My beliefs align closely with the teaching I see occurring in this film. I love how Ron Clark begins his class with building community. He
creates a series of classroom rules that he paints on posters, and decorates the room with them. He also puts a tree on the wall in his classroom that says, “We are Family”. Throughout the movie, he is continuously trying to find ways to bring them together. This connects to ENGL 483 because we began our own
class building community through our name tags, and sharing how we got our names. Additionally, through readings by authors like Gloria Ladson-Billings
and Linda Christensen who emphasizes using student’s interests and culture to connect materials to students, and also expose them to the world. Ron Clark
does a good job of this by creating the “president’s rap” using his student’s “funds of knowledge” as a vehicle to connecting a topic that students were
Another key point I notice was that Ron Clark didn’t just assign things for students to write or read or study. He guided them through the process. ENGL 482 has taught me the importance of actually teaching students how to write or understand a concept versus just assigning them to do something. Mr. Clark asks students to do a “quick write” for homework in their MLK journals…none of the student’s do it because they don’t believe in his ability as a teacher at that point in the film. He realizes that isn’t connecting with students, therefore he goes back and problem solves a way to connect writing and grammar to students. I agree with this because as teachers it can be difficult to understand if students will comprehend what you are trying to teach or do with a lesson. But, this film certainly emphasized the role “creativity” and “problem solving” play in the daily grind of an everyday teacher.
Since this film is from the 1990’s, there was not as much media available or use. Therefore, I didn’t see any connections to media literacy or technology. But, I believe had it been available Ron Clark would find a way to have students use it. Ron Clark has his own school in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am 100% sure they utilize innovative and creative teaching methods for the “millennial” student of today at this school.
Here is a clip of Ron engaging students in the 21st century:
This will inform the way I think about teaching as I move forward because I wish to be an innovative educator, and I am always thinking about how my students will engage in certain materials. Ron Clark’s story inpires me to continue to believe in the power of building community, and it shows that all of the hard work and time teacher’s put in problem solving and creating lessons can and will pay off in the long run.