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Mike Tidd looks
all three main learning styles – it reaches out to all target
levels, especially boys.
at the usefulness
And it is not only watching films, but using/making
films within a lesson. This is sometimes difficult to
do with budgets and time constraints, but can be a
and impact of
worthwhile exercise.
Young people like to be more involved in classes
films in lessons
and using digital film recorders is a way to do this.
Pupils should be encouraged to produce news
reports, presentations, or stop motion modelling to help
T WAS not long into my education career their knowledge and understanding. The technology
as a teacher when I began to realise the and resources are out there and we as teachers must
importance and usefulness of film in my start to use them for the benefit of our pupils and
lessons. ourselves as practitioners.
I had always used documentaries and I remember reading Great Expectations at school
footage from DVDs and videos in my lessons, and found watching the David Lead adaptation a much-
but I had not realised what films could offer. needed guiding hand when it came to revising for the
It got my mind racing on different aspects of films GCSE.
that could be shown to pupils within different subject A film may not always be true or correct, but as
areas. teachers we can filter out the bad and exploit the many
I soon realised that films could enhance and develop great pieces of film that are out there waiting to be
a pupil’s learning and encourage them to be lifelong used. SecEd
Films do sometimes give a false image and might • Mike Tidd is a curriculum leader for geography at
not always be used well by all practitioners. They may Cove School in Hampshire.
purely be used to fill out a scheme of work and can, if
used like this, fail to match the lesson objectives or the
“big picture” of the scheme of work. This is a great pity,
My top 10 geography films
as they could do the complete opposite.
Films can enhance a lesson and excite a young mind
with their powerful and thought-provoking subject
matter. It must be noted that the whole film does not
need to be shown to a class in order to achieve this.
• Slumdog Millionaire – life within the
shanty towns of Mumbai
• Brassed Off – industrial decline in the UK
• The Day After Tomorrow – climate
The potential of films is backed up by Dr Pietari change has never been this traumatic!
Kaapa of the University of Nottingham, who stated:
• City of God – the daily lives of young
“Cinema, as both a popular form of entertainment and
a means of artistic and political expression, is a crucial
area of classroom teaching.
“The pedagogical potential of film provides an
immediate and invigorating addition to established
from films
people in the favelas of Rio
• Twister – the formation and impact of
a twister
• There will be Blood – Industrial growth
lesson plans, while the history of the medium and its
of a more economically developed
contextual socio-cultural relevance function as sources
of study in their own right.”
As a geography teacher, I have used a wide is what is needed to engage learners and film is one various types of media within a child’s learning and
• Dante’s Peak – shows most of the
variety of different films to help show and back up medium that can grip a young person’s attention. film is one way. However, films are not always easy
features of a volcano
key terminology or sometimes complex geographical Pupils are requested to use and take part in different to understand, and it does take time for some young • Lawrence of Arabia – illustrates desert
features. types of media within their learning from the national learners to fully grasp the complexities of a film, like the
The modern world has created a generation of curriculum. Films, like music, should be encouraged to music changing in relation to the mood for example.
• Kes – life in 1960s Britain
young people with very active minds. The days of be used within the classroom. They can enthuse and As we are aware, there are three types of learners;
a teacher in a classroom talking for 50 minutes are generate much debate and can really help a learner to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. A film is one medium
• The Full Monty – industrial decline
long gone and would not generate much enthusiasm understand – they are just as valid a format as books. that incorporates all three learning styles and can hold
within the UK
from today’s young learners. Interaction and variety With the national curriculum, we have to look at attention and pass on knowledge and understanding to
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10 SecEd • April 2 2009
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