On the discovery of “Freedom Writers”
19 juillet 2020
Whether it’s the dramatic movie (“Freedom Writers”) or the book (“The Freedom Writers Diary”), I couldn’t help but let tears fall down on my laptop. Not that the story itself is too sorrowful, but once you get the deep message the authors want you to catch, you will be able to do nothing but question yourself in your strong inner self. Why ? How ? How may you be able to change the world, or at least a certain group of people ?
Well, let me introduce you to them…
Write for existence
However, the students are going to open a real dialogue with her, when a racist cartoon of a black boy passes hand to hand in the classroom until it reaches the concerned boy. From that day on, she changed her teaching strategies. With tact and humor, she succeeded in creating a good classroom climate, and step by step, the students became attached to her and to one another. The Shoah (Holocaust) tragedy and Resistance during the Second World War were the declic, and with reportages, school outings, visits to museum, movies, testimonies of former survivors of the Shoah, the students were fascinated, and somehow found their identities. Those students became more confident, they knew their teacher respected them and their pains.
Instead of inspiring admiration and support from the school authorities and the other schools professors, Mrs Erin Gruwell faced jealousy, hatred, harassment, hostility, particularly from Mrs Margaret Campbell, the High School assistant principal. However, she had the permission to follow her students from their First year to the Fourth, and she even had the opportunity to follow some of them at California State University, Long Beach. She was the one who motivated them to write about themselves, their families, everything that crosses their minds every single day, and this was how “The Freedom Writers Diary” was born.
Main developed themes
“Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum”
- Teacher’s implications
Teachers and teachers-to-be have to keep in mind that creating a good climate in their classrooms will never be a lost of time. We have to be aware of the relationship between a teacher and his/her students. It is important to know them, where they come from, how is life at home, how they manage.
Ooookkk you’re right, in Benin context it’s almost impossible, we have more than 40 students in a classroom, and at least 3 classrooms to deal with. But self-dedication will help you catch up the realities your students come with in class, and manage them in order to achieve your final goals with them.
Another implication is the importance of school outings, and teaching techniques (qualified as “empirical methods” by Mrs Campbell...). Most of the teaching in Benin republic is more theoretical than practical. Are we going to let it go, or shall we bring a change ? It’s proved that students learn more when they feel (no, I prefer fingertip) the reality. If we want to increase our student’s level, we have to use those so-called empirical methods, that will for sure help them A LOT.
Last implication, consider your students. Do not underestimate their abilities, their capacities. By the way, it is the job of the teacher to reveal his/her students’ potentials, right ? So we should ask them to react on problems ACCORDING TO THEIR LEVEL, not under it.
I strongly recommend you to read “The Freedom Writers Diary” along with the movie “Freedom Writers”.
PS : It is a real story, I mean Mrs Erin Gruwell has existed, her students of Room 203 also, all this story is taken from a true story.
How do you find it ? Please tell us.
Are you interested in reading the novel ? Don't hesitate, just contact us to get the free PDF (if you can't find it on the net).
Big hugs, #KhashHmv