Discover more from A Different Fish
A new project I can't wait to share
Dear Readerpeople (including recent signups – welcome, and thanks)!
I’m sorry to have been writing so little this month. All is well – I try and go with the flow when it comes to creative energy, and not sweat the cycles, but that is not to say I don’t fret about it here and there. Right now, I’m a bit worried about what happens when I return to the classroom grind. Historically my written output has dried right up; who wants to sit at the computer and write about the job you just did all day?
But I do have a thing I will really want to share as it goes along, in whatever form that can take.
I’m about to launch a new project at my school: I’ve proposed to the bosses, who have welcomed the idea, a school-wide film education initiative. Over the next couple of years, we hope to incorporate film studies into each grade, from the youngest students to the seniors (my school runs from kindergarten to grade 12). I have plenty of ideas and will be launching it (gently) within the month. I’m really excited.
Yeah, But Why?
I started incorporating film in my middle school classrooms way back in the day (last century!), and started teaching grade 11 and 12 film courses about a decade ago. My takeaway every time has been that students really dig it, and more importantly, are really GOOD at it. It makes sense: kids are consuming “movies” from their earliest years onward – on phones, TV, theatres, screens on the subway, commercials, social media, etc. They’re interested, too: take a picture of a little kid and see if they don’t ask to see it.
But they’re really not taught about it in school – at least not well and not often. Their teachers usually have little to no film education. When film is used (i.e., showing movies or YouTube videos), it is used at a simple level: show it all, then talk about it. That’s not a criticism; adding new things to schools takes time. I’m fortunate to work at a tiny school that can pivot, try new things, and explore. If it goes as I imagine, we’ll be able to demonstrate a clear and usable model for educators in other schools.
I’m also very lucky to live in a major film city, where opportunities are bountiful. My little school has sent lots of students on to film school/film work over the years we’ve been teaching film. I can only imagine the impact of 12 years of film education: lots of what I’m teaching at the senior levels could be taught much earlier, and then the senior classes could be more specialized and robust.
Atop the other reasons to implement real, informed film education is a desperately needed side effect: a population educated in the workings and impact of film will be more savvy and less prone to being suckered by political leaders or marketers and whoever else preys on naïveté. It is at least worth an experiment, for sure.
So: even when I cannot summon long articles during the school year, I will share the experience(s) here, and the ideas, and the results, and anything else I can. Sometimes that might look like journal entries – we’ll see.
As always – and I really MEAN this – I love to hear impressions, extensions, and oppositions to the ideas I explore here. I dig working collaboratively, and know that solo ideas are often weaker. I am excited to be partnering with colleagues and figuring out the shape of this program. If you have thoughts, please share. If you like any ideas, take them wherever you want.
More soon. Thanks for reading.
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