Different views on education and their impact on people’s lives as reflected in the Hollywood movie

Good Will Hunting


This material is the outcome of project work conducted during The Summer Institute For The Study of The United States for Secondary School Teachers & Teacher Trainers organized by the Institute for Training and Development (ITD) at Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.A. from 18 June to 31 July 1999. The program was funded by the USIA and Fulbright Commissions around the globe.

For more information about this program look up the following Website:




This material was developed by Dr. Martina Jaenichen-Koepp with the support of Chris Gould as mentor from Amherst Regional High School and Edgardo Rothkegel as advisor from the ITD staff. I highly appreciate the cooperation with these colleagues without whom the development of material like this, especially  when it comes to questions regarding  language and culture, would not have been possible. Thank you.


Structure of material


You can call up every aspect of the material separately which provides you with the opportunity to chose the material most suitable for your students. Every section includes pre-viewing, while-viewing and after-viewing activities.

The material is structured in the following way:


1.    Introduction: Discussing the meaning of education in general


1.1. The meaning of education in my own life.

1.2. Personal comments on statements concerning education by VIPs.


2.    Working with the movie I: Will Hunting's attitudes towards education and career


       Will Hunting -  a mathematical genius with a photographic memory coming from the 

       Irish working-class district of South Boston – has to make decisions that will have an   

       everlasting impact on his life

       We are going to watch five  episodes from the movie Good Will Hunting that will

        help us get an impression of various attitudes towards education and career in the

       USA at present.


        The worksheet will help to focus on the main ideas and provides a  framework for an

        essay that you will write afterwards. The essay will deal with the different

        roles of education in people’s lives in the USA and elsewhere (e.g. in Germany).


2.1. 1st  episode:   At a Harvard Bar

2.2. 2nd episode:   On a Bench

2.3. 3th episode:     At Gerald Lambeau's Office

2.4. 4rd episode:     At Sean Maguire's Office

2.5. 5th episode:     At the Parking Lot of a Construction Site


3.    Summary and essay writing: Influence of education and career on people's lives


4.   Working with the movie II: Character, social responsibility and gifted persons


       Episodes  6 and 7 focus primarily on Professor Gerald Lambeau and his relationship 

       to the aspects of education and career that shaped his life. The 4th episode can also be

       used to discuss these topics from the mentioned perspective.


4.1. and 4.2. - Episodes 6 and 7: At Two Different Restaurants


5. Summary and essay writing: Social responsibility and the treatment of gifted persons


6. Suggestions for further work / projects


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