Dangerous Minds and Diversity

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Dangerous Minds

Accommodating Diversity in an Educational Setting
In writing a review of a narrative in pop culture that includes a significant illustration of diversity in a school community, I chose Dangerous Minds by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (Bruckheimer, 1995). The film Dangerous Minds is based on the autobiography My Posse Don’t Do Homework by former U.S. Marine LouAnne Johnson, who took a teaching position at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, where most of the students were Hispanic and African-American. This film exhibits cultural diversity in school community in several ways from lower-class and under-privileged backgrounds to being involved in gang and drug warfare activities to simply refusing to engage in any type of learning.

Determined to reach the students, LouAnne devises classroom exercises that teach similar principles to the prearranged work, but using themes and language that fascinate the streetwise students. She also tries to motivate them by giving them all an A grade from the beginning of the year, and arguing that the only thing required of them is that they maintain it. Through poetry and other reading methods, she attempts to teach symbolism and metaphor. Once that was achieved, she progresses on to other poems and rewarded the students with a trip to a theme park, candy bar incentives, and a dinner at a nice restaurant. She also tried to teach the students how to use a verb correctly in a sentence. Her initial sentence on the board was, “We ____ meat for dinner.” The students were not interested in learning through the curriculum based instruction that was pushed onto LouAnne through the principal and assistant principal of the school. Since the students would not respond to that way of learning, she quickly revised and reiterated her way of teaching by asking them, “What is the verb in the following sentence, “We want to die.” Since this was a relative way of thinking about things for the students, they...
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