A Comparison of the American Education and the Portrayal of Education in the Films Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Mr. Hollands Opus

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It’s another day in school and you’re trying so hard to pay attention and keep up with the notes. While doing so you start to think, “There’s no way school can get more boring, why can it be as fun as it is in movies?” Movies do seem to portray American education more exciting and fun than it actually is, but is that all they really do, or is there more to them that we’re seeing? In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the exposition the world of magic that Harry himself didn’t know about until his eleventh birthday.

In this first movie of the series everything is new and exciting, like when we started junior high. Fresh minds eager to learn and too innocent to understand that it will only get harder, but not too old to cause trouble. Not only throughout the first movie, but the entire series Harry Potter and his friends, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, always find a way to cause trouble in school.

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From the beginning Harry, Ron, and Hermione grow and become their own person, but it’s not until the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that the flame ignites. It started out as normal as it gets at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with all the students and staff starting out the beginning of the term by eating in the Great Hall. Much like in actual schools, we all gather at the beginning of term and see our friends, and to see what new students or teachers we have.

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Unfortunately for the students at Hogwarts, once again, they have a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and her name is Professor Dolores Umbridge. Professor Umbridge was sent to Hogwarts from the Ministry of Magic because, “Wizards much older and cleverer than you have our new program of study. You will be learning about defensive spells in a secure and risk free way.” (Rowling ) Usually Defense Against the Dark Arts is hands on practice, the students would actually learn how to do something rather than study their textbook, which is exactly what Umbridge is doing. She refuses to teach her students any practical knowledge that would come in useful in the future. Very similar to schools, teachers are supposed to teach what is in the textbook, nothing else.

Of course, in the previous years at Hogwarts teaching defensive spells wasn’t a problem, let alone seen as a threat. The ministry doesn’t want students to rebel or use any practical magic, keeping it strictly out of textbook context. In one particular textbook, Muggle Studdies, teaches students about how bad Muggles are and that they’re dirty and filthy also that their blood shouldn’t be mixed with that of a pure blood of wizards, very similar to that time in America, slavery. Children, teenagers, even adults learn from example. Slavery dates back to 1615, when the first African slaves were brought to America to Virginia. (History of Slaves in America) White children were taught that blacks were bad, and whites were better than them. Back to Harry Potter, there’s even a statue in the Ministry Of Magic of a witch and a wizard standing on a throne, that’s crushing humans.

Another way Harry Potter and The order of the Phoenix is similar to American education is that students will rebel. Since, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic doesn’t want the students to learn to use defensive spells in fear of them forming an army to fight against them, the students are doing exactly that. The students have selected Harry Potter to be the one to teach them how to use spells, because he’s been in actual situations where he’s had to use them. He is now the leader of Dumbledore’s Army, otherwise known as the DA. Similar to a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, McLean High School, where it is mandatory for students to submit all papers to Turnitin.com, a plagiarism detection service, PDS. The students did not like this at all; they began a petition gathering around 1,190 student signatures.

One Another movie that shows how American education is portrayed is Mr. Hollands Opus, (Hollywood Pictures) its about a teacher who takes a job as a music teacher in order to pay the rent. He really just wants to compose his own piece of orchestral music, but in the mean time he’ll teach music. From the beginning not very many students take his class serious, and he is soon faced with the problem of how he can make them learn and appreciate music. He starts by relating classical music, to the kind of music that his students are familiar with. This is a problem a lot of teachers are faced with, but how many actually try to solve the problem? Teachers may not exactly relate it to things we’re familiar with, but they at least try to make it a fun learning experience. Soon the students love Mr. Hollands class and like him as a teacher, and that makes it easier to retain information if you’re in a comfortable setting, because if the student is not comfortable or if they don’t like the teacher it would be difficult to focus on something you don’t like or have no interest in.

Many different types of media show and represent American education in many different ways. Throughout the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, education can be portrayed in many different ways, from teaching impractical knowledge to not teaching you things you’ll actually use one day in the future. Mr. Hollands Opus turned the tables and told of the teachers point of view, how hard it can be to get students interested. None the less, the media does a pretty good job of showing people how education is portrayed on the big screen.

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A Comparison of the American Education and the Portrayal of Education in the Films Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Mr. Hollands Opus. (2022, Apr 23). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-comparison-of-the-american-education-and-the-portrayal-of-education-in-the-films-harry-potter-and-the-order-of-the-phoenix-and-mr-hollands-opus-essay

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