- Pretend you are showing a new person around your school, as Colley does Mr. Chips at the beginning of the film. What customs, rules, codes -- written or unwritten -- or other "unofficial" details about your school would you need to tell him or her? What words, including slang or terms specific to your school, would he or she need to know to fit in? Compile a list.
- Make a drawing or collage of the "typical" student in your school. Label what he or she is wearing, carrying, doing, etc. Even if your school does not have official uniforms, is there an unofficial "uniform" of some kind that most students seem to adhere to? Why do you think this is?
- In the opening scene of the teen movie Ten Things I Hate About You, Michael shows the "new kid" around the school, pointing out each group and describing their characteristics. What are the hierarchies in your school? Draw a chart in which you classify the groups in your school in terms of their power and authority. How do these groups maintain their authority? How do these groups, and their labels, affect school dynamics and/or individual students?
- In Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Brookfield is a very exclusive school for boys primarily of wealthy and upper-class family background. What does "class" mean? How much do you think class matters in that society? How much does it matter in our society? Which do you think is most important in our society today in terms of achieving power and success -- class background, education, talent, hard work, or money? Why? How are these factors interrelated?
- "Some theorists suggest that a great school like this should mirror the kind of world the boys will encounter outside," Herr Staefel argues at the Chippings's dinner party. To what extent is your own school a microcosm of the society you live in? To what extent is it sheltered from the outside world? Draw a map, chart, or graph that shows this relationship.
- "Visit" another school, one quite different from your own, in person or through their literature, Web site, interviews with students there, etc. (For example, you might choose a private school if yours is public, rural if yours is urban, progressive if yours is traditional, etc.) How is life and learning at this school different from your own? How do you think you would fit in there? Why?
- Experiment with how point of view can change a story by writing two diary entries about a typical day at your school -- one from a student point of view, and one from a teacher's point of view. What do you think teachers need to understand about students? What do students need to understand about their teachers?
- What image or reputation does your school have? How is this image created and upheld, generation after generation? To research this question, interview faculty members and former students, look through old yearbooks, read past editions of the school newspaper, and think about your own experiences. How do things like symbols, songs, colors, uniforms, mottoes, or other school paraphernalia enhance this image? Write an article or create a display that describes your school's image and history.
School Memories | School Today | School Stories | School Issues
Using Goodbye, Mr. Chips in the Classroom
Goodbye, Mr. Chips: Plot Summary | Time & Place: English Public Schools
Discussion Questions and Activities | Novel into Film
The School Experience: An Inquiry | Resources | Teacher's Guide Credits
Essays + Interviews | Who's Who/Cast + Credits
Story Synopsis | Novel to Film | Russell Baker
Links + Bibliography | Teacher's Guide | The Forum
About The Series |
The American Collection |
Schedule & Season |
Feature Library |
Learning Resources |