rock and roll band. This phenomenon is awkward as teacher should accommodate and appreciate the students’ interests.
Seventh dialogue:

[The entire class is depressed after learning the truth about Dewey and the Battle of the Bands.]

Freddy: (to class) I don't know what you're whinin' about. We had three weeks vacation! Yeah, it was a waste of time, but it was a whole lot better than school.

Lawrence: It was not a waste of time!

Freddy: I hate to break it to you bro', but yeah, it was.

Lawrence: (angrily) You're an idiot.

Freddy: Hey, shut up!

Lawrence: No, you shut up!

(Freddy gets up to attack him)

Tomika: (Standing up in Lawrence's defense) Hey, touch him and I'll shove those sticks down your throat! [Freddy retreats.] [to class] Mr. S. was cool. And we worked too long and hard on this project to not star in the show!

Freddy: (slowly) OK...but what do we do?

Alicia: [deadpan] I say we just get out of here and play the damn show.
What can be commented from this dialogue is harvest of what has been planted by Dewey to his students namely being able to be outspoken in what is displayed by Dewey’s perception “rock freedom of expression.” This is shifting of behaviour and attitudes of the students from good tootsie students to “Dewey’s model. ” The way students remark their statements in using explicit, overtly rude words and expression show that during his interactions with the students, norms have been put aside by Dewey though knowing that he is in the domain of education and he has no hesitation to use such way and somehow such model is taken into account by his students in their way of life afterward.


Dewey’s irresponsibility in taking a profession as a substitute teacher by pretending to be someone else for motive of having money is the starting point of many interesting catastrophes and spin in education. What Dewey thought to be an easy pretending until he can finally sets a new band of his own after being sacked of his old band, takes a turning point as he sees musical potential in his students and in a way manipulates them into the so called class project by making the class as his ride to fulfilling his ambition in winning a band contest and win $ 20.000

Dewey changes all paradigms of what teacher as profession should be. He shamelessly deceits his students into his personal interests while teacher as profession supposedly put students’ interests as priority and single motivation in teaching. He changes academic atmosphere into his atmosphere of band practice and rehearsal.

Many new phenomenon, representation and shifting of norms happen during his times of teaching the students. By changing the students interests into his own, the students become personalities which are not them before hence making them somewhat becoming Dewey with overt expression and harsh wordings. Students’ behaviour and attitude are changed into social opposition to rules, regulation and order. Dewey is “successful” in crossing over separation of propriety from rebellious attitude, norms and deviance, piety and blasphemy, and the overall outlook of what is right and wrong. Yet he is also successful in bringing up hidden good potential of his students.


Armstrong, T. 1994. Multiple intelligences: seven ways to approach curriculum. Educational Leadership, 52(3): 26-28.

Armstrong, T. 2003. You’re smarter than you think. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing.

Dryden, G. & Vos, J. 2001. The learning revolution. New Zealand: Network Educational Press.

Gardner, H. 1993. Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. 2nd edition. New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. 1993. Multiple intelligences, the theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.

Jensen, E. 1995. Brain based learning and teaching. Del Mar: Turning Point.

Kagan, S. & Kagan, M. 1998. Multiple intelligences: The complete MI book. San Clemente: Kagan Publications.

Maples, T. 1994. Accelerated learning: Effective knowledge acquisition. Nelson: Inova.
McKee, L. 2004. The accelerated trainer. Aldershot: Gower.
Sousa, D.A. 2006. How the brain learns. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Van den Berg, G. 2004. Die geleenthede wat uitkomsgebaseerde taalhandboeke bied vir die ontwikkeling van leerders se meervoudige intelligensies. Unpublished DEd thesis. Pretoria: Unisa.


The database is protected by copyright © 2017
send message

    Main page