Literal level: Who: Erin Gruwell/Ms. G, Steve Gruwell, Scot Casey, Margaret Campbell, and the Freedom Writers What: The Freedom Writers (from the diaries of the students of Room 203) Where: Long beach and Los angeles, California When: 1992-1995 Interpretative level: Erin Gruwell is a young new excited teacher at one of the hardest school Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. At first, Erin is having problem about her new students and she was shunned by her co-teachers. Most of the students at Woodrow are involved in gang war or know someone in a gang; the students are protecting their self to live.
Erin Gruwell spends her days watching each race isolate into groups and she want to make a difference in her students life’s; she believes that she can change her students. Knowing that every one of her students has a story to tell, Erin encourages them to keep a daily journal of their thoughts and experiences. Despite her students’ obstinate refusal to participate during class, Erin tries various means to engage them on a daily basis. They spark a transformation in the classroom, compel them to listen and force her to take off her idealistic blinders and take in the kids’ survival stories of their undeclared war on the streets.
Erin begins to connect with them. She brings in music from the ‘Hood, and literature from another kind of ghetto, The Diary of Anne Frank, and with these simple tools she opens her students’ eyes to the experiences of those suffering intolerance throughout the world and the struggles of those outside their own communities. The teenagers begin to read books by people their own age, people living in war zones. Ms. G. assigns “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo”, and other literature that presents parallels to the students’ world. They begin to keep their own diaries. Ms. G. tarts moonlighting as a hotel concierge and as a lingerie saleswoman at Nordstrom for money to buy books and take the kids on field trips. They visit the Tolerance Museum and go to see “Schindler’s List. ” With a sponsored Read-a-thon, the class raises funds to invite Miep Gies, the Dutch woman whose attic sheltered Anne Frank. Gies says that the ghettos where the students live are America’s own war zones. She calls the students heroes. Other authors and luminaries come to visit. Over time, the students forge a strong bond and dub themselves the “Freedom Writers”. They all get into college and starting a new life.
Critical Analysis and Evalutaion: Freedom Writers’ is a movie that I had watched for the first time during the class last month. The protagonist of this story is Ms. Gruwell or also known as Ms. G by the students. She is a daughter, a wife and a teacher. The story mostly took place at the classroom and the school. Ms Gruwell is a new teacher in the school, which have a racist problem among the students. Beside that, the senior teachers in that school was just ignored the students’ behaviors. They have not put an effort to change the students’ behaviors and their racist problems.
They assumed that the students don’t really want to study and the students go to school just because they have been asked to do so by their family. Therefore, the senior teachers just teach the students only for the sake of teaching. However, things changed when Ms. Gruwell came and teach in the school. She has been teaching the students in the lowest grade. She has makes many improvements for the students and have slowly solved the racist problems among the students. There are many things that can be seen from this story on the perspectives of a teacher.
One of them is an interactive classroom. In this movie, Ms. Gruwell has tried to get her students’ attention by started to have an interaction with the students. She asked some questions about the students’ life to make them participate. As we know, an interactive classroom makes a better learning environment as the teacher encourage and make the students to participate as equal partners in an ongoing discovery process. Ms. Gruwell also makes an activity in the classroom which is a game, started by the teacher asked few questions related to the students’ life.
At the end of it, the activities that have been carried out facilitate learning interaction between the students. The teacher, Ms. Gruwell also has asked the students to write their own diaries, and they are free to write anything about their life. She also has asked the students to read a novel which can be related to their history life, their past life. These tasks have made the students to interact with the teachers and among them at one point of time. At the later part, Ms. Gruwell has brought her students for a trip to the museum, and has invited a few people of history to meet the students.
These activities have also facilitated wider interaction for the students beyond the classroom where the students have chances to interact with the people of history. The second thing that I can see is classroom management. Ms. Gruwell was a bit shocked when at first time she entered the classroom, which the students were all noisy, keep talking with each other in their own gang and some of them busy doing their own stuff. They were ignored the existence of the teacher in the classroom. The students were sitting within their own gang or races.
They don’t mix at all and one cannot touch and talked with the other who is in the other races or gang. This situation was complicated, even when the teacher started to tell something, the students just ignored it. It was not easy for a new teacher to cope with this situation. However, Ms. Gruwell has managed to solve this problem slowly. She has a very good classroom management skill. She has changed the sitting of the students, where the most aggressive students she asked to sit in front and vice versa. Other than that, the students have not pay attention while the teacher was teaching.
One situation happened where a student has drew a picture of a person and past it over around the floor and they have laughed, until the teacher realized on what was happened. The teacher has managed to control the situation where she told the student who drew the picture to make some drawings on the board because that student might have a good talent in drawings. This is how that I think a teacher should do in order to make the students feel shame on what they did. Last but not least, the other important thing that I can see is the students’ motivation. The students have very low motivation due to their background, the history of their life.
They have no motivation to success, to be a good person and even they only told their oneself to take revenge on what they have gone through in their life. The teacher has instilled a motivation to the students slowly. She has motivated the students intrinsically. She motivates the students by talks to them about the history, and emphasis on the importance of each life and also the importance of being tolerate and have a peaceful life. Ms. Gruwell has also make the students discover the history and brought them to the museum, and they found that everyone need each other no matter who they are and what race they are.
The teacher also has motivates the students by make them being visited by the people of history, a person who have give an impact in their life to improve their own self. The teacher has given each of the students a book for them to read which have being bought by the teacher’s own money. The activity of food sale for fund raising also make the students motivated to work and help each other to achieve what they want. By completely changed in students’ behaviors, the teacher has made a small party in class to appreciate and celebrate for their changed. This is the extrinsic motivation that the teacher gave to the students.
Basically, this movie covered how to cope with aggressive students, who have very low motivation and thus make them being a bad student. With all the skills and knowledge that teacher’s have. teacher’s can manage to cope with these kinds of situations. It can be said here that, as a teacher, they must have many skills to encounter many situations that they might face and they must make themselves prepared for that. A teacher not only teach, but must be an effective and excellent teacher, being loved by the students and being as an inspiration to the students. Application and Reaction:
Miep Gies: You are the heroes. You are heroes every day. Reaction: It’s so encouraging to listen on this quote from her because she believes that the students show great courage to survive on their own bad situations. Tito: Nobody cares what I do. Why should I bother coming to school? Reaction: it’s just so sad that there are people who think this way. Tito just needs care and love from a friend or a family. Brandy: In every war, there is an enemy. I watched my mother being half-beaten to death and watched as blood and tears streamed down her face. I felt useless and scared, and furious at the same time.
I can still feel the sting of the belt on my back and my legs. One time he couldn’t pay the rent. That night he stopped us on the street and pointed to the concrete. He said, “Pick a spot. ” Reaction: her father is just so uncivilized and stupid to sell her wife and daughter for money to pay a rent. Erin Gruwell: You know what this is? This is a Fuck you to me and everyone in this class. I don’t want excuses. I know what you’re up against. We’re all of us up against something. So you better make up your mind, because until you have the balls to look me straight in the eye and tell me this is all you deserve, I am not letting you fail.
Even if that means coming to your house every night until you finish the work. I see who you are. Do you understand me? I can see you. And you are not failing. Reaction: Erin is a professionally good teacher and a mother especially a friend to her students. How nice of her telling this to her student. If all teachers in the world will be like Erin probably, there will be more successful person in this world. Creative Thinking: After they graduated in high school, they pursued college and starting a new life with new happy beginnings.
Erin Gruwell stays at long beach high school and after 6 months later her hubby(Steve Gruwell) came back home. Steve realized that he can’t live with out Erin and he renewed her love to Erin. The father of Erin is so proud of her daughter Erin for being such a good daughter and a good mother to all her students, he even gave Erin and Steve a new home for a new life to live. The students of Erin are preparing for a college degree to pursue. Each one of them got a good university to start on for college. Life for them now is bright and meaningful. End of the story.