It is important for schools to explore and create more opportunities for students to create stories in alternative ways. Introducing film-making into the classroom and launching after-school film clubs are valuable ways for teachers to inspire young imaginations and increase motivation for overall learning.
Film-making not only enhances learning across the curriculum but it can also be delivered in schools easily and cheaply.
There are a number of ways to introduce film into schools: film-making, film-watching and film clubs. Pupils could produce short films using digital cameras or they could create a film and tell stories using their phones.
Teachers could encourage their class to get into groups and re-enact a story that they have seen in the media and interpret it by making it into a film or story-board.
Story-boarding – a series of illustrations or images displayed in sequence – is a very useful tool for getting students to plan and visualise their ideas. It is also an effective way for developing students’ understanding of narrative and points of view.
Furthermore, it allows pupils to unwind the complexity of an issue, dive deeper into it, and interpret it in their own unique, creative way. This method can also help enhance students’ general knowledge and cultural understanding of other worlds.
Film-making can also provide a new learning experience to traditional textbooks and help contextualise difficult areas of the curriculum.
For example, if students could make a film adaption of a story or scene from a Shakespeare play, this might aid their understanding and help them visualise the scene more effectively come exam time.
Films present language in a way that is often more natural than that found in course-books and it can inject life into subjects.
Teachers are often under the impression that film-making has to be restricted to English or drama lessons but this is not the case. Film-making touches all aspects of education and can be integrated into any lesson – from science to art. For example, during a science class pupils could record lab experiments or in art lessons they could create a film of patterns and colours that they have spotted that day and play it back to the class. Visual context aids understanding and helps students to concentrate and memorise things better.
Another useful way of introducing film into the classroom is to allocate students a certain task while watching films, such as critique a character in the film and write 100 words on his/her personality. Magnifying issues on screen can act as a catalyst for writing and classroom discussion.
Students’ educational experience can be enhanced by their involvement in film clubs. Any school can host their own film club by putting on screenings and film-making workshops, or with support from educational charities like FILMCLUB.
Film clubs also provide opportunities for students to develop valuable interpersonal skills that employers look for, such as team-working and organisational skills.
Furthermore, film clubs can give children opportunities to create short films, review films and enter national competitions.
Film is arguably just as important as literature in schools and more must be done to encourage talent and cultivate creative minds. We must also remind pupils about the job opportunities available in the creative industries.
Britain is a world leader in the film industry and studying film opens a window of opportunities. The industry supports almost 117,500 jobs and contributes more than £4.6 billion to the UK economy. By introducing film into the classroom, teachers will open students’ minds to things they wouldn’t otherwise see and transport them into a realm of dynamic learning.
Further information FILMCLUB: www.filmclub.org CAPTION: Action: Young film-makers in action at the Met Film School in London
Jonny Persey is chief executive of the Met Film Group, which comprises Met Film School, Met Film Production and Met Film Post. Visit www.metfilmschool.co.uk