Last night I watched the movie School of Rock when I was in a hotel room in Calgary at the end of my Christmas visit to my girlfriend’s family in the prairies. I admit I love this movie because it brings together a couple of my favorite things, school and rocking out.
However, last night I watched through what felt like different eyes, as I have been on a journey with those I have been following on twitter and the blogs I have been reading…a couple of different parts and themes of the movie became visible to me for the first time….
On Mr Schneebly’s (Jack Black) first day as a temp (TOC) he notices that teacher he is subbing for has system of rewards and punishments for her students (gold stars and demerits.) Mr S is outraged when he sees this, and says to his students “What kind of school are they running here?” then he proceeds to tear down the poster displaying the demerits and rips it into tiny pieces. “From now on, while I’m in charge, there will be no grades, no good stars and no demerits.”
This made me think of what I have been reading in Daniel Pink’s book Drive about motivation. Right on Mr S, those rewards and punishments won’t motivate us to learn! They won’t engage us in the long run!
Next thing that really became obvious to me was the value of the “Rock Band” project. This was something that was authentic to the class because it had something that they could practice and work towards. Along the way, Mr S taught them about what Rock was all about…sticking it to the man (of course)…and also the subtleties that make all rock shows great, the moves, the attitude, the face melting solos…
One especially beautiful thing (tear) was that in the end, it wasn’t about winning the Battle of the Bands, but rather it was only about putting on a great rock show. They didn’t do it for the gold stars, they did it because rocking out was something that they needed to do, it was their gift to the world, their contribution to society.
I find this movie inspiring even though it has mega cheese served with it’s messages about motivating kids to be inspired to take on challenges and to follow their passions even if the man tries to bring them down. Thanks Dewey Finn and the School of Rock.
Side note: the part where the young girl asks to be a singer after she has been cast as a groupie makes me tear up every time. If you are a fan of music and singers this movie is worth a download just for this part.