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The Hollywood Curriculum

Teachers in the Movies – Third Revised Edition


Mary M. Dalton

The third edition of this book analyzes over 165 films distributed throughout the United States over the last 80 years to construct a theory of curriculum in the movies that is grounded in cultural studies and critical pedagogy. The portrayal of teachers in popular motion pictures is based on individual efforts rather than collective action and relies on codes established by stock characters and predictable plots, which precludes meaningful struggle. These conventions ensure the ultimate outcome of the screen narratives and almost always leave the educational institutions – which represent the larger status quo – intact and dominant. To interrogate "the Hollywood curriculum" is to ask what it means as a culture to be responsive to films at both social and personal levels and to engage these films as both entertaining and potentially transforming.

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Chapter 8: When the Podium Becomes a Pedestal: Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class in the Classroom


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Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class in the Classroom

As I finish writing this chapter, it is only days after the tragic shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. In Florida, a shooter killed 49 people at a gay nightclub; the gunman, an American Muslim, claimed allegiance to ISIS, and many of the victims were Latino. Two black men were killed by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. Five white officers in Texas were gunned down by a black Army veteran while they were protecting peaceful demonstrators protesting the shootings in Baton Rouge and St. Paul. I frame these events in terms of identity because that is important to understanding that we are all linked to multiple identities and to one another. These events don’t occur in a cultural vacuum, but finding the connections is not always easy to do, especially when our perspectives – each informed intertextually by our lived experience, the media we consume, and the ideologies that resonate and shape our beliefs – seem marked more by our divisions than by what connects us. How do we make sense of the senseless? We must interrogate ourselves, understand the implications of our cultural narratives, and engage with others in difficult conversations to find a better way forward. Intersectionality has been a buzzword in academic circles for some time and has recently begun to creep into mainstream discourse. The term was originally coined...

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