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ERIC Number: ED359592
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr-15
Pages: 28
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Worm in the Apple: Hollywood's Influence on the Public's Perception of Teachers.
Thomsen, Steven R.
A study compared the portrayal of teachers in a sample selection of American movies with recent trends in the public perception and opinion of teachers, education, and the nation's public schools. E. G. Bormann's fantasy theme analysis was used to examine themes and myths developed in "Goodby Mr. Chips,""The Corn Is Green,""Blackboard Jungle,""The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,""To Sir with Love,""Teachers,""Dead Poets Society,""Summer School,""Lean on Me," and "Stand and Deliver." The most frequent fantasy type in these films was "good versus evil," where the "good" teacher challenges the "evil"--other teachers and administrators. These "great teachers" are atypical--typical teachers in this myth are far from competent. A number of benchmark trends (based on the Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa polls conducted annually from 1969 to 1990) indicated that public perceptions of schools, teachers, and the teaching profession became increasingly less positive through the 1980s. Since it is difficult to make a causal link between the fantasy themes of the movies and the parallel trends in public opinion, cultivation theory and symbolic convergence theory offer a potential explication with at least face validity. Both theories suggest that repeated exposure to the myths and themes of the movies on teachers and teaching should influence an individual's perceptions of teachers and school systems. Hollywood's influence has functioned as a worm in the apple--the fantasy myths in the movies analyzed closely parallel public perceptions. (Contains 54 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A