Essay, Pages 2 (421 words)
Despite the inspiration he gives his students and his efforts to make the boys ‘more rounded human beings’, the lack of any practical usefulness makes Hector’s teaching inadequate and obsolete in the new academic environment. The headmaster can see that Hector is a good teacher but fails to value his teaching because the results are ‘unquantifiable’. This is due to Hector’s belief that examinations are ‘the enemy of education’: ‘those longed for emblems of conformity’.
Hector considers the name of his course to be a euphemism which conceals the true nature of his lessons- he considers his ability to inspire and enlighten the boys to be of primary importance, which differs from the methods of the teacher Mrs.
Lintott who teaches ‘objective history’ and ‘solid facts’, and also from Irwin. Irwin’s teaching ethics go hand in hand with the changing perspectives of education supported by the headmaster who embraces educational reforms that seek to adapt systems of education to the new economic climate governed by neoliberal logic; which subjects all aspects of life to demands of the market.
The link can be made between Hector and Miss Jean Brodie, that although both teachers took to manipulating their students for their own benefit (in Hector’s case this is subjecting the boys to sexual harassment as a result of his repressed sexual desires), and although in both cases this is an abuse of power, it can be appreciated that it takes an immense personality to be remembered by their students as a great influence.
Miss Brodie immersed in her life-long quest for knowledge provides a very powerful role model for the girls. They are able to see a woman who is eager to learn, even though she is the one who is meant to be imparting knowledge.
Both teachers are nonconformists in the educational system yet weather this is acceptable or not depends on views of the purpose of education. Miss Brodie says “I don’t believe in talking down to children, you are capable of grasping more than is generally appreciated by your elders”. This philosophy is one that helps the girls to explore a wide range of subjects and instills on them, for the most part, a healthy curiosity about life and the world they live in; a better lesson, some may argue, than years of artificial education. Here we can refer to Plato’s ‘allegory of the cave’: one should ‘touch’ real-world problems and gain personal experience from it, to acquire the knowledge, we should leave the safe ‘cave’ of the classroom.