In the first classroom scene, how intrinsically or extrinsically motivated do the students seem to be with respect to learning math? How can you tell?
During the lesson with the apples, how well does Escalante deal with the two late students? Why does Escalante try to engage Chuco (“finger man”)? Did his method work? Considering Maslow’s theory, how might Escalante’s response to the gang members influence the motivation for the rest of the class?
In the classroom scene where Escalante says he is going to start teaching them algebra… why does he do this? What message does this convey?
In the classroom scene where Escalante is teaching about negative & positive numbers (same scene as in #3 above), what evidence do you see that Escalante is taking a culturally appropriate approach to teaching (see pp. 235-244)? How is he motivating his students?
During the math department meeting (about 18 minutes into the film), what evidence do you see of stereotyping and/or prejudice? What are the different teachers’ expectations of students? How are those expectations conveyed?
Escalante says, “Math is the great equalizer” – what does he mean by this? How is this statement related to cultural diversity and/or motivation?
What’s going on when Angel (“net head”) asks for an extra copy of the books – why does he do this? Which concepts that we have studied would explain this? Also focus on Escalante’s response to Angel’s request. Why does he give him the extra books?
Think about the challenges several students face outside of school (gang affiliation, parents’ work hours, their own work obligations, etc.). How do these challenges influence the students? How well does Escalante handle this?
How does Escalante deal with the students who refuse to take the quiz? How well does Escalante’s strategy work? Pay attention to what he says to Lupe right after he puts her in “the chair” in front of the class – what effect do you think this has on her motivation?
When faculty colleagues visit Escalante’s class, he says of the students, “it’s not that they’re stupid, it’s just they don’t know anything.” Although this is meant to be funny, he makes a very important distinction, according to attribution theory. What message is he trying to convey to the students?
How would motivation theories explain the potential effect of the field trip they take, both in terms of the teacher’s motivation as well as the students’ motivation? How would Bronfenbrenner’s theory explain the importance of this field trip?
In several scenes, the students seem to constantly complain about having to study too much, spending too much time in class, the horrible classroom conditions, etc…. why do they stay? How would the different motivation theories explain this?