Wednesday, June 1, 2011

FTF Film-Based Teaching

FILM-BASED TEACHING: The need to establish and develop critical thinking skills among all SUSA students is so important that it must not be delayed in the FTF program due to poor reading skills. There is simply no reason at all that critical thinking skills must be accomplished through reading. One need only consider that William Shakespeare’s plays were written in a time when the audiences for the productions of those plays were largely comprised of illiterate people. Nevertheless, Shakespeare succeeded as a playwright. The lesson in this should ring loud and clear: achieving literacy of the written word is not a prerequisite for achieving literacy of a clear thought that is well-stated in an understood medium. Written words do not define a story any better than well-spoken words; indeed, experiencing a professional production of a Shakespeare play will better communicate the thoughtful contents of that play than any slavish read-through in a high school class can ever hope to accomplish. It is plain lunacy and the worst kind of destructive elitism to insist on reading-based learning of critical thinking skills in our present technological age. Readily available DVDs of great plays and great films along with PBS programs of all sorts from Masterpiece Theater to Nova, and also Discovery Channel programs, History Channel programs, and the whole range of independently-produced documentaries make ‘film-based teaching’ an excellent strategy for any school that truly cares about teaching all of its students, including those students whose reading skills are lacking. SUSA cares about teaching all of its students.

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