What were Tupac Shakur's gang affiliations?

Minutes of the meeting of the "Freedom Writers"


1 University of Koblenz-Landau Campus Koblenz Institute for Pedagogy and School Pedagogy / General Didactics Winter semester 2013/2014 Module 8.2: Life-problem-centered teaching Lecturer: Dr. Jutta Lütjen Minutes: Benjamin Keul Minutes of the meeting of the "Freedom Writers" Structure 1) Introduction 2) Content overview 2.1) The teacher Erin Gruwell 2.2) The world of the pupils 3) The lessons 3.1) General 3.2) Pedagogy of the oppressed 4) Sources

2 1) Introduction Freedom Writers is a drama by the American director Richard LaGravenese and was filmed in 2007. It should be noted that the film is based on the 1999 book "The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them". Since the film has a total length of 123 minutes, but a seminar hour only lasts 90 minutes, it was not possible to watch the entire film, but only around half of it. 2) Content overview The plot of the film revolves around the young teacher Erin Gruwell, who takes her first job at Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, as well as her ninth grade students, whose everyday life is about crime and violence , Racial discrimination, fear and gang affiliation. The difficult situation at Wilson High School can be traced back to a recent integration program which increased the proportion of blacks, Latinos and Asians, as a result of which many white students from the formerly reputable school emigrated. Since then, tribal affiliations and gang wars have shaped the lives of the students among one another. Although the college and department head of the young teacher, who is often simply "Miss G." is called, mostly refusing to help, she still manages to find access to her students and thus end the previously prevailing chaos in her class. 2.1) The teacher Erin Gruwell The highly motivated teacher Erin Gruwell takes up her first job at Wilson High School with conviction and learns about the problems of the school in a conversation with the department head before the start of the new school year and receives well-intentioned advice at the end of the conversation better not to wear her pearl necklace. In her first lesson in the ninth grade, Miss G. found that the students were completely disinterested in her and that she was unable to settle an emerging brawl. Another key experience for Miss G. is a triggered fire alarm, in which she sees an armed student. Driven by their belief that the 2

To be able to change 3 students, she uses a variety of methods, which are discussed in more detail in section 2.3) Lessons. Since the head of the department does not allow her to borrow books from the school library on the grounds that the books are only returned defective, if at all, when they are used, she decides to buy the students readings from her own budget. The decision to stand up for her students to this extent is not without consequences, as this also has an impact on her own private life, which slips away from her more and more in the course of the film. In order to be able to finance the expenses for the reading of her students, she decides to take part-time jobs. Initially, these are limited to a few hours on weekends, but then also expand into the evening hours of the weekdays. As a result, there is less time available for her partner, so that the two move further and further away. Miss G. has a special relationship with her father, who, when she started teaching at Wilson High School, advised her to change schools and not to invest unnecessarily energy in these types of students. In the further course, however, he supports them by, for example, making himself available as a driver who picks up the students from home and takes them to excursions, such as to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 2.2) The student's living environment The student's living environment is shaped by complex problems. In the first place is violence; Fighting, even in the school yard and in the classrooms, is the order of the day. From the experiences of individual class members over the course of the film, it can be seen that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The beginning of the film tells about the family of Eva Benitez, a Latina whose father was illegally arrested and sent to prison. Furthermore, as a child, she had to watch the murder of her neighbor on her doorstep, who was shot from a passing car. Eva also observes the murder of a shopkeeper and a black man when she happened to be in his shop. Although she knew the perpetrator, she remained silent with the police, not least for reasons of self-protection. The incident was then discussed at a conference, but Miss G. was asked not to elaborate on it in class. 3

4 Marcus tells of an experience in which he and his best friend played with a gun and accidentally fired a shot that killed the friend. Since he was only a possible perpetrator for the police, Marcus, like other of his classmates, spent some time in prison. In the schoolyard there are clear ethnic boundaries between blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians. If someone crosses the border to another ethnic group, this is perceived as disrespect and provocation, which inevitably leads to violence. In this respect, belonging to a gang is an important characteristic for the students, as one is among equals and thus has loyal comrades-in-arms in the event of attacks by other ethnic groups whose revenge does not stop at death. Another problem in life is poverty, which can be recorded in a special way in the diary entry of a boy who reports on the "worst summer" of his "short fourteen-year life" and the threat of homelessness and crying on the phone asking his mother for more time. Exclusion, on the other hand, is evident in the case of the only white student in the class who cannot sit in the back row without being bullied. In this context it should also be mentioned that under Miss G. a seating arrangement was introduced that all students agree to and that is based on ethnic boundaries. Finally, Miss G. commented on this with the words "Are you all satisfied with the new borders?" 3) The lesson In the following, we will look at the lesson as well as the methods and applied pedagogical concepts of Miss G., through which she finds access to her students. 3.1) General Miss G. tries to pick up the students from where they are. She tries to find an access, for example, through texts by the American rapper 2Pac, which are intended to sensitize the pupils with regard to poetry and, in Miss G.'s opinion, have a present-day meaning for the pupils. Here, however, she is accused by the students of not understanding the topic at all, which leads her to the students 4

5 seems implausible. In the further course, however, it becomes clear that Miss G. has found access to her students. In one lesson, she collects a xenophobic caricature and sees this as an opportunity to address the Holocaust, a term that apart from two students have no meaning. The students' world becomes understandable for Miss G. when she then asks who has already been shot at in his life, whereupon all the students report. Another key experience is the so-called line game method, in which Miss G. asks the students questions and, depending on the severity of the answer, they line up on a line marked on the floor. If they agree or "YES", the students stand directly at the line, if they reject it or "NO" they take a few steps back. At the beginning of the game, she asks rather innocuous questions, such as new music albums, and then slowly shifts her focus to the environment and the experiences of the students. Examples here are the question of the housing situation, places where drugs can be obtained, or imprisonment. The climax is the question of the loss of friends and acquaintances through gang warfare, which is differentiated according to the number. Finally, Miss G. asks to name the dead. In response to the experiences of the last lesson, Miss G. introduces a diary to help the students cope with their problems. In terms of didactics, she adopts a skillful approach in that she does not assign any marks to what has been written and only reads the diary when the students so wish. There is also the possibility to put the diary in a lockable cupboard. The only condition of this method is that something has to be written into the diary every day, but there are no specifications regarding shape and length. As it turns out, the offer is enthusiastically accepted by the students and Miss G. receives profound insights into the life of the students and the problems that concern them. These are often of a substantial nature, since the students' daily struggle for survival is in the foreground. As an innovation at Wilson High School, it introduces students to extracurricular learning locations, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, followed by a meal with Holocaust survivors. To do this, she initially disregards her supervisor by contacting the school authorities directly, which ultimately approves the excursion for which Miss G. pays herself for the costs. 5

6 Miss G. starts the new school year with a kind of champagne reception with her students in the classroom, where she also presents the readings for the coming school year, including Anne Frank's diary. Each student should also make a toast. Notable examples showing the degree to which Miss G's are. Didactics have already had an effect on the students, including the statements made by Marcus "I want to be 18!" or "I don't want to die!" up to the description of the threatening homelessness of a boy who ends his remarks with regard to the hope that Miss G. and his classmates have given him. This scene shows that the ethnic boundaries in the class have been dismantled and replaced by a multicultural community feeling. 3.2) Pedagogy of the oppressed The approach of Miss G. particularly takes up the concept of the pedagogy of the oppressed by the Brazilian Paulo Freire, which was already discussed in previous seminar hours. In contrast to the traditional banker concept, in which the teacher accumulates education in the students, similar to money in an account, Freire relies on problem-formulating education, at the center of which is the critical reflection of the individual, which is followed by action all the more to enter a process of change. It is particularly important that students and teachers enter into a dialogue in which the life problems of the students represent the initial situation. The aim of this method is critical awareness, which Freire divides into three phases (according to LÜTJEN 2009): Phase 1: the naive-transitive awareness. Man sees his situation as unchangeable. His empirical value is therefore limited. At this level of consciousness man is of the opinion that the world as it is is willed by God. Miss G. encounters this phase at the beginning of her employment at Wilson High School. Your students are disoriented and ready to use violence because they have lived in this racial environment from the beginning and do not know anyone else. In this respect, they do not have the motivation to change anything in their lives, but continue to fight for their survival every day. 6th

7 Phase 2: the semi-transitive consciousness: Through the dialogue people perceive their living environment and the contradictions associated with it. Phase 2 occurs for the first time when Miss G. asks who has been shot at before, whereupon everyone reports. She takes this as an opportunity to play the line game so that she and her students enter into a dialogue and face life's problems. Since the line does not differentiate between individual ethnic groups, the classmates here also have to endure the physical closeness of other ethnic groups without using force. In addition to this collective dialogue, the diary provides the opportunity to deal individually with the world in which you live. The conversation with survivors of the Holocaust confronts the students in a drastic way with the life problems of other people and broadens their horizons in such a way that they can then enter the phase of critical reflection. Phase 3: critical-transitive awareness: Man not only perceives the grievances of the world in which he lives, but can also reflect them critically. He is able to find solutions to his problems. The fact that the students reflected on their views after the summer vacation is evident at the reception by Miss G. when Eva, a Latina and a black boy speculate about the name of the person who is reading from his diary. Furthermore, Marcus greets the only white boy in the class with the words: "You are still white, but I am happy to see you." Against this background it must be noted that with Miss G's. first English lesson a year earlier a brawl broke out while reading the class list. 4) Sources Freedom Writers (2007): Dir. Richard LaGravenese. Paramount Pictures. LÜTJEN, Jutta (2013): Basic features of the pedagogy of the oppressed. XXXXkoblenz.de/~luetjen/sose11/gpu.pdf (). 7th