Using Movies to Teach

We all have had that moment when our teacher says we will be watching a movie or video and we all get a sense of excitement and relief. Why? Because most people rather watch and listen to something than having to listen and write. Question is, do videos and movies really help in the classroom? How?

There are many benefits to teaching with cinema.(photo credit Sarah_Ackerman)

We have seen movies in English classes to go along with books or stories, watched movies in history to truly understand the time period, watched videos in foreign language classes to see true interaction with the language, and so on. There are many pros to using videos for students to comprehend a topic. It is a different way to see the material. They may not get it right away when reading it but once they see it, it may click in their head and they will then have a new understanding. Students, especially teens don’t have the best attention span. When you give them something visual to focus on, they will concentrate more and obtain more from the lesson. Videos also provide more ways to do a discussion in class. It is easier to get in depth when you can see examples in front of you. Seeing a movie or video of a war will provide you more feelings and thoughts than seeing a list of facts about the war.

There are some cons to using movies or videos such as the students not taking it seriously or it being seen as a waste of time. However think of this, a teacher can provide all of the materials and possible knowledge to the student but they can not make the student learn. A student will choose to learn and do work despite the teacher, class, or material provided. The fact of the matter is that there are true learning possibilities instructing through videos and movies.

Movies increase the level of  comprehension of a topic to a person. It is simple for someone to understand that a man climbed up a hill but it may not be as simple to understand the true meaning behind it. In movies the facial expressions give away emotions and feelings that we may have never grasped right away or as easy. Seeing how a character acts and reacts also makes us go into their shoes and understand their perspective better and their role in the story. The angles and camera effects also give us overall meaning and emotions that not all the characters may understand. The overall meaning and emotion is the main goal of the story or moment in history. The music in movies always gives us a clue on how we are supposed to feel, about to feel, or how a character feels. It is an inside look on a feeling that the characters may not verbalize.

Visuals are a huge part of our life and they effect how we act and think. It only makes sense to use that to our advantage and bring it in to our educational world. The career of art is a now popular one and opens many doors with its ability to open up people’s understanding.

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