• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Willy Russell present differences between Mr Briggs and Mrs Kay

Extracts from this document...


How does Willy Russell present differences between Mr Briggs and Mrs Kay in "Our day Out"? Willy Russell contrasts two teachers in the play "Our Day Out" in order to present different teaching attitudes. The play is set in 1970's Liverpool, which was poverty-stricken and had high levels of unemployment. By having this setting Russell gives the teachers difficult children to teach and the play seems to test who will deal with the children best. Russell doesn't make either of the teachers perfect but exposes their true feelings to show what attributes a good teacher should have. Mr Briggs is strict but willing to teach whereas Mrs Kay is fun and sympathetic but has lost hope in teaching the students. In my opinion Russell seems more approving of Mr Briggs, especially by the end of the play. Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs have very different relationships and attitudes to the children in the Progress Class. The differences are between the teachers are revealed through the handling of and treatment of the children. They have different characteristics but neither of them can be said to be entirely positive or negative in the eyes of the audience and also the children. Mrs Kay is relaxed and gentle with children whereas Mr Briggs is far stricter and more demanding of the Progress Class. This is apparent as soon as the play starts so the audience admire Mrs Kay over Mr Briggs at the beginning. ...read more.


He says that Mrs Kay's "philosophy is all over the place" and that he views her as being the "champion of non-academics". By saying this Mr. Briggs implies that he feels that she is not fit to be a teacher. When Mr Briggs is complaining about Mrs Kay's organisational skills, she suddenly changes plans from going to Conway Castle to going to the zoo first. It is very ironical that Mr Briggs finds this out just as he is complaining about her. The teaching methods of Mr. Briggs and Mrs Kay shows that both the teachers are at extremes and at opposite ends. It is good to be patient and generous but Mrs Kay is too generous and laid back. It is also necessary to be firm and be responsible but Mr Briggs is far too strict. He needs to be slightly more sympathetic to the children while Mrs Kay needs to be firm and take responsibility. Using songs in the play is a technique used by Russell to give important ideas. Many of the songs are sung by the children; these songs tell us something about the children. For example in the first song, "We're Goin' Out", the line, "Goin' off somewhere far away", hints to the audience that the children are not very bright as they are not aware of where they are going or if its the right direction to go in. The reason for this may be as it is the first time they are travelling out of Liverpool. "Me mam says I can go ... ...read more.


At first the pupils try to touch Mr Briggs but he does not like it: "Girl1 and Girl 2 go to link arms with Briggs. He shrugs them off" this shows that he does not wish to associate with the children but after his character change on the cliff scene, " He stands with his arms wrapped around [Carol]." The audience also learn something about the teachers from the children themselves. Despite the Progress Class seeing Mr Briggs as a strict and constantly moaning teacher, many times in the play is it implied that the children want to learn something from the teacher. The Castle Song, Song 12, shows this: "Tell us, Sir go on, we want to learn from you sir" and "We'd be really brainy, Sir, if all the teachers were like you". This shows that Mr Briggs is the only one of the teachers that will teach and has any hope for them. This shows Mr Briggs in a positive light and Mrs Kay in a negative light as the Progress Class do not seem to believe that they can learn from Mrs Kay. Willy Russell seems to criticising teachers of the time because of their negative attitudes towards poor students and the lack of hope teachers have for these students. Russell compares the two different teachers at two extremes to show what a good teacher should be like. In conclusion it seems that Mr Briggs has a better attitude towards the teaching profession because he is responsible and always has hope for his students, although some of Mrs Kay's attributes, such as her kindness and generosity, should be taken into account. Grade - B/A ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Our Day Out section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Our Day Out essays

  1. Our day out by Willy Russell - review

    "Look...Carol" He starts to speak to her personally and calls her by her first name. Here Russell wants the audience to start to take a liking to Briggs. The start of a personal relationship with the students is conveyed. Briggs is idealistic and says to Carol "What's to stop you

  2. How does Russell present theme through his characters in 'our day out'? Is Russell ...

    on reality so they don't have to bare the complete truth but in a way the reality is inescapable near the end of the trip at Conway castle Carol disappears for a while wishing that she didn't have to eventually go home back to reality and when Mr Briggs finally

  1. Our Day Out - How and why Mr Briggs changes

    Her first appearance in the play is with her looking out for a child's safety; 'Come away from that road will you?' she didn't shout his telling off through anger but through care, concern and protectiveness. The children she teaches all respect her for who she is and for the

  2. How do Mr Briggs and Mrs Kay relate to each other and their students?

    The context of the school system that existed within the 1970's was comprehensive school system. A comprehensive schools consists of children of all abilities. The rich were able to benefit from this. As they were able to afford tutors, books and materials, to help further their education.

  1. How Does Willy Russell Use The Character Of Mr Briggs In "Our Day Out" ...

    and impersonal, slightly self-important and thinks that children out to be seen not heard. He is always desperately trying to organise the children, "Stop! Slater, walk...walk! You, boy...come here, Now stop!" During the 1970's the punk rebellion started and people became anti-establishment.

  2. Our Day Out. The character who I sympathised the most is Mr Briggs although ...

    This tells us that Mrs Kay treats the other children like this just for them to have fun, not to help them accomplish subjects: "teach them?, teach them what?" In this Mrs Kay shouts this to Mr Briggs about the children that they can't learn anything mostly because nobody wants to educate them.

  1. 'Our Day Out' - How does Russell interest us in the characters of Carol ...

    During the play we can see that Carol is a girl who doesn't have a very high opinion of herself, and we can see this when she describes what kind of kids go to the 'Progress Class'. She doesn't have a very high self-esteem.

  2. Our day out - Willy Russell

    Mr Briggs cracks when the zookeeper comes in to complain, about the children, he then displays his monstrous anger toward the children through shouting. The school, which inhabits the children of the progress class, is situated in a dilapidated and pitiable inner city area in Liverpool.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work