Summer sails past and soon educated grown-ups will be preparing for their roles as teachers of youngsters, as has been happening ever since some farmer decided his kids needed to be home when the crops were ripe. Peculiar, isn’t it, that we still follow the agrarian calendar. More peculiar still is that we consider teachers to be living textbooks, full of vital information that must be delivered to their students. In the "information age" this notion is absurd. Teachers will better serve their students if they become "facilitators" of instruction and guides to the process that students use to seek knowledge on their own.
This facilitator/learner model works exceptionally well in preparing young people for post-school life. And the best way to see this process in action is through the use of film.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you want students to know about the Watergate Scandal and its implications in the post Nixon years. First you prepare the students for the viewing of the film “All The President’s Men” with a half hour reading assignment that is interrupted by thinking-style response questions. This introduces kids to events that riveted the nation about the time their parents were born and which young generations may know about through such comedic thrusts as naming a character in The Simpson’s, “Milhouse,” Richard Nixon’s middle name. Actually, most viewers don’t relate the kid with the weird name to the former president, but nonetheless, you get my point.
Next, with no lecture or other means of introduction, you have the students watch the film. You address a few discussion questions and get the kids going on “what-if” and “could have been.” Then you allow students to select one of several research projects which will require a Booleen search, an internet sourcing tool that is excellent for the students to understand, and let the kids teach themselves what they need to know about this important piece of American history.
The pre-film read prepares the kids for the topic; the film, a highly regarded document in itself, does its job beautifully; the students exercise important research skills; information is gained directly from the source instead of from the grown-up in front of the room who owns the info and distributes it as a lecture. Facilitator and Learner at work!
Even without a pre-film reading assignment, film is an excellent tool for young people to become self-taught.
TeachWithMovies is currently reshaping many of its film guides to assist teacher in teaching according to the new paradigm. Check it out.
Tags: facilitator learning model