Film Review - Freedom Writers
Inner-city schools are suffered by multilayered structural and institutional problems. Although urban problems mainly stem from socio-political power relations rather than individuals, classroom teachers must shoulder the responsibility for making education caring for urban youth. Freedom Writers (2007), a film released in 2007, addresses the complex challenges that inner-city teachers face by acting the special pedagogy of one teacher, Erin Gruwell. Throughout the film, the main character Ms. Erin Gruwell is an exemplary teacher regardless of the complexities that surrounds the learning environment. The story discusses how students managed to survive in school with the aid of an exceptional teacher who …show more content…
One student, knowing that Gies is alive, suggests inviting the elderly woman who lives in Europe to visit the class. Gruwell validates the suggestion and motivates the students to write their best letters to the woman. Furthermore, they collectively organize fundraising events for this venture. By helping define the curriculum, Gruwell’s students become active agents participating in democratic pedagogy. An example best illustrates how, with the right pedagogical approach, students can play a central part in their learning.
The literature on democratic pedagogy emphasizes an egalitarian relationship between teacher and students. This is radical because the traditional hierarchy of knowledge, in which knowledge is transmitted from experts to teachers to students. Feminist educators (Gore 1993; Luke and Gore (1992) state the classroom as a place in which community members construct knowledge. Gruwell’s teaching using this pedagogy, because the strong classroom community and the bond between students and teacher are central to her success. Freedom Writers shows how a teacher can achieve a high level of trust and respect between teacher and students and among students. One classroom activity, the line game, helps Gruwell build a sense of community. She asks the students questions, such as how many of them bought the new Snoop Dogg album, how many of them live in the projects, and how many of them have lost