Caitlin Etherton Summary Dangerous Minds (1995) This movie is about a woman, Ms. Johnson, who decides to teach in a high school which is in a low socio economic part of north California. The kids in her English class give her and all over predecessors a hard time. They are all receiving poor grades and do not seem to care. She steps in however and gets their attention. She teaches with methods not used by other teachers and actually gets the students to care about learning. She was able to get the students attention at first by using karate. This worked because it was something they were already interested in, and already part of their lives, fighting. She also used a more universal way of teaching by bringing in more than just pen and paper teaching styles. She used poetry that talked about dying which they also related to. This movie was one of the usual inner city movies. But they do seem to always get to the viewers on an emotional level. I enjoyed seeing the characters that portrayed the inner city kids. I have been pretty sheltered throughout my life in the school system so I have never myself been in an extremely low SES school district. Seeing the way their lives were and the different incidents that happen in lower SES cities is always eye opening. They all have so many other important things to deal with in their lives, like drugs, family problems, shootings and gangs, that school work and learning obviously stay at the bottom of their to-do lists. The disabilities that the kids had in this movie all stemmed from not caring about school work. There is not actually any learning disability that any of the kids have. But because they don’t care about school, they fell behind in grades. Because they are behind teachers, the principal, and other students look down on them as if they are stupid. This is also done very often with people who do have learning disabilities. One of the Ms. Johnsons fellow teachers for example couldn’t believe that she was trying to teach her English class poetry. This statement showed that the fellow teacher did not think that the students were smart enough to pick apart poetry. In the end though, the students realize that they are smart and should apply themselves. They choose not to stick by the former stereotype that others placed on them. Caitlin Etherton Reflection Overall I enjoyed watching this movie. As I said before, I grew up very sheltered. My high school was filled with middle to upper class families. I have never been in a big city to experience a “bad” part of town. So watching this movie was only a positive experience on my path of trying to become familiar with diversity. In life I will be working in the public school system and might have low socio economic schools under my guidance. This movie has given a little light into what I might experience if that happens in my future. The automatic thought that people seem to have it that low socioeconomic areas on town house children who don’t care about school, are trouble makers, and are involved with disobeying the law. This might be true in part, based on the lifestyles that the families have that live in these neighborhoods, but that picture isn’t set in stone. There are plenty of kids who grow up in such settings that do care about their education. This movie emphasizes this. Sometimes all that is needed in a little bit of hope to get the children to work hard toward setting goals. Most media however makes it sound too easy though. High schoolers, like in this movie, know that it is not easy to have the hope needed to pull themselves up. Real life problems are always harder than movie problems in the end. Students who have fallen behind in school and grades might watch this movie and get inspired to achieve more in their lives. Hopefully that is one of the goals of making movies like Dangerous Minds.
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