What do we learn from films?

The movies

This year I was offered the opportunity to teach an elective course on films to a group of ninth graders. The main goal was reinforcing English-language skills through movies and at the same time integrating a bit of technology in the process. So far it’s been a wonderful experience. Each student created a blog where he documented his ideas about the films viewed in and outside of the classroom. I’ve learned a lot about each and everyone of my students. I’ve gotten an idea of how they feel on certain topics and why they feel that way. It’s been an eye opener, for sure!

I’m looking forward to teaching the course next year to another group of students, this time to 11th and 12th graders. Something I have to keep in mind is the content of the course. While I will not shy away from topics such as misuse of drugs or sex, I will take into consideration which films are more suited to students at that age level and the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Viewing a film is similar to reading a novel, only with visuals.  It has it pros and cons. When watching a movie, not much is left to the imagination unless the director is really clever. Reading a novel or short story lets the mind explore different scenarios.

Just like a good book, films can set the tone for a discussion of conflicts. They can also be used to discover how a certain scene can produce a variety of emotions or how a director plays on the emotions of a particular audience.

With movies, music and lighting set the mood and these elements subject the audience to feelings they might not even know they had. Sure, a good novel can do that, too. But a movie has a certain time limit and within that a director must do what a novelist might find difficult.

How do you feel about reading a novel as compared to viewing a film with the same plot? Which would you prefer? I guess it all depends on the topic and the interests of the person. With films and novels anything and everything is up for debate. That’s what makes it fun!~~LMMolina


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