How to use textbook effectively?

 

A short reflection on using textbook effectively: the Nepalese context.

“I have to cover the syllabus.”

“I have no time to do the activities suggested by the trainers as I have to cover the course book.”

“I have to teach 3-4 books viz. Main course book, Grammar book, Conversation book and literature.”

These are some of the reasons given by the English teachers for not following the advice given in the training. I could not shun these comments by simply labelling them mere pretence of apathetic educators. The contents of the educators were not simply weaving some elusive story-lines, they contain latent despair. They are heavily burdened with the unnecessary collection of textbooks, distressing time-table, and a meagre salary. The list may continue.

They constantly leap from one book to another not knowing what to do with so many books. They find numerous overlaps, but cannot do anything to supersede this. Most of the educators do not know what to do with this. They do not have a choice but to follow the directives of the school administration and course book writers.

There are many school level textbooks available in the market in different size and colours. Most of them claim to cover the contents prescribed by CDC and ironically many of them fail to comply. However isolated these books might seem from the curriculum, they contain everything necessary for language learners. These books are carefully graded and contain Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Vocabulary and grammar contents are embedded in these textbooks. Teaching one textbook creatively is enough for achieving the aim of the curriculum, but the students are burdened with at least 2/3 books. The teachers embark on the journey of covering all the contents of these books from the beginning of an Academic Year and hence no creativity.

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Fig. an example of course content (Better English, Koselee)

What can the teachers do to avoid this?

  • Do not consider the textbooks as the Bible as if you cannot alter a single word. Unfortunately, this is the case to most of the teachers in Nepal.
  • It is not necessary to have a separate book to teach grammar. It can be used as a reference book as the main course books cover the grammar content.
  • Prepare the scheme of work so that you can have a road-map for your lesson. This helps to avoid unnecessary overlaps.

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Fig.2. an example of unit plan
  • SARS the textbook:
    • SELECT the materials that are appropriate and useful for your students.
    • ADAPT some materials to suit your students’ needs and background.
    • REJECT materials that are unsuitable
    • SUPPLEMENT the course book with material of your own or from other books (e.g. resource books)

These suggestions cannot solve all the problems teachers are facing in teaching English Language Teaching but can ease the burden. Happy TEACHING!

Acronyms:

SARS: Select, Adapt, Reject and Supplement

CDC: Curriculum Development Center

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He

bald maths teacher

He is a teacher, a public high school math teacher, who has been teaching for more than two decades. His forehead has done a vast amount of encroachment on his head. The continually increasing area of his forehead and black hairs turning greyish white are the only proof that he is growing old.

Nothing has changed except for his forehead and his hairs.

His voice.

His sense of humour.

Always same, always charming and always cheap.

His moral lessons and life plan are simple. He wants to spank his pupils but cannot. The education system does not allow him.

He complains. He was a respected teacher in his youth. A spanking stick was enough for a good teacher like him. He recalls how he spanked his pupils and they all respected him. A stick was enough for discipline. Homework in time. No fight. No bullying.

He is not happy with I/NGOS and bideshi. They snatched his right to use a stick. He detests training. He is no more a respected teacher.

He bitterly expresses his dissatisfaction, ‘The training are good for nothing. They are making us inefficient.’

His colleagues laugh. He laughs. Everyone laughs.

He likes making fun of foreigners and trainers. He has no interests in their expertise and their suggestions. Neither do they. He asks their ages and laughs.

Teacher @ Heart !

heart

After teaching for almost 13 years, I have come to the conclusion that I was not a teacher at all for the first half-dozen of years. I was a good coach. My job was to prepare each and every student for the final examination. My success was directly proportional to the number of students get through the final examination.

The duty of a good coach is to prepare the people he is coaching for a particular purpose, i.e. to win. Frequent drill, memorization, practice, harsh punishments, strenuous homework, classwork, yelling, shouting, spanking etc. were my strategies. My strategies worked well for almost six years.I would proudly look at the result of the final examination and be contended. I became one of the sought after teachers, thanks to the education system of Nepal.

I would find a place to stand on one of the corridors, or in a playground and search for the prey like a lion in African grassland. My easy preys were the innocent primary students who break school code of conduct. I would pull their ears like rubber bands. Pull their sideburns and get quenched my thirst for discipline. Their tears were the proof or the dose of disciplinary action taken against them. This continued until 2006.

I started reflecting on my teaching. Thanks to the Facebook, one fine morning I got a tag for a group photo. It was a group photo of a class of which I was a class teacher. I had almost forgotten many faces. The students were nicely arranged according to their height and sex. I was in middle, smiling. One comment went straight into my heart like a dagger. It pierced my heart. It was something nasty about me. Dozens of comments followed it with some more creative comments on my behaviour with them. Most of them were college students by then. I hardly believed that I was that notorious among my students. My first reaction was: What on earth is this? I was a good teacher.

That incident changed me. I became sensitive to students. I realised that I had been treating my students as damaged objects that are brought to me to get fixed. The realisation changed me to a teacher at heart.

I became a teacher @ heart.

I started a mission: Apologise for the past mistake and be changed a teacher.

It didn’t work as expected. My reputation as a tough teacher changed. I got opposition from parents, school administration and other friends. It was my goal to change myself.

The result: I got forgiveness. The students got changed. Their behaviour changed. I changed.

Many students got surprised when I asked forgiveness. Many couldn’t believe.

However, I’m committed.

Transformation is changing oneself to change others.

The benefit of being a teacher at heart.

  • My lesson reflects me. Most of the teachers’ teaching is fake. They teach something else and do another, hence, no trust.
  • Students trust me. They trust me because I don’t pretend that I know everything. I’m just a partner in a learning process.
  • Students LOVE me. This is the greatest achievement a teacher gets.
  • I know who I’m and I know what I can and can’t do. I know my limit as a teacher.

 

School Sector Reform Plan a big thing to talk about…….. (Do what you say!)

I presume 99% of teachers don’t read educational policies; leave alone reading something for professional development or pleasure.

SSRP (School Sector Reform Plan) has become one of the major talk of the town at present. Many workshops are conducted where many big heads take turn to point out the fissures it has. They have a list of areas for improvement. Recently, Rato Bangala Foundation conducted a series of workshops and presentation on “Quality of Education”. Kathmandu declaration is formulated and circulated. However, a question remains unanswered; “How much serious the government, in particular MoE, in implementing the outcome and addressing the suggestion given to it?

Nepal is good at writing policies, many say and agree on it, but when the time for implementation comes …………………! We, who aim to change the education system in Nepal, should not make SSRP or whatever the plan and policies are formulated,  a subject of talk but an object to do it.

There are many who has memorized the policies from Preface to Appendixes. However, we simply need the people who do the talk and talk the acts.

Why do you need my qualification? Are you offering me a job?

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“What is your qualification?” asked a new friend of mine whom I met in an education conference. “I’ve done master in English Literature and Bachelors in Education”, I replied quite cynically. I usually get confused with such direct questions? I don’t understand the implied meaning of such questions. These two words “Qualification” and “education” are often used synonymously in Nepal. “What do you do?” is often asked to a new person in introduction. The implied meaning of this question differs from person to person and it depends on the person the question is asked to. The hidden implication is an unceasing quest for trying to know qualification.

Why do people ask such question? I wonder, they even don’t have to offer me a job, but I am always intimidated with such questions. I have bitter experience of asking such questions. Once I asked a person the same question, he could do nothing but smiled cynically. His face was sarcastic. I said nothing. Later, I came to know that he didn’t have any formal degree. I regretted. I decided that I’ll never ask such question to anyone.

Some ask this question unknowingly, they don’t have hidden meaning. Others ask this question knowingly to brag. Many a times, I’m tempted to ask them back “Why do you need my qualification? Are you offering me a job?”

Inspirational Movies everyone should watch I

1. Temple Grandin

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Plot

The film starts off with Temple visiting her aunt for the summer and working on her ranch. She becomes interested in a cattle crush, a device that hugs the cows to “gentle them”. One day, while having a panic attack, Temple places herself in the device and it helps to calm her down.

When Temple first attended college, she was very nervous when she moved into her college dorm. Temple had another panic attack in her room, but her mother gave her space by closing the door. Immediately after, her mother had a flashback to when Temple was little and had relentless tantrums. Before that, Temple was diagnosed with classic autism, a severe case of autism in which she seemed aloof, lacked eye contact, had no language, and avoided human affection and touch.

At this time, science classified autism as a form of schizophrenia, blaming mothers as the cause for the disorder and claiming that they were cold and aloof toward their autistic child, naming them “refrigerator mothers“. The diagnostician suggested placing Temple in an institution. Temple’s mother refused to listen to the diagnostician and helped Temple adapt to the everyday world. Her mother hired a speech therapist, who worked one-on-one with Temple and enabled her to acquire language.

During Temple’s college years, she conceptualized the squeeze machine, which was designed for herself because she had a sensory integration dysfunction and disliked physical affection by people. The machine hugs both sides of her to calm her down, as she controls the pressure, and it makes her relaxed whenever she becomes tense.

Even though the machine worked, the school forced Temple to remove it, claiming that it was some kind of sexual device. Later after spring break ended, Temple and her aunt came back to school to persuade the school to let her use the device. Temple later proved through rigorous scientific study that the machine was only a calming device and, as a result, she was allowed to keep it. She uses this machine for self-medicating reasons ever since.

Later on, the movie flashes back to when Temple was just being admitted to Hampshire Country School. She was expelled from her previous high school because a child taunted her and she hit him with a book. There, she meets a supportive teacher, Dr. Carlock, who encourages her to go further into science as a career and to eventually attend college.

Temple does indeed graduate from college and becomes a worker at a ranch. She rebuilds a new dip, and alters a slaughterhouse for cows so that it is much more humane. The film concludes with an autism fair convention, which Temple and her mother attend.

Temple speaks out from the crowd and tells the audience how she overcame her difficulties and was able to achieve academically, as well as how her mother helped her deal with the everyday world. The people become so fascinated that they request Temple to speak in front of the auditorium.

Cast and characters

  • Claire Danes as Temple Grandin
  • Catherine O’Hara as Aunt Ann, Temple’s aunt and sister of Eustacia. As a teenager, Temple often visited her Arizona cattle ranch during the summer.
  • Julia Ormond as Eustacia Grandin, Temple’s mother. When Temple was younger, Eustacia was in denial over the doctor’s diagnosis of Temple’s autism. Eustacia was determined to have her daughter receive an education and lead a normal life despite the diagnosis.
  • David Strathairn as Dr. Carlock, Temple’s boarding school science teacher and mentor. Carlock was aware of Temple’s visual skills and was supportive in furthering her education.

Development

The idea for a biopic of Grandin originated with its executive producer Emily Gerson Saines, a successful talent agent and a co-founder of the nonprofit Autism Coalition for Research and Education (now part of Autism Speaks). In the mid-1990s, Gerson Saines was a vice-president at the William Morris Agency when her 2-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. She learned about Grandin soon afterward, when her mother told her about seeing Grandin’s book Thinking in Pictures in a bookstore and, around the same time, her grandmother independently sent her an article about Grandin by Oliver Sacks.[1][2]

Reading about Grandin renewed Gerson Saines’ “energy, motivation and spirit” in coping with her son’s condition. “Temple’s story brought me hope and (her mother)’s story gave me direction and purpose,” Gerson Saines said in a later interview. “Parents of a child with autism everywhere need to hear it, functionally and spiritually. I knew this story had to be told and given my access as a talent representative in the entertainment industry, I felt it was my responsibility to make that happen.” Through Grandin’s agent, Gerson Saines asked to meet Grandin for lunch. “She came in wearing her cowgirl shirt—-in her very Temple way, in her very Temple walk. I realized that there were people staring at her, and in a different lifetime I might have been one of them, but all I could think of was, ‘I can’t believe how lucky I am to be here. This woman’s my hero.'”[1][2]

Grandin was familiar with Gerson Saines’ work with the Autism Coalition and granted her permission to make the film, but the endeavor—first launched in the late 1990s—would take more than ten years to come to fruition.[1][3] Variety reported in 2002 that David O. Russell was attached to direct the film from a screenplay by Merritt Johnson (adapting from Grandin’s memoirs Emergenceand Thinking in Pictures).[4] Russell later dropped out and was replaced by Moises Kaufman, who also left the project. By 2008, director Mick Jackson had taken the helm and Claire Danes was in negotiations to star as Grandin. Johnson’s script had been replaced by one from Christopher Monger (both Johnson and Monger are credited as writers of the finished film).[1][5]

One element Gerson Saines was sure about from the beginning was that she wanted to work with HBO, in part because of her longstanding relationship with the network through her work as an agent. “But I also knew that by going that route, more people will see it,” she said. “When you’re trying to make a movie like this,” it’s very rare that it reaches a wide audience.” HBO was equally intrigued by the story, and Gerson Saines credits past and present HBO executives with keeping the project alive until it could be properly realized. “I made a commitment to Temple that I was going to make it and make it right…I never pushed to get it made until now, because now we got it right.”[1][5]

Jackson knew early on that Danes was his first choice to portray Grandin, believing that Danes’ seriousness and dedication would help her to capture Grandin’s mercurial mental and emotional shifts without veering the film into disease-of-the-week melodrama. Danes herself was coming off a string of more lightweight roles (whose “primary job and experience [was] to become gaga over a man,” she described) and eager to take on a more demanding part. Although she was only vaguely aware of Grandin at the time, Danes dove into research, including watching documentaries about Grandin and studying Grandin’s books and recordings. “It was really daunting, because she’s alive and has a great eye for detail,” Danes said. The two women spent about six hours together in Danes’ apartment, ending with a hug from Grandin (“For her, that’s not easy,” Danes observed), which Danes was glad to take as validation that Grandin approved of her for the role.[6]

Production

Temple Grandin began shooting in October 2008 at Austin Studios in Austin, Texas.[3][7] The film was noted for filming in Texas at a time when TV and film production had grown scarce in the state, and legislators were seeking to expand financial incentives to draw more film crews. Grandin producer Scott Ferguson said that Arizona, New Mexico and Canada had all been considered before producers had chosen Texas, in part because different areas of the state could be used to represent the rural West and New England. Ferguson also credited the abundance of trained film crews in the Austin and Dallas regions as a significant benefit to shooting in the area.[8]

Gerson Saines brought Grandin to observe the last day of shooting, which was a scene involving a cattle dip tank that Grandin had designed.[1][6] Although Grandin said that she tried to stay away from Danes to avoid impinging on her performance, she was quite concerned about the proper construction of the tank and about the breed of cattle being used in the scene. “I thought, we can’t have a silly thing like that City Slickers movie, where they had Holstein cattle out there,” Grandin said. “If you know anything about cattle, you’d know that was stupid.” She said watching Danes on the monitors was “like going back in a weird time machine to the ’60s.”[6]

Release

Promotion

The film was previewed on January 27 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, in a screening attended by Grandin.[9] A trailer was previewed for critics during their winter press tour on January 14; critics responded positively to “the film’s bright palette and inventive direction.”[10]

HBO and bookstore chain Barnes & Noble partnered to promote both the film and Grandin’s books, displaying information about autism and the film in all Barnes & Noble stores and creating a free downloadable coloring book about Grandin, using illustrations by autistic artists. Grandin appeared for a special book signing, discussion and preview of the film at a Manhattan Barnes & Noble on January 25.[11]

Reception

Upon its February 6, 2010 debut, Temple Grandin received positive reviews from critics, including a Metacritic score of 84/100 (averaged from 19 critical reviews).[12] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 100% approval rating, based on 6 reviews.[13]

Entertainment Weeklys Jennifer Armstrong wrote, “The beauty of [the film] is that it makes the title character’s autism — and the unique insight it gave her into livestock psychology — relatable to anyone with a heart, and fascinating to anyone with a brain. The fact that it does so with such a singular story only makes the movie that much greater.”[14] Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times called it “a made for-television biopic that avoids the mawkish clichés of the genre without draining the narrative of color and feeling. Ms. Danes is completely at ease in her subject’s lumbering gait and unmodulated voice. She makes Temple’s anxiety as immediate and contagious as her rarer bursts of merriment… And as the character ages and learns more social graces, Ms. Danes seamlessly captures Temple’s progress.”[15]

Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote that unlike many other HBO productions, “Temple is an incredibly joyous and often humorous film.” While praising the direction and the strong supporting cast of Catherine O’Hara, David Strathairn, and Julia Ormond, Bianco declared that “as good as everything is around them, Temple Grandin belongs to two women: the real Temple, who appears to be a spectacular human being, and Danes, who is clearly a spectacular actor.”[16] The AV Club‘s Noel Murray, himself the father of an autistic son, wrote that “some of the movie’s aesthetic choices border on the cliché. The pulsing minimalism of Alex Wurman’s score has become as much a shorthand for ‘intellectual mystery’ as Arabic wailing has for ‘Danger! Terrorists!,’ and Temple Grandin’s illustrative animated sequences run a little too close to A Beautiful Mind for my taste.” However, Murray gave the film an A-, in part for Danes’ success in portraying Grandin as a full-fledged personality instead of “a checklist of symptoms gleaned from a medical journal.”[17]

NPR‘s David Bianculli unambiguously named the film “the best tele-movie of the past several years… I can’t praise this movie highly enough. It’s not maudlin or sentimental, but it is excitingly inspirational. It scores big emotional points with very small touches, the sound of a heartbeat, a tentative touch, a victorious smile. The acting, writing, directing, production values, every sight and every sound in HBO’s Temple Grandin is perfect.”

2. Courageous

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Courageous is a 2011 independent Christian drama film, directed by Alex Kendrick, produced by Sherwood Pictures and was released to theaters on September 30, 2011. It is the fourth film by Sherwood Pictures, the creators of FlywheelFacing the Giants, and Fireproof. Filming in Albany, Georgia concluded in June 2010. The film was marketed by Sony‘s Provident Films, which also marketed their previous films.

The film was directed by Alex Kendrick, who co-wrote its screenplay with his brother Stephen Kendrick. Kendrick also stars in the film, along withKen BevelKevin Downes, and former running-back Tony Stallings. About half of the cast and crew were volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church, while the remainder were brought on through invitation-only auditions.

The film was produced with a budget of $2 million, but on its opening weekend it grossed $2 million in pre-sales alone and grossed $9.1 million total for the weekend. The film opened to mixed reviews from critics, but a rare A+ CinemaScore rating from filmgoers.

Plot

As the police force of Albany, Georgia, attempts to stop gangs and drug dealing activity in the city, the sheriff urges his deputies to spend time with their families, citing research that shows fatherless children are several times more likely to get into trouble in life, including crime. Among his deputies are Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick), Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel), Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes), and rookie David Thomson (Ben Davies). Mitchell adores his nine-year-old daughter, Emily, but is distant from his fifteen-year-old son, Dylan. Hayes never knew his biological father but would risk his life to save his three children; however, his teenage daughter Jade (Taylor Hutcherson), resents him because he has strict rules about dating. Fuller is divorced, as were his parents, and has joint custody of his son. Thomson is young and single. The group also befriends Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya), an immigrant struggling to provide for his family, and Mitchell recommends him to a new full-time job, where he is hired.

One tragic day, Emily is killed by a drunk driver, devastating Mitchell and his family. Following his daughter’s death, Mitchell reads a lot about fatherhood in the Bible. He decides he must be a better father and crafts a detailed “Resolution” to honor God in every aspect of his family. Mitchell, Hayes, Fuller, Thomson, and Martinez join him in his resolution at a formal ceremony conducted by Hayes’s neighborhood mentor, the man he thinks of as a father. Mitchell rebuilds a relationship with his son and receives some relief of his guilt at his daughter’s death. Hayes mends his relationship with his daughter and presents her with a purity ring that he asks her to wear until she is married. He also visits the grave of his biological father who he had never met and forgives him. Fuller improves his relationship with his son. Thomson reveals that he fathered a child in college and deserted the mother after she refused to have an abortion. He writes the mother a letter seeking a relationship with his daughter and encloses some support money. Martinez’s factory employer offers him a promotion on the condition that he falsify inventory documents. Martinez refuses, and his boss reveals that the request was a test of Martinez’s integrity. The boss promotes Martinez and gives him a raise.

Mitchell discovers that Fuller has been stealing drugs from police evidence. Mitchell decides he must honor his Resolution and decides to report the corruption. He sets up a sting leading to Fuller’s arrest and imprisonment. Mitchell visits Fuller in jail where Fuller takes responsibility for his actions and asks Mitchell to look after his son, which Mitchell agrees to do.

During a minor traffic stop, Hays and Thomson unknowingly confront the armed leader of a gang they have been repeatedly encountering. The incident turns into a roadside gun battle, and the gang leader attempts to take a young girl hostage. Mitchell and other officers arrive as backup. The girl’s father helps Hays subdue a suspect, and Mitchell assists in arresting a second suspect. One of the gang members is Derrick Freeman (David Howze), a teenager who Hays had earlier prohibited from dating his daughter; Derrick attributes his decisions to his lack of a father.

At a Father’s Day church service, the men present the Resolution and Mitchell urges the fathers in the congregation to be a Godly influence on their families. Mitchell runs in a 5K race with his son and Fuller’s son. Hayes reads the Bible in prison with Derrick. Thomson meets his daughter for the first time. The film ends with a quote from Joshua 24:15: “Choose today who you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Cast

  • Alex Kendrick as Adam Mitchell
  • Ken Bevel as Nathan Hays
  • Kevin Downes as Shane Fuller
  • Ben Davies as David Thomson
  • Renee Jewell as Victoria Mitchell
  • Elanor Brown as Kayla Hayes
  • Taylor Hutcherson as Jade Hayes
  • Robert Amaya as Javier Martinez
  • Rusty Martin as Dylan Mitchell
  • Angelita Nelson as Carmen Martinez
  • Lauren Etchells as Emily Mitchell
  • David Howze as Derrick Freeman
  • Tony ‘T.C.’ Stallings as T.J.
  • Ed Litton as Pastor Rogers

Awards

2012 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

  • WON- Best of Festival[3]
  • WON- Best Feature Film[3]

2012 Epiphany Prize

  • WON- Most Inspiring Movie

2012 Grace Award

  • WON- Most Inspiring Performance in Movies, Alex Kendrick
  • NOMINATED- Most Inspiring Performance in Movies, Robert Amaya

Source : wikipedia

Inspirational Movie an educator should watch (Part V)

Image Gifted Hands. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story is a 2009 movie directed by Thomas Carter, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kimberly Elise. It is a movie based on the life story of world-renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson from 1961 to 1987. A Johnson and Johnson Spotlight Presentation, the movie aired onTNT on Saturday, February 7, 2009. Its title was re-used from a 1992 direct-to-video documentary about Ben Carson released by Zondervan.

Synopsis

The movie begins in 1987, where Dr. Ben Carson (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) goes to Germany to visit a couple named Peter and Augusta Rausch, who havetwins conjoined at the head. Ben knows that chances of saving them both will be a risk, because one baby always dies in situations like that. Ben agrees to do the operation, but he will wait four months so he can come up with a plan to save them both. While looking into some of his books, the movie flashes back to the year 1961, where 11 year old Ben Carson (Jaishon Fisher) starts out life as an African American child from a one-parent home with failing grades at school. Ben has an older brother named Curtis. His mother, who dropped out in the third grade, starts making decisions for him. When her boys need to learn multiplication tables, she has them swear to learn them while she is gone to check herself into a mental institution. When she sees her two sons’ success hindered by TV, she schedules timings to watch TV, boys show great interest in watching only a quiz show later on and commands them to read two books per week from the library and give her a book report, she also moves them to better schools. Meanwhile as time passes, Ben learns how to multiply and to spell. He starts to explore the world of books, and he grows in it. He begins to show a temper; Ben almost kills his friend who tells him to go to hell. He used his new knife to stab him and it broke when it hit the buckle of his belt. Having almost killed someone because of his temper, he realizes that he can’t do anything about it. He runs to his room and cries out to God, praying that he delivers him from his temper. He becomes the top student in his eighth grade class, third in his high school class and with hard work and strong determination, he got a scholarship to college, passed the MCAT and went on to medical school. He meets his girlfriend Candy, whom he falls in love with. One day, when he struggles with a test study, she helps him out and Ben eventually passes and gets an A. In the year 1976, Carson faced adversity from fellow doctors and students while working at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. It is here, where he performed an operation as a resident without supervision, risking his medical career to save a man’s life. Then in the year of 1985, he saves the life of a girl who has seizures 100 times a day, by removing only the half of her brain that was responsible for seizures in a procedure called ‘hemispherectomy”. After two children, Candy, his wife, becomes pregnant with twins, but loses the babies from a bloody miscarriage. Ben’s mother later moves in with the family. Then the movie goes back to where it began: the year of 1987. Ben is eventually convinced to operate on the two twins, and he manages to make the operation successful, and both wins are saved.

 

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Finding Forrester Finding Forrester is a 2000 American drama film written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van Sant. A black American teenager, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), is invited to attend a prestigious private high school. By chance, Jamal befriends a reclusive writer, William Forrester (Sean Connery), through whom he refines his natural talent for writing and comes to terms with his identity. Anna PaquinF. Murray AbrahamMichael PittApril GraceNaturi Naughton and Busta Rhymes star in supporting roles. Connery also served as one of the film’s producers. The premise of Forrester being an author who gains world fame from a hugely popular book but then stops publishing to retreat into a reclusive life has strong similarities to J. D. Salinger‘s career. Sixteen year old Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) sleeps in his bedroom in New York City, surrounded by stacks of books, and then jumps up to go meet his friends on the basketball court. A recluse (Sean Connery) lives on the top floor of the building across from the basketball courts where Jamal and his friends play. They regularly notice him watching them from his window, although they never see his face, referring to him simply as ‘The Window’. One day after school, one of the boys dares Jamal to sneak into the apartment and retrieve an item. Jamal accepts the challenge and sneaks in through the window. He steals a knife-like letter opener only to be surprised by the recluse and flees, inadvertently leaving his backpack behind. Later, Jamal confronts a man outside the apartment delivering supplies and displays his gifted intellect discussing the history of the BMWCorporation, in reference to the man’s car. After the man leaves, Jamal’s backpack is dropped to the street in a ghostly manner. Jamal returns home to find that the recluse has read his journals and made editorial notes in them, crossing out line after line and making other marks in red ink. Jamal returns to the apartment and requests that the man read more of his writing, only to be told to begin with 5,000 words on why he should “stay the fuck out of my home,” which Jamal completes and leaves on the doorstep the following day.

Plot

Jamal returns the next day, and is invited inside. While initially taunting Jamal with veiled racial threats, the man displays an intimate knowledge of Jamal gained from peering out the window, knowing that Jamal had been visited by a representative from Mailor-Callow, a prestigious private school that offered Jamal a full academic scholarship. The man knows the school wants Jamal, first and foremost, for his skill on the basketball court. Jamal learns that the recluse is in fact William Forrester, the author of a famous book, ‘Avalon Landing’. Forrester agrees to help Jamal with his writing as long as Jamal doesn’t ask prying questions about his personal life. Jamal agrees and grows closer to Forrester causing his in-class writing work to get far better than what his literary professor, Robert Crawford (Abraham), feels a 16 year-old black basketball-player from the Bronx could possibly accomplish. Calling his work “too good,” Crawford suspects that Jamal is plagiarizing his work. Eventually, Jamal convinces Forrester (who never leaves his apartment) to attend a game at Madison Square Garden, but Forrester cannot handle the crowds and has a severe anxiety attack. Jamal takes him instead to see Yankee Stadium late at night after everyone has gone. He and Forrester go out on the field to the pitcher’s mound, where he tells Jamal intimate details about his family, which explains the basis of his book, specifically his brother’s post-war trauma, alcoholism and Forrester’s indirect role (in refusing to drive home one night) that led to his death. He also explains how the subsequent deaths of his parents soon after affected him and led to his becoming a recluse. As part of Jamal’s tutelage, to aid him in “finding his own words,” Forrester gives him some of his own private essays to rewrite, with the condition that Jamal is not to take anything they write out of the apartment. When a prestigious writing contest requires some of Jamal’s best work, still suspected of plagiarism, he is forced to begin the piece in Crawford’s office, and later falls back on a particular piece of Forrester’s that he re-wrote and submits as his own, not realizing it was one of Forrester’s few published works. Crawford finds the parallels with Forrester’s piece published in 1960 and brings Jamal up on plagiarism charges. Because the title and first paragraph are identical, Jamal must either cite Forrester’s work or prove he had Forrester’s permission to use his material. He refuses to do either to keep his promise to Forrester, thus eliminating his entry from the competition and endangering his standing at the school. Crawford demands, as restitution, that Jamal write an apology letter to his classmates, and read it in front of the class. Jamal tells Forrester what he has done and asks him to defend him, but Forrester is angry at Jamal for breaking his promise and refuses. Jamal then accuses Forrester of being scared and selfish for not helping him. Jamal is then offered a bribe. He is told by the school that they value his contributions in basketball, and agree to drop the plagiarism charges if he wins them the state championship. Jamal comes to realize that his intellectual gifts have less to do with remaining at the school than his ability on the basketball court and deliberately misses two free throw shots at the end of the game, costing the team the championship. Immediately following the game, Jamal proceeds to the library and writes an essay to Forrester which discusses how the gift of friendship obliges one who has no blood family, to find his/her family. Later that night, Jamal’s essay is found by his brother Terrell (Busta Rhymes) who personally delivers it to Forrester and laments that Jamal’s bright future is about to be taken away. Despite discouragement, Jamal attends the literary contest, signaling his intent to continue at the school. During the readings, Forrester appears, announces himself and receives permission to read (Jamal’s) essay that draws overwhelming applause from the students. As Crawford is praising the work, Forrester acknowledges his friendship with Jamal and reveals that the essay he’d just read was written by Jamal. He goes on to explain that Jamal had written the contest essay using the published title and first paragraph with permission and that Jamal’s silence was due to honoring the promise he’d made to him. Crawford adamantly states that this will not change any of the board’s decisions. The board overrules him and drops the plagiarism charges, readmitting Jamal’s entry to the competition. After the competition, Forrester thanks Jamal for his friendship and tells him of his desire to visit his homeland of Scotland. Before departing, Forrester asks Jamal if he missed the two free throws at the end of the game on purpose, to which Jamal responds, “that’s not exactly a ‘soup’ question is it?”, repeating to Forrester the response that Jamal received to personal questions he had asked of him. One year later, Jamal is in his senior year and is a successful student with many enrollment offers from many prestigious universities. Forrester’s attorney (Matt Damon in a cameo role) schedules a meeting with Jamal, and reveals that Forrester has died of cancer. Jamal learns that Forrester was terminally ill while they knew each other. In accordance with Forrester’s will, Jamal is given a package, the keys to Forrester’s apartment, and a letter in which Forrester thanks Jamal for helping him rekindle his desire to live. The package contains the manuscript for Forrester’s second and final novel, called Sunset, for which Jamal is expected to write the foreword.