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Film Analysis

The Ron Clark Story focuses on Mr. Clark’s first full year of teaching at an urban school in Harlem, NY. There are many rich scenes throughout this film, however for purposes of this analysis I will focus on three consecutive scenes that stand out the most. I will focus mainly on the “President’s Rap” lesson scene.

This scene is significant because it is one of the first scenes in this film that is culturally relevant, creative, frustrating and successful all at the same time. The scene shows Mr. Clark introducing to his students that they will learn about all of the U.S.’s president’s next class, but none of the students seem excited. It is assumed that he taught a lesson, and tested students before the next scene occurs, because the camera cuts to Mr. Clark in his dim one bedroom apartment
grading papers. The camera is ground level which makes the camera angle appear as if it is looking up at Mr. Clark as he overhears rap music coming from next door. The scene is voiced over with his voice talking to his class saying, “None of you passed the test.” The camera wipes to Mr. Clark in his classroom with the camera focused on the students he is handing test back to. The camera shots are short, and goes back and forth from teacher to students and back to teacher as he prepares to perform his “president’s rap.”

Once Mr. Clark hits the button on the radio, music is played to enhance the sound effects of the rapping he will do. Once Mr. Clark begins to rap then the camera pans out wider, and viewers can see a good portion of the class as he performs. Eventually the camera does close up shots on students to capture their reactions to Mr. Clark’s innovative teaching method. The scene quickly cuts to all of the students up rapping and dancing with the teacher. Towards the end of the scene, the camera focuses on students dancing, but also emphasizes the one male student in the class who is not dancing or rapping. However, it is obvious that he is enjoying it through his facial expressions. There is a quick cut to students from the class across the hall looking out of their classroom door over to Mr. Clark’s class. The scene concludes with the camera panning the classroom of students dancing.

Overall these scenes, please watch below, were chosen
because it best exemplified the purpose of the entire movie, Ron Clark’s
teaching style, culturally relevant pedagogy, teacher as a problem solver, and
student engagement.

Note: This only shows two of the three scenes mentioned.


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