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The Class


Esmerelda, a teenage girl in The Class, is shown reading aloud from The Diary of Anne Frank as her classmates follow in their books.


The educational environment represented in the film is dynamic, and at times unstable, as dialogue breaks down and relationships become strained. The film considers the concept of education as social improvement, empowering young people; yet in the context of The Class, the educational establishment sometimes fails those students. François endeavours to teach his class about broader concerns, as well as the French language, but the students debate the relevance of this education to their daily lives and relationships between students, teachers and the education system as a whole are called into question.  

General questions

  1. The film raises questions about the value of ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ learning, exploring the extent to which intuition plays a part in our knowledge. What value do you think should be placed on ‘informal’ learning? What do you think might constitute this kind of education?
  2. Does an educational establishment shape a young person’s achievements or potential? Are we limited solely by our own ability and motivation, or does our experience of and treatment by others have an affect on our success?
  3. During the course of the film, both teachers and students make definitions of and demands for respect. In what different ways might you interpret respect? To what extent can it, or should it, be earned? How far do you think society relies on this concept?

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