Jamie’s dream school…except for the students

31 Mar

I have really enjoyed watching Jamie’s Dream School on channel 4. The programme has been running on Wednesday nights for the past 5 weeks and every week it provides me with new amusement. The pupils may be incredibly irritating to watch, and seeing the teachers stuggle does make me a little angry that these people are getting given opportunities they don’t seam to appreciate, but the entertainment is undeniable. The pupils are all post secondary school but have very few, if any GCSE’s, and Jamie is aiming to get them interested in education and ultimately create a better life for them. His Dream school has been named as such, due to his faculty of individuals you would think to be unattainable, from Rolph Harris to Cherie Blair.  

Jamie Oliver teaches catering, which is bound to be successful, not only because it is a subject they can actively participate in, but because the pupils were obviously aware they would be part of a school run by Jamie, so must have some interest in him!

Robert Winston teaches science and does an incredibly good job at it! I am not very interested in science but I would love to join in his lessons. He has eased the pupils into more and more participatory tasks, the first being to disect a frog, the second being to disect a pig (in which some girls had to dramatically run out because they were “going to be sick”), and more recently he asked male pupils to produce sperm samples for their lesson in reproduction. Not only does this get the pupils involved but you can see how chuffed the lads are when Robert starts telling them that they have created enough sperm to fertilise every woman in Britain. As soon as their given a compliment like this, they will take an interest in the next thing that the teacher has to say.

alastair campbell on why politics matters, it didn’t take long for a debate to begin, although perhaps not the type he was after.

Daley Thompson takes them for P.E. which seams to be the most popular subject, possibly because it allows the pupils to get out some of their pent up anger?

Mary Beard tries to teach the pupils Latin, which I can understand their uninterest in, she attempted to make them see the relavence that Latin has to their lives by translating the tatoos on David Beckham’s arms. Call my ignorant, but this use would still not convince me that it is a worthwhile subject, as I honestly don’t care what David Beckham has written on his arms.

Rolph harris’s art classes have been shown a few times in the programme, probably because he is more natural infront of a camera, than the other teachers, and also because he has been getting a very positive response from the pupils. This isn’t surprising, art is a subject that a large number of people can enjoy because it allows you to express yourself and it’s hard to say who is “good” or “bad” at it, because it is so subjective. Most of these pupils seem to need a way of expressing themselves without becoming aggressive, and they clearly do not take criticism very well!

David Starkey is quite hilarious to watch when he tries to teach the pupils history. It was made very clear in the first episode that he has very few communication skills, making him totally ineffective at teaching the pupils. However, he managed, with the help of Jamie and the head teacher, to improve the pupils’ opinion of him by giving them a few compliments…Noticing any themes yet?

I assumed the students would  love Cherie Blair’s lesson on “Human Rights” due to their obsession with people “respecting” them. Indeed, they did enjoy her lesson, they loved getting a chance to talk about their rights and their personal experiences at not being given their rights. The students all seem to believe that the world is against them and they have been held back by others, as opposed to themself.

After a shakey start and having to speak to each pupil individually, Andrew Motion does a surprisingly good job at teaching the students poetry. I say it’s surprising because of his very calm and slow way of speaking, which would even make me lose patience, let alone one of these students!

Simon Callow also gets off to a shakey start in his attempts to teach theatre. But when he gets the boys on in the round house and onto the stage to perform a fight scene in Romeo and Juliet, some real talent is shown and Simon finally sees his hard work paying off.

Jazzie B teaches the students about music and automatically gains their attention due to his ability to speak to them in their “language”, which is similar to that of Ali G. He also bring break dancers into the lessons, making the lessons seam “cool”.

Alvin Hall has the prolifically difficult task of teaching Maths. He does this by basing almost all of their lessons on how to get rich. This is the most affective way he could have chosen to teach the subject because they all seam to want to be as rich as their role models…the almighty rappers.

The students appear to have picked up their values from the rappers who constantly rap about “respect” and I think their parents must have allowed their belief that they deserve respect, even when they don’t give it out themselves.

I know all the students aren’t the same and I’m speaking in quite a derogatory tone but I don’t think I’m alone in my opinion. The students are holding themselves back with their agressive and defensive attitudes but are continuously blaming people around them. They all seem to be becoming better behaved as the weeks go on- although this is probably due to the editors making Jamie look like a miracle worker- and I am really enjoying watching if and how the efforts prevail. Good luck to Jamie and the teachers, I think they deserve an award for their hard work and patience!


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