When a teacher pulls out the SmartBoard remote and queues up the projector, a wide variety of responses can be seen from the students. Some students pump their fists into the air and yell “YES!”, while others groan and roll their eyes, and still others pull on their hoodies and prepare for a 50 minute nap.
Despite the wide variety of attitudes towards movies shown in class, teachers still insist on using them, and some even do so on a frequent and regular basis. Do movies actually help students learn? Or are they just fillers so that teachers don’t have to prepare a lesson?
More often than not, students tend to “check out” when the lights go down and the movie starts.
“It’s a good time to catch up on sleep,” said Michael Noll ’14.
West Side students, especially, are guilty of caring only about the information that will be included on the test, and will therefore write the movie off as unimportant to their learning experience. Contrary to the popular belief that teachers use movies as filler material, most teachers aim to use film to enhance the classroom experience.
“It provides an opportunity for me, as a teacher, to appeal to a variety of learning styles. For example, sometimes I provide different ways for kids to respond to a particular question like on an essay,” said Mr. Mullis, who is fond of showing movies in his classes.
Teachers would like for their students to become interested in whatever subject they are teaching, but sometimes it can be hard to fully cover and engage the students in the topic being studied. To remedy this, they turn to film to put a visual aspect on the subject matter.
“When you can see it happening, it sticks in your mind better,” said Victoria Glotzbach ’14.
“I like to use it to build interest in a topic, and to try to make course content more relevant to students. It provides a way to extend the topic, or what you’re learning about, beyond the textbook,” said Mullis.
“Ceasing to be passive, and making it an active experience is how to make it worthwhile,” said Mr. Shaeffer, West Side’s own movie expert, and teacher of the Film Literature class.
A lot of forethought is put into the choosing and use of in-class movies and the decision to use them should be respected as a method of teaching. The students of West Side should look past the test and try to engage themselves in what the teachers are trying to convey with the movies that they choose to show.