The movie “Dangerous Minds” is stereotypical in its view of adolescents and this view is flawed and inaccurate. The movie portrays the students from the inner city as having a life that is full of violence and hopelessness. It exaggerates all the details and it does not show any positive attributes of the students prior to Miss Johnson’s arrival. Apart from a few students who think of violence, none of the other student is seen as having dangerous minds and the title is therefore inappropriate. A better title for this movie would be developing minds. This title is more suitable because the viewer is taken through the process of the student’s development. For instance, when the students first began learning poetry, they did not know anything about it. They did not know Basic English but as the movie progressed, they were even able to analyze some of the poems. They also developed their interest in learning and this is seen in the end as the students express their desire to graduate. The students stopped seeing teachers as a necessary nuisance in their lives and they accepted them as people who were there to help them.
Dangerous minds tells the story of a former marine, who moves to an inner city and applies for a job at an inner city school. She gets the job immediately and she is given a tough class to handle. The students in this particular class do not see the importance of education and they do not show any interest in learning. The new teacher does not give in however, and she incorporates unconventional methods. These include bribing and manipulating the students so that they can agree to participate in their studies. She also shows interest in their personal lives and this shows the students that she cares for them. The students begin to trust her because of this and this makes it easier for her to teach them. As the movie progresses, the viewer sees the students mature from students who had no hope in life to students who are ready and willing to face the future.
Many movies involving teachers and tough students have been produced over the years. The objective of most of these movies is to show that even tough students, who are considered hopeless by the society, can change their ways and mature to be responsible. The teacher in the movie ends up finding some hidden talent within the students, which the student did not know they had. In most of these movies, minority communities such as African-Americans and Latinos are usually the target. These communities are targeted for their apparent tough attitude towards life and the harsh conditions that they endure. The movie Dangerous Minds is no exception. It shows how a teacher struggles to change the students in an inner city school and how she succeeds in the end. Concepts such as adolescent development, their identity, morality and ego development, the teacher’s role, parental style, juvenile delinquency, adolescent pregnancy, adolescent mental health and bullying are addressed.