Movies in School to Enhance Learning

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 5.21.50 PMTeachers have been using movies to supplement their lessons with increased frequency. But does this help with students’ studies, or does it give them a free period to take a nap? Sometimes a movie can really help students get a feel for an era or an event. For example, if the students are learning about the civil war, showing a clip or a movie about the civil war can help students experience the issues involved to a much greater extent, such as showing the Titanic to help students understand the class differences and why some lifeboats were allowed to leave half empty. Showing movies can also build interest with the students. During the school year, students can lose interest in the topic they are learning. This usually happens before a vacation or in the midst of athletes’ championship seasons. Adding a movie can build interest in a topic that is being learned, while providing a small break from normal classroom activities. Also, many students have unique learning styles, and presenting information in different ways can be helpful for certain students to better understand the topic.

There are also cons to teaching with movies, with the main one being that students can lose focus easily. Movies can be highly distracting, so it is important that you completely watch and know everything about the movie you are showing, so that it does not lead to unwanted conversations and situations. For example, you might have watched a movie numerous times at home but only when watching it with a classroom full of students will those curse words that you didn’t notice truly stand out or an off-color joke rear its head, causing students to laugh and talk amongst themselves. Movies can also take a week to watch when you only have 50-minute class periods. Even a short movie can take up 3 days of classroom time. Further, it can be difficult if different classes have to start and stop at different spots of a movie. A solution to this problem could be to stop the movie early, but students can become frustrated when left with a cliffhanger midway through a period. Overall, movies can be helpful to teaching and learning, but only when they are used correctly, in moderation, and work with the subject you are teaching.


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