Next, I will turn to the educator movies and how the speeches
present in those films also contain this important characteristic. In
Freedom Writers, a new teacher struggles to bring together a classroom
divided by gang wars in the community. In one of the most powerful
scenes in the movie, Ms. Gruwell addresses her class about the
destructive nature of gangs. This scene occurs early in the film and sets
up the turning point in the teenagers’ education. Her acknowledgement
of obstacles to be overcome is less verbal, and its impact is certainly
nonverbal. She first asks her class how many people know what the
Holocaust is. The only white boy in the class raises his hand. She then
asks how many people have ever been shot at, and every other hand is
raised. The fact that a vast majority of these students don’t know basic
history but have experienced some kind of trauma in their young lives
showcases the obstacles that these students have to overcome.
Finally, I will examine the inspirational speech delivered by
Principal Clark to struggling high school students who need to pass a
standardized literacy test. The speech is delivered shortly before the
students take the state mandated test. In this speech, he states, “I want
to tell you what the people out there think about your chances. They
say you are inferior.” By telling the students this, Clark ultimately tries
to motivate the students by framing their obstacles in terms of insults.
This technique garners an intense reaction from the students—they are
angry and upset. The students know the district doesn’t think they have
a chance, but having their principal confirm it right before the test
makes the students more motivated to prove their detractors wrong.
One of the most important qualities of the motivational speech
is some recognition of obstacles. The purpose of this in the speech is
to motivate the player/students. By recognizing obstacles after they
have been overcome, such as in a pre-game speech, the
players/students feel that they have achieved something even if they
fail. Because of this, the students go into the final test or game with a
“cannot fail” attitude. When the speech happens early in the movie and
involves recognizing obstacles that have yet to come, this gives the
students/players something to work for, knowing that if they can beat
120
Previous Page Next Page