Homework for Etiquette Class. 17 March

I have an excellent film in mind for the Etiquette Class—for those whose parents approve of them watching it. The film is The Freedom Writers (imdb.com), starring Hillary Swank. Kay and I found the film to be quite “clean”, considering the subject matter. But we realize that each family will want to make that judgment call themselves. (Here’s a complete review of the film’s material.)

Why? The film deals with basic human respect and the sorts of fears and biases that often get in the way of that respect. It details the experiences of rival factions in a high-divided inner-city school, and how one teacher is able to unify her classes by getting them to focus on what they have in common, as well as to get them to focus on the bigger picture of world events. She tells them of “the biggest gang ever” (The Nazis) and the Holocaust, showing them that their own experiences are nothing new in the world. And she gets them writing about their experiences, such that kids who were afraid to share anything in the beginning, became quite willing to share their thoughts by the end. She’s able to get them to overcoming the de-humanizing habits of factional thinking, such that they become good friends with one another.

This has some obvious connections to the whole subject of etiquette, as it is primarily an exercise of respect for others. So here’s the homework assignment for those who will approve of their students watching this particular film:

I’d like to see a short essay of the student’s response to the film—what he or she thinks and feels about the story and the experiences of the students in the story. How long does it have to be? Long enough to get the job done.

Due on 1 April. Essays can be submitted to me via Facebook Messenger (as an attachment), or via email at jackpelham@wemontana.org.

Parents–you know your kids best, so if you’d rather that your students not see this film, please just send me a line to let me know that I should not expect to see an essay from them.

The Freedom Writers is currently playing on Netflix. It’s also available free on Amazon Prime at present.