Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Film - Discover the Reel World: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Film - Discover the Reel World: Resources

Article excerpt

Filmclub provides access to a wealth of cultural material.

With International Literacy Day coming up on 8 September there is no better time to reflect on what is one of the main building blocks of any education system. But I would argue that literacy is often defined in terms that are too narrow to offer the maximum possible benefit to young people.

Literacy should not be restricted to the classroom - after all, learning does not happen in a cultural vacuum. Rather, it must be supported by a framework of other activities that allow those hours in the classroom to make sense.

I am the chair of the charity Filmclub, and with our partner organisations Film Education and First Light we challenge pupils to experience diverse worlds. Equally, they learn about the arc of a storyline, the interaction between characters and different styles of vocabulary. There's the opportunity to discuss and review films - more than 6,000 reviews by schoolchildren are sent in to Filmclub's website each week - and this gives young people a palpable sense of why literacy, and the capacity to express oneself, are important.

Around 76 per cent of Filmclub's members say it has helped them with their English. Then there is anecdotal evidence: tales of pupils who were once uninterested in literature finding their confidence and with it their critical voice. Teachers, too, are seeing the value of offering a different angle on learning.

A carefully curated catalogue of films enables teachers to tailor what they show to their classes - you might choose Whip It, Persepolis or Juno (pictured above) for a class of 15-year-olds but opt for something like How to Train Your Dragon or Up for a group of eight-year-olds. …

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