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Discussion Questions:

1.  Standard Questions Suitable for Any Film

2.  What is the origin of the term "status quo" and what does it mean? Suggested Response: The term is Latin, which was the language spoken by the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered England. Many words used by the Romans were adopted by the English. "Status quo" means things the way they are, the existing state of affairs.

3.  Compare the plot of the movie to the plot of Romeo and Juliet. For each difference, describe what act of friendship made that difference. Suggested Response: The most important difference is that "High School Musical" has a happy ending. The kids realize that they need to support their friends and stop trying to tear them apart. None of the members of the families of "Romeo and Juliet" tried to help the young lovers. Only the maid and the friar tried to help them. It was only after Romeo and Juliet died that the families came together.

Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:

Breaking Out

1.  See the Quick Discussion Question.

2.  What is the song "Start of Something New" about? Suggested Response: If you're willing to start things that are new, the possibilities are endless.

3.  What are the actors telling us in the song "We're All in This Together"? Suggested Response: Here are some of the lyrics: " ... our dreams have no limitations/That's what it's all about/Everyone is special in their own way/We make each other strong/We're not the same/We're different in a good way/Together's where we belong." These themes stress the uniqueness of each individual; the fact that if we try to reach our dreams we can accomplish things we didn't think we could; and that we should work together to help each other.

Peer Pressure and Friendship

4.  Chad Danforth, Troy's friend, did one really good thing in this movie. What was it? Suggested Response: Chad saw that Troy was upset because he had promised the basketball players that he would not try out for the musical. Chad realized that as Troy's friend, he needed to support Troy in Troy's desire to sing with Gabriella. Once he realized what was happening to Troy, Chad lost no time in doing this.

5.  What is peer pressure? Suggested Response: Peer pressure can be described as influence on a person by other people who are about the same age or by their friends or classmates. It usually refers to kids. Usually peer pressure makes young people act in the same way that their friends act. For example, Troy's basketball buddies wanted him to focus only on basketball. Singing didn't conform to their view of what basketball players did. The "Braniacs" wanted Gabriella to spend her time preparing for the academic decathlon.

6.  Troy's father told his son, "If your friends laugh at you, maybe they're not your friends. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your reasons. Suggested Response: People do not laugh at their friends when their friends try to do something new or try to do the right thing. Instead, they should support their friends. Therefore, the answer is "yes".

7.  In this movie, both Troy and Gabriella had to overcome something in order to try out for the musical. What was it? Suggested Response: Troy had to overcome the peer pressure to conform to the limited view of who he was that was held by his group of friends on the basketball team and by his father. Gabriella had to overcome her shyness.

8.  What is Troy singing about in the song "Get'cha Head in the Game"? Suggested Response: He's having trouble concentrating on basketball. He keeps thinking of the call backs and Gabriella. "Why am I feeling so wrong/My head's in the game but my heart's in the song/She makes this feel so right".

9.  What is the song "Stick to the Status Quo" about? Suggested Response: It's about peer pressure (the influence of groups of friends or of people who are the same age or who are in the same class at school) and the conflict between peer pressure and the natural desire to be your own person and follow your own interests and dreams.

10.  In the song "Breaking Free", what are the kids breaking free from? Suggested Response: The kids are breaking free from the view of who they are that is held by their parents and their group of friends. Another way to see it is that they are learning to be themselves and that this understanding allows them to break free of restraints that are limiting their lives and to soar to new heights. Here are some of the lyrics: "You know the world can see us in a way that's different than who we are/ Creating space between us until we're separate hearts/ But your faith it gives me strength/ Strength to believe ... /There's not a star in heaven that we can't reach if we're trying/Yeah we're breaking free/ ... climbin' to get to the place/To be all that we can be/ ... Now's the time /... So we're breaking free."

11.  Gabriella told Troy that he was a cool guy but not for the reasons that his friends thought. What was she referring to? Suggested Response: She liked the fact that he was caring, truthful and authentic with her.

12.  Have you ever had an experience in which you felt pressured by your friends to do something or not to do it? What happened? Suggested Response: There is no one correct answer to this question. In the discussion, adults should express approval of resistance to peer pressure and regret at examples in which peer pressure won out.


13.  What happens to talent when it is not allowed to come out because of peer pressure or for some other reason? Suggested Response: It goes underground and may be lost forever.

14.  How does Gabriella deal with her stage fright? Suggested Response: She focuses on Troy and sings to him.


15.  What did you think of the relationship between Troy and his father? Suggested Response: It was pretty good. His father made some mistakes but they were close and they spent a lot of time together. Troy's father gave him some good advice and, in the end, came through for Troy.

Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.

The first three questions set out below should be asked in sequence. They will correct for a possible problem with this movie.

1.  Troy, Gabriella and their friends, once they decided to work together, did two things which could have gotten them into a lot of trouble. What are they? Suggested Response: They were rigging the electricity for the basketball game to go off and disrupting the academic decathlon competition with a stink bomb.

2.  What could have happened if the kids were caught trying to disrupt the basketball game and the academic decathlon? Suggested Response: They would have been in serious trouble. They could have been suspended and their teams could have forfeited their competitions.

3.  Can you think of a better way to handle this situation? Suggested Response: Talk to the adults, including the principal, about the scheduling conflict. Schools have to work out this type of problem all the time. The principal would most likely have changed the time of the call backs to allow Troy and Gabriella to audition.

4.  What did you think about the basketball boys secretly recording Troy and giving it to the scholastic decathlon team to show to Gabriella. Suggested Response: It was underhanded. The basketball boys were not being truthful with Troy and Gabriella.

Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.

(Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

See questions relating to Peer Pressure and Friendship.

1.  What is the role of respect in friendship? Suggested Response: True friends respect each other.


(Be kind; Be compassionate and show you care; Express gratitude; Forgive others; Help people in need)

See questions relating to Peer Pressure and Friendship.

2.  How does the concept of caring apply to friendship? Suggested Response: It is the basis of friendship. People cannot be friends unless they care for and help one another.

Last updated December 22, 2007.

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