Erin Gruwell What’s the point of a voluntary integration program if the kids making it to high school have a 5th-grade reading level?
Dr. Carl Cohn I enforced that program.
Erin Gruwell With all due respect, all that program is doing is warehousing these kids until they’re old enough to disappear. […] Dr. Cohn, why should they waste their time showing up when they know we’re wasting our time teaching them? We tell them “Go to school, get an education.” And then we say, “Well, they can’t learn, so let’s not waste resources.”
PHOTOS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Scott CaseyIf you have another glass, you’re gonna have a headache.
Erin Gruwell Your bags are packed and you think the wine’s gonna give me a headache? Why are you doing this? Because I don’t pay enough attention to you?
Scott Casey No. That’s not it. I just… I feel like I’m living a life I just did not agree to, Erin, it’s just… It’s too hard. […] I think what you’re doing is noble. And it’s good. And I’m proud of you. I am. I just want to live my life and not feel bad about it.
Erin Gruwell I’m not trying to make you feel bad. [...]
Scott Casey Erin? You know, if you had to choose between us and the class, who would you pick?
Erin Gruwell If you love me, how could you ever ask me that?
Scott Casey Erin, look at me. […] You don’t want to be here either. ’Cause if you did, would you be in the classroom every night?
PHOTOS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Student Ms. G? Can I read something from my diary?
Erin Gruwell That’d be great.
Student “This summer was the worst summer in my short 14 years of life. It all started with a phone call. My mother was crying and begging, asking for more time as if she were gasping for her last breath of air. She held me as tight as she could and cried. Her tears hit my shirt like bullets and told me we were being evicted. She kept apologizing to me. I thought, ‘I have no home. I should have asked for something less expensive at Christmas.’ On the morning of the eviction, a hard knock on the door woke me up. The sheriff was there to do his job. I looked up at the sky, waiting for something to happen. My mother has no family to lean on, no money coming in. Why bother coming to school or getting good grades if I’m homeless? The bus stops in front of the school. I feel like throwing up. I’m wearing clothes from last year, some old shoes and no new haircut. I kept thinking I’d get laughed at. Instead, I’m greeted by a couple of friends who were in my English class last year. And it hits me, Ms. Gruwell, my crazy English teacher from last year is the only person that made me think of hope. Talking with friends about last year’s English and our trips, I began to feel better. I receive my schedule and the first teacher is Ms. Gruwell in room 203. I walk into the room and feel as though all the problems in life are not so important anymore. I am home.”
Erin Gruwell Yes, you are.
Ms. G wanted us to put our diaries together in a book, just like Anne Frank. […] She told us we have something to say to people. We weren’t just kids in a class anymore. We were writers with our own voices, our own stories. And even if nobody else read it, the book would be something to leave behind that said we were here, this is what happened, we mattered. Even if it was just to each other. And we won’t forget.
PHOTOS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Freedom Writers. Direction: Richard LaGravenese. Germany/United States: Paramount Pictures, Double Feature Films, MTV Films, Jersey Films, Kernos Filmproduktionsgesellschaft & Company, 2007. 123 min, color.
3 In your notebook, answer these questions about the different educational systems portrayed in this unit.
a Does Freedom Writers criticize the educational system? If so, how?
Professor/a, é importante chamar a atenção dos/as estudantes para o contraste no filme entre a postura e as atitudes da professora Erin Gruwell e as dos/das demais professores/ professoras. Os/As estudantes do filme eram muitas vezes rotulados/as como “incapazes” e “impossíveis”; em vista disso, pouca atenção lhes era devotada, de forma que a maioria do corpo docente e administrativo acreditava em (e de certa forma esperava) sua evasão.
b How did Ms. Gruwell invite students to reflect about their relationships with each other? Why is it important?
Professor/a, espera-se que os/as estudantes mencionem que isso ocorre de diferentes formas, por exemplo, por meio de um convite à empatia (“Would this be funny if it were a picture of you?”) e com a dinâmica do “Line Game”, pela qual a professora mostrou o quanto há em comum entre os/as jovens que eram hostis e violentos/as com os/as colegas. No momento em que os/as estudantes se dão conta de que sofrem dores muito parecidas e que todos/as perdem com a situação de violência que vivem e que alimentam, eles/elas tornam-se mais sensíveis e abertos/as à reflexão.
c How did Ms. Gruwell transform the initial resistance students offered to her?
Professor/a, pode-se dizer que principalmente por meio da demonstração de preocupação e cuidado com as histórias de vida de cada estudante, bem como de um compromisso com seu futuro, a professora Erin passa a ganhar o respeito e o carinho dos/as estudantes. Até então, a maior parte deles/delas havia sido tratada com repulsa e desvalorização por parte da sociedade e da escola. No entanto, a experiência com Erin começa a dar sentido à vida de cada um/uma para além da violência, fazendo-os/as perceber que são importantes.
d Is it possible to draw a comparison between the students from “Another Brick in the Wall — Part 2” and those from Freedom Writers?
Professor/a, espera-se que os/as estudantes notem que os/as estudantes retratados/as na canção eram crianças e jovens britânicos/as do período do pós-guerra, uma época de intensa vigilância ideológica por parte dos dois blocos políticos estabelecidos na Guerra Fria. Também por influência do contexto histórico e do tipo de educação que vigorava, não tinham liberdade de expressão na escola (a começar pelos uniformes) e pareciam apáticos/as. No filme, os/as estudantes têm origens étnicas diversas e vivem um momento de acentuada violência nos Estados Unidos, em virtude, sobretudo, da intolerância racial. A maioria enfrentou momentos bastante difíceis na infância, o que se reflete em seu comportamento agressivo e desafiador na maior parte do tempo.
e How are the types of education portrayed in the song and in the movie similar/different?
Professor/a, espera-se que os/as estudantes percebam que o tipo de educação retratada na canção da banda Pink Floyd é bastante autoritária no que diz respeito à relação entre professores/professoras e estudantes, ao currículo e ao ambiente escolar. A educação apresentada no filmeEscritores da liberdadetraz uma outra proposta (além de se passar em outra época e em outro local). A professora Erin Gruwell procura valorizar a individualidade de cada estudante, demonstrando empatia com suas histórias e buscando criar laços que facilitem o processo de aprendizagem. Com essa finalidade, ela os estimula a escrever em seus diários como forma de valorizar suas vozes, postura essa que vai na contramão da repressão presente na música “Another Brick in the Wall – Part 2”.
4 Identify examples of nonstandard dialects in the dialogues of the movie. Why are they used?
Professor/a, espera-se que os/as estudantes identifiquem exemplos de dialeto não padrão, como o uso de dupla negativa (“You don’t know nothing”), flexões verbais não padrão (“We was here first”; “You got no respect for how we living”) e supressão do auxiliar have (“You don’t know what we got to do”). Outros sinais de linguagem coloquial são a abreviaçãogonna(em vez degoing to) e a supressão do auxiliardono início de perguntas. Esses usos sinalizam o aspecto identitário que carregam, como vernáculo de várias populações.
5 Now look at the sentences highlighted in the dialogues. What do they have in common?
b They all express relationships of condition, that is, the occurrence of an event presented in one clause depends on the fulfillment of a condition presented in the other clause.
c They all express relationships of comparison, that is, they demonstrate similarity or difference between the events presented in each clause.
Resposta: b Página 75
6 Analyze each group of sentences highlighted in yellow, blue and green in activity 2. Then answer these questions in your notebook.
a Which group of sentences expresses a fact based on a certain condition?
b Which one expresses a future possibility based on a present condition?
c Which one expresses a hypothesis based on an imaginary situation?
7 Based on the structure of the sentences, answer these questions in your notebook.
a Which group of sentences is formed by if + verb in the present (simple or progressive) the present (simple or progressive)?
III Green. verb in
b Which one is formed by if + verb in the present (simple or progressive) or be going to)?
III Green. verb in the future (will
c Which one is formed by if + verb in the past (simple or progressive) base form?
III Green. would/could + verb in the
Professor/a, sugere-se chamar a atenção dos/as estudantes para a forma de passado do verboto beem construções hipotéticas. Tradicionalmente, ele adquire a formawerepara todas as pessoas gramaticais (como pode ser visto em “Would this be funny if it were a picture of you?”). No entanto, cada vez mais vem sendo usada a formawaspara as pessoasI,he,sheeit, seguindo a conjugação tradicional do verbo nopresent simple(“If it was up to me, I wouldn’t even be in school.”).
8 Which of these sentences does not mean the same as “I will not read them unless you give me permission”?
Professor/a, é possível indicar para os/as estudantes que expressões comoas long as,provided (that),supposingein casetambém podem ser usadas para dar sentido condicional à oração.
a I will not read them if you don’t give me permission.
b I will not read them if you give me permission.
c I will only read them if you give me permission.
Resposta: II Página 76
What will change if students become more aware of how similar their life stories and issues are?
If you were a student in Erin Gruwell’s class, how would you react to her initiative? Why?
What would you do if you had to teach the group of students portrayed in the movie Freedom Writers? What kind of project would you promote in order to integrate and motivate them?
If there were more teachers like Erin Gruwell, how could students benefit? What about the community as a whole? How would it benefit?
9 The movieFreedom Writerswas based on a true story that was turned into a nonfiction book, entitledThe Freedom Writers Diary. Read some excerpts from the book and discuss the questions in small groups.Respostas pessoais.
“I always say that the young people are the future of the world, and if we start with them first, if we educate and develop a sense of tolerance among them, our future, the future of this world, will be in good hands for generations to come.”
“No matter what race we are, what ethnic background, sexual orientation, or what views we may have, we are all human. Unfortunately, not all humans see it that way.”
“I have always been taught to be proud of being Latina, proud of being Mexican, and I was. I was probably more proud of being a ‘label’ than of being a human being, that’s the way most of us were taught.”
“Silence ensures that history repeats itself.”
GRUWELL, E.; THE FREEDOM WRITERS. The Freedom Writers Diary. New York: Broadway, 2009, p. xvi, 40, 93, 250.
a Do you agree or disagree with them? Why?
b Do you identify with the story told in the book/movie?
Schooling around the world
Professor/a, sugestões de atividade extra para esta seção encontram-se no Guia Didático, página 239.
1 In your opinion, how are educational systems organized? Do you think all the countries in the world share the same school system? Discuss with a partner.
2 How is the educational system organized in Brazil? Analyze the diagram to check your answer.