October 25, 2008

Dangerous Minds

Yesterday, in a presentation, I was shown a video fragment of Michele Pfeiffer, who played the part of LouAnne Johnson, a teacher in a difficult inner city school. The video showed a situation in which there is palpable tension in the class room. Here is the video, I found it on Youtube. I was particularly interested in the situation in which the teacher is talking to the girl. It starts at 1:42. The girl says the teacher doesn't understand. The teacher asks: "Do you have a choice to get on that bus?" The girl challenges that she actually has a choice. After that, the teacher emotionally explains how the girl in fact has a choice. After that, the students become silent. It is an impressive fragment. The confrontational and convincing style did seem to work in this situation.

A solution-focused approach might have been interesting too, in this situation. In that case, the teacher might have listened, acknowledged what the students would have said and then might have said things like: "Yes, I understand that it must be really hard to live there and to get on that bus every day like you do. And while it is so hard and it would have been easy for you not to get on that bus and to start selling drugs or killing people ... you still manage to get on that bus. ... Can you explain that to me? What makes you decide to get on that bus every day?"

That might have been interesting, too.

1 comment:

  1. Confrontation, coercing or convincing approach of Pfeifer, the teacher, fits more in with Hollywood style of movie making and what you're saying, Coert, is that a solution focused teacher would got into the feeling with the students, hear them out, validate and understand their plight and gently push them in the direction of a hopeful future within their realm of control and abilities. The teacher pressuring the students about choices, "can't you see you're choosing to get on the bus..." in essence is similar to your other example of the Dr. insisting on the patient to remain positive. I think this video clip offers a good teaching tool for a solution focused approach. The student repeatedly invited the teacher to come and see the world in which she lives and dared her to try it for a week and all the teacher said was but you still make a choice... I, too, am interested in finding out what keeps them going and how do they resist and push through... Thank you for posting


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