Supporting cultural education through film
Posted by Paul Reeve, CEO of Into Film
There’s no doubt that film’s popularity can cause it to be undervalued, in the educational context. Yet, film is arguably one of the most influential art forms of the last century. It tells the great stories of our histories, our lives today and of other cultures. Film helps us to better understand the world and see things through the eyes of others.
Crucially, it is a medium children and young people relate to and feel comfortable with. It is consequently a powerful means to engage and inspire and it is a highly effective tool that can be used to promote memorable and enjoyable classroom learning across the full range of age and ability.
A well-chosen and contextualised film clip, short or feature length film, can help bring learning to life, stimulating thought and understanding, and acting as a springboard for lively discussion and debate. Evidence has shown that using film in the classroom is particularly effective in contributing to the development of literacy, not least (but certainly not only) to students who find this challenging. Film is after all a text, and skills and confidence developed through engagement with film are directly transferable to the written word.
Into Film’s UK-wide programme for learning through and about film is available free to all state-funded schools and colleges, and can do much to support schools on their Artsmark journey. We can help schools to become more confident with using film academically so that their students can enjoy the many cultural and social benefits this rich and diverse medium offers.
We are currently working with seven primary schools and one special educational needs school from the Hull region as they work towards Artsmark. Undertaking different aspects of our programme, the schools are being trained to use film to develop literacy, create filmmaking projects, set-up a film club and receive visits from industry professionals who educate them on what it’s like to work on films such as Harry Potter and Muppets Most Wanted. One of the teachers we worked with said:
"It was amazing to see how using film engages pupils and staff in cross curricular learning and we hope to work with the programme again in the future.”
There are a number of ways of embedding film into your school’s curriculum to help you achieve your Artsmark Award. Setting up a film club offers free access to thousands of popular and classic films for students to watch and critique. Review writing is a popular activity with our members that helps boost literacy and engage reluctant writers.
As one teacher commented: “Some of my boys who are reluctant writers are eager to complete film reviews and do so to such a high quality that I was pleasantly surprised, as they do not show that level of capability in class.”
Filmmaking can also achieve numerous positive outcomes for students. It helps to develop creativity, team-work, communication and ICT skills, in addition to the specifics of filmmaking itself, all of which are potentially valuable for future employability. It can be used to record, share and review work, and for assessment purposes. Most importantly I would argue, it enables children and young people to tell their own stories and share them with others; to be artists and to participate actively in the making of culture.
All the schools we’re currently working with have started to embed parts of the Into Film programme into their school’s curriculum. In return, this helps them to address their individual needs and support educators with their continuous professional development, whilst achieving their Artsmark Award. I hope many more will join them in the near future.
About Into Film
Into Film is a UK-wide education organisation which supports teachers and educators to achieve a wide range of effective learning outcomes in their use of film.