A Synopsis of the Movie Akeelah and the Bee

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Akeelah and the Bee

Akeelah is an eleven year old African American girl who lives in a low income area in California with her family. Her economic status is poverty and she realizes quickly that she is made fun of by the kids in her school for being smart. She lives with her mother and she has two brothers and one sister. Her father passed away, leaving her mother alone to raise the children. Her mother works in a hospital and life seems to be a struggle for her.

The movie “Akeelah and the Bee” is about an eleven year old girl who is raised in poor area, her father died when she was six years old. She has an older brother who is in the Army and he encourages Akeelah to compete in the spelling bee. Her other brother seems to be in trouble a lot and her older sister has a baby of her own. Akeelah’s mother is a nurse and appears to be depressed over losing her husband, raising the kids on her own, and life in general. She does not encourage Akeelah in the beginning. You find out later that her mother is very intelligent and received a scholarship, but she didn’t believe in herself. The movie reveals how everyone is affected by this eleven year old girl. Their opinions and outlook start to go in a more positive direction and everyone is cheering for Akeelah to win.

1) Girls and boys are different when it comes to bullying. Girls tend to make fun and laugh at others which are forms of bullying. Boys are usually more physical. For example, when Akeelah was trying out for the spelling bee, the two girls in the back of the room openly mocked her and made fun of her in front of everyone.

2) The most influential system in developing a self concept and self control in early childhood is having a supportive family and parents. Parents help children grow socially, physically, emotionally and intellectually by engaging in fun activities and playing together and assisting their children in developing self concept and self control (William, D., Hart, D. 1988).

3) The importance of peers for development is significant. This is a time when young children are very susceptible to pressure from others and often give in to it. They want to be part of the group, or they want to avoid being made fun of and being bullied. In Akeelah’s case, she was able to overcome peer pressure because she had a positive role model who taught her it is ok to be great, and never be afraid of greatness. He would accept no less than he knew she was capable of and by believing in her, she began to believe in herself. Dr. Larabee helped her ignore the peer pressure and achieve greatness.

4) Early in the move Akeelah’s mother Tanya exhibited an uninvolved parenting style. She was not very responsive or demanding. It appeared as if she rejected ideas of greatness from her children and was not encouraging. However, by the end of the movie she became more of an authoritative parent by becoming responsive to Akeelah’s needs, and she became encouraging.

5) Four basic ingredients of positive parenting child interactions are respect, love, encouragement, and shared enjoyment. Akeelah’s mother did not show any of the four basic ingredients of parenting in the beginning of the movie. She loved her children but she did not show it. It did not appear that she respected, encouraged or shared enjoyment with them. By the end of the movie these basic ingredients were reflected in her parenting style. She was suddenly encouraging, loving, respectful, and it appears that she was also enjoying spending time with her children again.

6) According to Piaget’s cognitive growth chart, Akeelah would be in the stage of Concrete Operations state. This stage is for children between the ages of 7-12 years old. These children are capable of concrete problem solving. Akeelah will soon be entering the stage of Formal Operations which includes children between the age of 12 years and older. For this stage,...
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