Freedom Writers Analysis

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For the purpose of this assignment I have selected the film Freedom Writers (2007). As a teacher in a post-primary DEIS school, this film was of particular interest to me for its high-school setting and the disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds of the students.

Freedom Writers is a movie adaptation of Erin Gruwell’s non-fiction book Freedom Writers Diary: How a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them (1999). The film follows Erin Gruwell, a newly qualified and enthusiastic English teacher, as she navigates her way through school politics, prejudice, racism and personal circumstance to help a group of at-risk teens to fulfill their potential. Set in Woodrow Wilson High School, Long …show more content…

A significant turning point in the film is represented by a change classroom layout, instead of a conventional layout, students are in rows teacher at top of room, Erin rearranges the desk so that the students are looking, and arguably learning, from each other. In this film M is an accompaniment rather than the a dominant aspect of Erin’s teaching approach.

What a teacher knows about their students: interests, talents, and concerns, personal histories, family backgrounds, previous results (Fenstermacher and Soltis’, 2004). Erin awareness of students is gained through department scores, discussions with teaching staff and student diary entries. Erin’s desire to learn about her students stems from her determination to engage them in learning and not as an exercise in awareness itself. The diaries are used to inform Erin’s teaching techniques but are not central to her approach as it would be to the facilitator. …show more content…

Erin places a line of red tape along the center of the classroom floor, asking students to step on the line if the question asks applies to them. Initially the questions are lighthearted, questions on music and film, the questions develop into more serious question about correctional facilities, drugs, gang violence and death.
Cognate and sociocultural learning theories argue ‘that people construct new knowledge and understandings based on what they already know and believe’ (National Research Council, 2000, p.10). The students in this film are reinforcing racial stereotypes about each other that they believe to be true. In order to change these beliefs ‘preconceptions must be addressed’ (National Research Council, 2000, p.10 - 11). This is accomplished by acknowledging similar experiences between different ethnic backgrounds and creating a new common ground that can be build on.

Behavioural and cognitive perspectives focus on the solo learner. Whereas the socio-cultural perspective sees learning as a social activity and acknowledges how peer norms, social supports, knowledgeable people, and cultural and historical circumstances (Conway,

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