Film Review: Freedom Writers
Contributed by Sandra Kaiser
For those of you who believe in the instructional power of movies as much as I do, I recommend "Freedom Writers."
Not only is "Freedom Writers" a well-acted film, but it also speaks to the heart of the message that Linda Christas espouses.
The film involves a theme that has been done many times before. However, in this case, a public school teacher, being given a group of at-risk students, decides to find out about them as individuals, and armed with that information, to make a difference in their lives.
She does that by having each student keep a personal journal, a journal that records his or her daily thoughts and feelings. The students share things in their journals with the instructor and, therefore, "let her in to their lives." Equipped with their personal insights and feelings, that is, "what's really going on in their world," the teacher is able to find ways to engage her students in classroom activities, activities that the teacher must finance from her own funds on numerous occasions.
The use of daily journals, of course, is not new. The Japanese have used that method to communicate between parent and teacher for many years. What is new is the way "Freedom Writers" uses the journal concept, a method that may have many applications in today's rather impersonal school environments.
On the other hand, if the Linda Christas message were adopted by the public schools, I believe we would be better off as a Nation.
Linda Christas assumes that every teacher in every situation is aware of each student's real interests, aptitudes, learning style, skill levels and emotional maturity, in other words the kind of information that the instructor in "Freedom Writers" had to find a way to obtain, despite working in a "system," that routinely plans and executes curriculum irrespective of the people to whom the material will be presented.
Again, see "Freedom Writers." The film will touch your heart, and demonstrate yet once again, that if we will just start with the humanity of a student, that is, make the effort to know the heart and mind of each individual, most of the serious problems in American education would "fade to dark." THE END