The Great Debaters 2007 Movie Review Sample

Type of paper: Movie Review

Topic: Teamwork, Team, Teaching, Morality, Ethics, Washington, United States, Development

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/09/16

The film the Great Debaters 2007 by Denzel Washington is bringing out a debate team that came out as successful against the champions. It is directed by an English Professor Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington) (Washington, Eisele & Whitaker, 2011). The team offered quality and standard debate. The reason behind the success can be articulated to Denzel Washington secret live. He was among the best poets in the world. In his work, he created a team of four. They include Henry Lowe who was quite intelligent despite the fact that he liked drinking and fooling others, Hamilton who was a great debater, James Farmer who was regarded as the film researcher and who was 14 year of age and Samantha Booke who was the only known female debater. In an attempt to create a good team, Tolson imparted necessary skills, discipline and counseled his team.
This was one of the reasons why the team became victorious, beating Harvard, who were considered national champion debaters. Interestingly, the team, that won the debate, were blacks. This is because they had received good nurturing. Additionally, frequent debating of the team also contributed significantly to the success of the team. This is evident as the team frequently went on road trips to outside town debates. It is during this time that they approached a black beaten up and burned by white mob (Washington, Eisele & Whitaker, 2011). In God’s grace, they escaped the mob and their day to day life appeared to be in danger of racists. Tolson felt very insecure since he was considered the rabble-rouser.
It is significant to note that the film focuses much on its members, its instructor, its school and community assumption that education was the best way to eradicate racism and discrimination. Therefore, the movie is not much about the way the team became the national champions. The film expresses how devastating it could be in the future to find the blacks being molested by the whites. The team was proud that they are black, single-minded and focused, and they articulated all this in their good debate. The team gained success as they understood what debating entails; drawing good side of every question offered by the opponents (Washington, Eisele & Whitaker, 2011).
Therefore, based on the fact that Denzel Washington was a well-informed English professor, he instructed his team using the appropriate teaching model. One of the best models was Synectics. This was often defined as Creative Problem Solving Technique linked to Brainstorming and Lateral Thinking. In the Great Debaters of 2007, this was one of the techniques applied by Tolson. This was evidenced in a situation where he often took his team in the nearby town for debates and more so the team always drew a good side of the debate (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2011).
There has been huge debate relation between development and Synectics in regards to its appropriateness as a teaching tool for the young. Piaget’s stage theory, for instance, assumes that a child in the pre-operational stage of cognitive development, for example, age two to seven years is not in a position to consider situations externally since they are egocentric. In his argument, the ability of an individual to view the issue from the other perspective rather from only his own is as a result of individual analogy system of Synectics (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2011). Therefore, an individual at this stage is not able to increase his awareness on any kind of analogy. From research, it is evident that young people are likely to respond more on metaphorical guidelines as compared to those who have grown.
Another important theorist is Vygotsky, who is much against biological factors of development but stress much on the child learning process. In his argumentation, a child cognitive development and capabilities grow as they attain psychological tools that promote improved level of thinking which is achieved through an experienced thinker, normally a teacher. In connection to the Great Debaters 2007, Tolson was considered a higher thinker since he was the one who instructed his team such that it was in a position to beat the National Champions. Therefore, parents and teachers play a significant role in the cognitive development of a child.
The focus moral development and Synectics, one of the important theorists in this field was Kohlberg. In his argument, he used a case study to bring out how moral reason and critical thinking changed as people grew older. From his findings, individuals go through three stages that involve pre-conventional morality, conventional morality and post-conventional morality. Pre-conventional level is described to be the age below nine years. During this time, one does not have any kind of morality but are shaped by the adults through commitment and correction of mistakes. Therefore, to avoid any kind of punishment, one grow being obedience. The issue at this stage is that one can recognize that people have different views (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2011). Conventional morality is considered to be adolescence and adults. At this point, one recognizes and internalizes moral standards. Additionally there is increased reasoning in relation to norms. One usually creates good interpersonal relationships and maintains social order. Post conventional morality is based on personal reasoning in consideration of individual principles and moral reasoning. This point is characterized by social contract and personal rights and conventional principles. Therefore, as a teacher it is important to appreciate the different moral stages in human development. This will enable one to appreciate Synectics in one's reasoning in an attempt to make decision making on what is right and what is wrong. For instance, in the film Great Debaters 2007, Tolson’s team depicted Synectic in moral thinking. This is evident when they made an argument that it would be not appropriate to embrace racism and discrimination in any circumstance whatsoever.
Synectic is used as a learning tool. It is viewed as a technique of teaching and learning that offers an opportunity for students to think critically and critically solve problems by themselves. Often this changes the roles of teachers from that of a transmitter to that of a facilitator. This gives an opening for the student to gain freedom and become more involved in knowledge creation process. In addition, it enables students to gain both qualitative and quantitative knowledge at the same time. It, therefore, creates openers to creative thinking. This is because students are in a position to come with rational and exciting conclusion when faced with simple and complex issues or difficulties. For real, it is through a good understanding on the importance of Synectic that Tolson was able to create a team that defeated national champions. The team was able to understand the use of Synectic both at cognitive and effective situations. They are in an attempt to use transformative theory to alter the minds of their opponents regarding racism and discrimination since it involves altering habits of minds and viewpoints (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2011).
As discussed above, it is evident that classroom management and teaching methodology is completely altered by Synectics. For instance, technique of teaching and learning that offers an opportunity for students to think critically and critically solve problems themselves (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2011). Often this changes the roles of teachers from that of a transmitter to that of a facilitator. Additionally it offers ways through which instructors can create new analogy to practically show an understanding or what is referred to as the synthesis.


Washington, D., Eisele, R., & Whitaker, F. (2011). The great debaters: Die Macht der Worte. S.l.: Mondo Entertainment.
Joyce, B. R., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2011). Models of teaching. Boston: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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