Term Paper: Dead Poet Society

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Dead Poets' Society

Keating's style of leadership contradicts that of Nolan's: Keating was known to be a non-conformist, while Nolan can be considered a traditional leader. As a teacher-mentor, Keating encouraged his students to assume not only a different perspective in life, but also act on this "change of perspective." His influence over his students is unparalleled, creating radical changes in their outlook and personality over time. Most notable were the developments in the characters of Neil and Todd. Neil's changed outlook in life led him to pursue a career in acting rather than medicine. Todd, meanwhile, was able to come out of his shy personality, and be able to channel his artistic self through his impressive talent for imagery in poetry.

These changes in the boys' perspectives and attitudes towards life make Keating a more effective leader than Nolan. While Keating established rapport and closeness with his students, Nolan was the type of leader who is traditional in every sense: subservient to authority, a strict follower of rules, and mainly unimaginative. Nolan's leadership style proved to be ineffective, since the boys' admiration and regard remained with Keating, even after he was fired by the school administration.

Looking into Nolan's and Keating's leadership styles, it cannot be said that Keating is better than Nolan. Instead, it can be observed that Nolan's leadership style complements Keating's style, or vice versa. What makes Keating more effective than Nolan was the fact that he established greater rapport with the boys compared to Nolan. As complementary leaders, Nolan is identified as the rational-functional leader, while Keating was the emotional-interactional leader in the film.

Keating is considered a successful leader, since he was able to gain the respect and support of his students despite his being a new teacher in the academic institution. As stated earlier, he was effective in his ability to act as a mentor -- to serve as an inspiration to his students. Because of his ability to act as an inspiration and to draw admiration from his students, he was able to incite them to act on their changed perspectives. With Keating as their inspiration, the students revived the Dead Poets' Society, an organization that Keating used to be a member of. It was through this secret organization that the boys were able to "live" life the way they wanted it to be, to indulge themselves in activities and endeavors that gave them avenues for self-expression. Keating can be likened to a charismatic leader whose leadership and admiration of his students will always remain with them, even though he will no longer be their teacher and mentor in school.

Nolan is considered a successful leader for Welton Academy. This is based on the fact that he was able to meet the school administration's expectations of him as a teacher. He is successful because as a teacher, he strictly followed the rules and embodied the traditional culture of the school. In these aspects, Nolan was considered a success. He cannot be rightfully compared to Keating because Nolan's leadership style was different from him. Keating led his students through inspiration, and from this, he commanded their respect. Nolan was also able to command respect from his students, but from a traditional sense: his position as a teacher and transparency in terms of his affiliation with the Academy became the points that made him respected by the students.

The source of Nolan's power over the boys was based on the school administration. Since technically, as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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