1. INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION THEORY CMS 330 Elizabeth Davis
2. INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS FROM THE MOVIE
3. The movie Freedom Writers takes place at Woodrow Wilson High School in gang- ravaged Long Beach, California. The main events depicted take place between 19931996, beginning with scenes from the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Woodrow Wilson High is a hotbed of violence due to a voluntary integration program which brings Black, Latino, Asian, and White students together. Rather than having the desired effect of creating healthy diversity, this program breeds constant war between all parties involved, the result being daily gun shots, constant racial slurs, and gang violence. Dedicated new teacher, Erin Gruwell, takes this job with high expectations for success. However, the school recently implemented an integration plan and Ms.Gruwell encounters many at risk students. Movie Summary
4. She finds a racist drawing made by one of her students and cleverly uses it as a teaching tool to present the Holocaust. In doing so, Ms.Gruwell begins to earn her students trust and has them record their feelings in notebooks, in a diary format. She later has the individual diaries incorporated into book form, and called the Freedom Writers Diary. Summary( part 2 )
5. Summary ( part 3 ) Ms.Gruwell is innovative and goes with what works, sometimes in opposition to school policy. Her students begin being more respectful to her and their classmates. They begin to have conversations, share experiences, and learn. Ms. Gruwell obtains permission to continue teaching the same students for the next two years. She wants to prevent any regression and remains dedicated. She successfully prepared many students for graduation and further education through her methods and communication skills.
6. Interpersonal Concepts to be addressed Scripted conversations Conversational tone Formality These 4 clips indicate: (1) a scripted conversation saying the basic greetings in a short encounter (2) conversational tone of anger is indicated by the closeness and finger pointing by spatial arrangement and gesture (3) politeness and presentness indicated (4) formality is shown by facial expressions and spatial distance. 1 2 3 4
7. Scripted conversations, conversational tone, mediation technique, and formality are shown in this clip. The conversational tone is its emotional and relational quality ( how it feels inside). Scripted conversations are highly routinized. This clip from the movie shows the degree of formality as Ms Gruwells request is being discussed. This meeting involves another teacher, 2 school administrators, and a higher ranking school member. The tone is very intense. Co-narration is indicated by the female and the person next to her. They are able to finish each others thought or sentence. Their emotions are in sync. The male teacher is quick to point out Ms Gruwell is getting a divorce to deflect from the topic and to be negative and impolite. Notice the facial expressions of the meeting head showing disgust at the unwillingness to change or cooperate. The person running the meeting is insuring equal time, managing anger of the participants, and trying to deescalate conflict. He tells everyone to step back and re-group. He is acting as mediator. Interpersonal Concepts to be addressed click here
8. Protection of privacy Authenticity Presentness Equality Interpersonal Concepts to be addressed This clip demonstrates protection of privacy,authenticity, presentness, and equality. Teacher closes the door for the privacy and to indicate she will give her full attention to the student. Teacher demonstrates authenticity by communicating information and feeling that are relevant and legitimate, directly and honestly. Presentness is shown by both participants by their active listening and eye contact. Equality is evident in the manner the student is valued and respected. click here
9. Communication Setting Cultural Context The setting is the classroom. It is a closed scenario. MsGruwell is entering a hostile arena with different guidelines, and she is feeling her way around. These kids are not responsive to typical classroom discipline or punishment. Ms Gruwell must tread lightly with the different cultural groups. She must not give ground and be willing to listen to their language. She has to communicate without letting the students loose face, yet maintain her role as the teacher in charge. This is a difficult challenge but by listening, demanding respect, and by giving respect, she prevails. Click Here
10. Communication occurs within a context, a setting. Here are some clips to frame the context of this story. This movie is set two years after the,1992, LA riots shown.
11. MOVIE CLIPS
12. CONCLUSION Erin Gruwell demonstrated excellent communication skills in the film. In business, you achieve success by mastering three types of communication skills: conversational skills, writing skills and presentation skills. Erin Gruwell had a different challenge. She needed to develop communication skills that would allow her to communicate effectively with her students. This meant identifying cultural barriers to communication and then finding ways to get around them. Erin Gruwell did what she could to communicate with her students. She taught poetry by bringing a boom box to class to show how rap lyrics are a form of poetry. She listened when her students laughed at her, for not understanding the message behind some of what they were saying.
13. In addition to communicating with her students, Ms. Gruwell needed to communicate with other teachers, and administrators. In these scenes she is articulate and forceful in presenting her case. Also, she does a good job of not stooping to the level of the other teachers who attack and belittle her. She maintains her dignity when attacked by not fighting back, using a passive approach. She let her actions and her success in teaching her students speak for themselves. And, as the movie title suggests, she achieved a breakthrough when she asked her students to record their thoughts in writing. She gave her students a gift, the chance to express themselves and write about themselves and their life experiences. CONCLUSION
14. Final Notes I would not do very well in this type of situation. Ms Gruwell had extreme confidence and had to communicate to her co workers, supervisor, as well as the students. She followed through with her beliefs and remained consistent. I do not have a situation were I would put out so much of myself without having some idea of the return for my time. A classroom is not your normal setting and one misstep could be catastrophic with these kids. Yes, this movie does offer a realistic portrayal of interpersonal communication in all its aspects. The concepts of respect, face, listening, tone, purpose, management, privacy,culture shock, and disclosure to name a few. A less than competent communicator would not have survived year one at Woodrow Wilson High. These kids operate on the show me principle. They come from areas where survival and gang membership are valued over school attendance.