Sample 11th Edition Sample 11th Edition - Page 38

Curriculum Guide for the Teacher Cadet Course: Experiencing Education, Eleventh Edition Freedom Writers: DVD Critique It was Woodrow Wilson High School’s English teacher, Erin Gruwell, who realized that in order for her “at-risk” students in Long Beach, California to excel, she would have to literally and symbolically “tear down fences” that kept them from realizing their dreams and reaching their potential. For too long, Gruwell’s students were constantly told they could not when she knew that they could, and she wanted to prove it to them. The most important lesson, however, that Gruwell taught her students was that they were the authors of their own life story, and if they wanted to change, it had to start with them. Their words chronicled their stories and became The Freedom Writers Diary! Gruwell wanted to teach her students that the essence of change meant…the contributions of the Freedom Riders to the Civil Rights movement; change meant…the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln; change meant…the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. to have equality and justice for all American citizens, regardless of race; and change meant…the heroic gestures of Miep Gies to help Ann Frank and her family during World War II. While at Woodrow Wilson High School, Erin Gruwell immediately became cognizant of her purpose there. You see, Erin’s purpose at that place- at that time- was to tear down fences for her students. Because of her tenacity, she was able to make milestones assisting her students. Freedom Writers is an inspirational movie that depicts the story of true heroes, like teachers, who are rarely acknowledged, but manage to make a difference in the lives of students EVERYDAY, using the tenets and the underlying principles of school restructuring. As we reflect on the Freedom Writers movie, we are reminded of the words of Mahatma Ghandi, who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is also a perfect reminder for education leaders to turn obstacles and hindrances into opportunities, in the face of adversity. 264