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9 Principles for Using Movies in Class

Teachers often use motion pictures in sessions where they want to establish classroom engagement. Movies capture students’ attention and can be a useful tool for learning when used the right way. So, we have provided some useful guidelines that teachers should employ to get the most out of using movies to teach.

Change the Mentality That Movie Sessions Are for Leisure

Students often have the misconception that watching a film in class is a fun day activity. It might be an enjoyable activity compared to everyday learning, but it should still be treated like reading a book. Make students take it seriously by asking them to take notes and even provide their evaluations after the movie.

Eliminate Any Interruptions

To ensure that learners stay attentive during the movie, a teacher needs to eliminate any distractions. For one, you can ask them to turn off any electronic devices during the session. Closing the blinds also makes the movie the primary focus. Teachers can also find better locations if the classroom is surrounded by noise.

Provide Expectations

Students need to be prepared mentally for what they are going to watch. Inform your students about the basic content of the movie without providing spoilers. Tell them what it’s about and what they should be focused on when watching the film. Also, inform them about your expectations of them during and after the movie, such as wanting them to write notes.

Show Curricular Movies at the Start of Units

Teachers should show curricular movies at the start of specific units since they provide background information. Teaching the unit will be easier when they have the contextual knowledge and will keep tutees engaged throughout the course. Showing the films at the end of a unit loses this effect.

Ask Students to Take Notes

Some students might take a movie as their chance to switch off their brains and rest. To combat this, ask the learners to take notes of the important events of the movie. Instruct them to identify specific features such as themes, character traits, symbolism, and others. The attention to detail they gain from this is what makes a good essay helper.

Be Actively Involved During the Session

Showing the film shouldn’t be a distraction for a teacher to grade papers. As an educator, you need to be active during the session too. Movies are engaging, but sometimes students can lose concentration and may even fall asleep when unsupervised.

To be actively involved during the session, pause the movie occasionally to provide learners with any extra information they might require before or after certain scenes. Besides, ask them questions about the events of the movie to keep them attentive during the breaks.

Also, challenge them to identify any inaccuracies in the scenes as compared to the truth or as compared to the books. Movies are known to provide some twist on facts to make for better stories and sell tickets. It is a teacher’s responsibility to help students identify the discrepancies between the movies and facts.

Relate the Events of the Movie to Real Life

Many events that occur in movies can be connected to the current events in the world. So, teachers can use a film to create discussions about the state of the world currently. These discussions will make the session livelier and, thus, more meaningful. Furthermore, students will improve their understanding of specific issues in the world.

Ask Learners to Reenact Some Parts of the Movie

One way to ensure that individuals will be attentive during the session is by informing them that they will act out some of the movie’s main scenes. They can act out dialogues that were crucial to the plot. Assigning random students to act out scenes helps improve their confidence, and they will be more open to expressing themselves.

Start and Stop With a Discussion

Having discussions always improves the understanding of individuals. Have a discussion before and after the movie. Before the film, set up questions related to certain themes and have them discuss it. The learners will be mentally prepared for the film and are likely to be more invested in it. After the movie, you can discuss the teachable moments in the film, historical inaccuracies, or just let discussions emerge organically.

Final Thoughts

Using movies to teach has various benefits to students, such as getting them engaged in learning. However, it also requires planning and responsibility from educators. Teachers need to ensure that their curriculum approves the movies they show in class. To avoid any issues, have students’ guardians’ sign permission slips for a film.


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