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Movies are often used for education purposes. Here's why showing movies in class can be challenging for teachers.

7 challenges of using movies in education

Movies have become quite common as a tool in education. Even though it is often criticized, using films to teach has various advantages, such as creating engagement and motivation among students. However, there are also some negatives that educators need to deal with when using films in classes. We have come up with a few of these cons.

Movies are lengthy

Teachers have to consider time a lot when it comes to showing movies in class. It is because films are usually lengthy and take a lot of class time. For example, a film like Schindler’s List might take about a whole week to show. Most movies run for more than two hours, and hence teachers have to use multiple class sessions to complete them.

Furthermore, using movies to teach involves regularly having to pause to provide some information. Teachers also have to leave time for discussions. So, a movie might take a lot of academic time from a student, within which they might have learned much more during regular classes.

Only a small section in some movies is educational

Most of the time, movies only have a little section that is educational. Only several parts of these movies are relevant to a classroom setting. So, a teacher must decide whether to show the whole movie or skip to the relevant parts.

The latter saves time but takes away the plot from the students. Furthermore, it will require the educator to pre-watch the movie to identify the relevant sections and mark them.

Movies require planning

Like how an essay writing service prepares for their work, teachers have to plan before showing a film in class. First, they have to select the right session for the movie when there is enough time to do it. Then, teachers have to ensure they have created a plan for the film. For example, one might prepare questions to ask students to ensure they’re attentive.

Teachers need permission to show movies

Due to the criticism surrounding the use of films to teach, there is a strict procedure teachers have to follow. Teachers require permission from both the institution and the guardians to show movies in class. Guardians have to sign permission slips to show they consent to their children watching certain educational films.

Films with PG rating will require students under 13 years to have signed permission forms to watch them. PG 13 movies are only for middle school students after the school committee has reviewed the film. Students under 14 years will need permission slips from their guardians. R-rated movies are for the high school level and require all students to sign permission forms. Thus, unless it is a fundamental lesson that students will learn best through a movie, it might not be worth the hassle.

Movies are often inaccurate

Movies are not always reliable for teaching because of their inaccuracy in depicting events. Most history movies often tend to twist facts because they were not specifically made for learning. Film producers always prioritize, creating a better or more wholesome story over the facts involved. Thus, a teacher must point out the inaccurate scenes. Otherwise, students might receive false information.

Although different films can feel very believable, most of them are not documentaries. Even those that are “based on real events” usually have a lot of fiction added and dramatization of real events. So, students can be misled by certain movies into thinking they portray reality and, for example, put movies as a source for their essay writing assignments. Obviously, such a situation would be a big headache for any tutor.

Movies can’t be used too frequently

Teachers can’t rely on movies for education. It is because movies don’t house a lot of educational information on their own. Furthermore, excessive use of film in class will dampen the excitement that students feel during movie sessions. It will also make students prefer movies to regular learning.

Teachers who use movies to teach have to deal with the popular opinion that it is a lousy teaching method, especially from parents. So, a teacher who frequently uses them might get the reputation of preferring to show movies than the actual teaching.

Movies require context

Teachers can’t just show students educational movies without providing some background. Students would not know why the film is relevant. Hence, a movie such as Glory will make more sense to them when you provide context. For example, you can show it when discussing the role of African Americans in the Civil war.

Concluding remarks

Teaching using films will always receive some backlash. However, when done the right way, it becomes beneficial to students. Teachers need to make students understand that movie time is not for fun but serious learning. 

Movies should be used to supplement regular learning but not try and replace it. Educators need to plan appropriately and be actively involved in the showing of the film. Occasionally, it can be pausing to ask the learners questions and take notes during the session.

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