The movie School of Rock is a great source of evidence on the concept of self-growth. This concept includes:
… activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, … enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations. The concept is not limited to self-help but includes … developing others in roles such as teacher, guide, counselor, manager, life coach or mentor. When personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations (Aubrey 9)[i].
This definition describes surprisingly well the context of School of Rock as it takes place into a school and it is a satire of our present scholar system based on meritocracy; criticizing the methods, programs and evaluations used in schools. Guided by a teacher, the main characters will experience self-growth by improving their personalities, developing their talent and potential, as well as realizing their aspirations. The development of the movie takes place within the characters themselves, as they gain life experiences that will lead them to experience self-growth.
First of all, if we compare the whole class from the beginning of the movie to the end, we can witness the self-development of a group. At first, the group is more a gathering of individuals thinking about themselves and their grade. However, as we move forward in the movie and as the characters go through various experiences together, a sense of group belonging gets developed by the members of the group. Towards the end of the movie, the students work together to go get their fake teacher in order to participate to the battle of the band they have been practicing for during the past few weeks. If the group wouldn’t have experienced any self-growth, the students would have stayed in school in order to get good grades, but they decided to break the role in order to pursue their aspiration of winning the battle of the band. The symbolism of the sense of group belonging is portrayed right before they go on stage when they all share a group special hand-shake (1:32).
Furthermore, individual character within the group also got to personally experience self-growth. One of them is the teacher himself, Dewie. At first, he is what society would consider a loser: he doesn’t have a job, he crashes at one of his friends’ apartment and doesn’t pay any rent, he gets kicked out of his band, and he takes his friends’ job for which he is not qualified. However, by the end of the movie he’s a whole new person. It’s not only about himself now; it’s about what he can bring to the children. He doesn’t want to participate to win anymore, he wants to have fun with them and to realize their common aspirations in which they put so much efforts. Bottom line, he’s doing it for them, not for him anymore. ‘’ … the thing is, you guys, I ain’t that good. I’m not, and I can admit it. But you dude, your ten years old, you’re already better than me. Your song rocks harder, so let’s play it! … This ain’t my band, it’s our band. We all got a say’’ (Dewie 1:31). Another character that experiences self-growth is Tomika, the African-American girl who sings extremely well. At some point, she feels like backing out and not singing for the band anymore because she’s afraid people will judge her upon her physical appearance: ‘’They’re gonna laugh at me’’ (Tomika 55:45). However, with the help of Dewie, she will realize that you shouldn’t stop what you love doing because of what some people think about you. During the battle, she ended up singing an amazing part and she was proud of herself. Furthermore, Summer also helps depicting an amazing experience of self-development as she was at first a little self-absorbed girl who wanted nothing but to have good grade, and that by the end of the movie, she ends up enjoying doing things for fun, not only for the grades: ‘’I didn’t do it for the grade’’ ( Summer 1:01).
In conclusion, the satirical movie criticizing our present schooling system based on meritocracy; School of Rock, depicts two different kinds of self-growth throughout many experiences. The first one is the self-growth individuals experience as a group reaching towards the same goal, and the second one is the self-growth we achieve by ourselves, within ourselves and for ourselves.