Movies in schools
An overnight post about movies in schools caught my attention. Nick Caumanns wrote:
“Spending a few days writing FSA tests is no more wasteful of instructional time than all the ‘movie afternoons’ my kids got all through elementary school. The ENTIRE school in the gym watching a movie!”
Although he was writing about the FSA and not the movies, it touches on an issue that has bothered me for a long time and something I have heard other parents complain about too (although no one ever agreed to be quoted, often for fear of a backlash).
I protested when my daughter’s Grade 7 class watched almost a dozen Hollywood movies during class time and again in high school when her class watched Chicken Run during English 11, Troy (starring Brad Pitt) in a Grade 10 class, The Count of Monte Cristo in a Grade 10 French class (although the movie was in English) and Happy Gilmore (starring Adam Sandler) during a Career and Personal Planning class. That isn’t the whole list, but it’s representative. I discussed my concerns with teachers, principals and a superintendent but was mostly brushed off. The only real explanation I got was that movies are a “motivational tool”, although one principal defended Chicken Run by saying it could be used as an example of “humour, sarcasm and other literary devices.”
There are fabulous DVDs that tie in nicely with the curriculum. Check the Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium’s website. I wrote about ERAC a few years ago, noting that districts pay a fee to belong and gain access to resources that aren’t available commercially. Some schools and districts also buy licences from Audio Cine Films (ACF), which represents major studios and big-name movies. It’s that licence that allows teachers to get movies from rental stores, although they must report usage.