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Who does Bennett present as a better teacher: Hector or Irwin?

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Introduction

Who does Bennett present as a better teacher: Hector or Irwin? In your response ensure that you: - Use quotation and close analysis of dramatic technique to support your ideas. - Show some awareness of biographical, cultural or historical context. The initial presentation of Irwin is clearly negative. In the opening scene of the play Bennett presents to us a clever but cynical historian, advising MPs how to sell a nasty bill that would restrict trial by jury. Utilising his experience as a TV historian, recommending an "amused tolerance" when faced with cameras. We learn further on in the play that Irwin was a school teacher, employed to aid students with their entrance exams to Oxbridge, and throughout the play Bennett conveys Irwin as a liar, maybe slightly manipulative, and questionable sexuality. Throughout the play, some of Irwin's speech is comparable to the likes of certain revisionist TV historians, such as Andrew Roberts as the nineteen-eighties was the birth of TV historians: "Life only comes alive when contemplating its toilet arrangements." This statement made by Irwin when he is recording his TV show. ...read more.

Middle

This effectively conveys Irwin as a teacher whose interests have been focused on only getting through exams. This could be perceived as a positive attribute; however it lacks the development of the boys' social skills. Schools can be defined as educational institutions, but it could be argued that they are also used to allow pupils to gain sufficient knowledge (non-academic) to successfully integrate into society, when they grow up. Another fundamental idea is what other people say about Irwin and Hector. The headmaster describes Hector's results as "unpredictable and unquantifiable." This directly notates to his teaching techniques not being effective. Although the headmaster is possibly correct about Hector in the sense of exams, he could be slightly naive as Hector contributes to the boys learning in other ways. For example, Hector has given the boys part of his personality. On numerous occasions the boys behave like Hector, and have the same tone as him. The headmaster's only real focus is results. The headmaster talks to Irwin frankly explaining how he doesn't want him to "fuck up". He does not talk about Irwin behind his back, this could be because he is a new addition to the school or because he feels no need to try and find out information about Irwin because he feels that Irwin is doing a good job. ...read more.

Conclusion

Put simply Hector encourages the boys to copy him; Irwin encourages the boys to think for themselves and be original. To conclude I think Irwin is the better teacher. This is my opinion for numerous reasons. Firstly he is the most inspirational teacher out of the two. Dakin states that he's "never wanted to please anybody the way [he does]" Irwin. "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." This quote by William Arthur Ward describes Irwin perfectly in my opinion. Secondly Irwin teaches, he does not use the boys for any other purpose, even if he is homosexual he does not act out his desires with the boys, which shows a greater level of respect and decent behaviour to the boys. Finally even though it could be said that he was a liar, maybe even a cheat, he does manage to get all the boys to Oxbridge, proving that he is a good teacher and he gets results. I think part of his success of his views on exams. Hector feels they are "the enemy of education," although Irwin sympathises with this opinion he accepts that they are a part of life and adapts to them. ...read more.

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