OPINION: English teachers should show more movies in class

Movies and film can help the majority of people understand stories better.

By Tess McIntyre,
BlueDevilHUB.com Editor–

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65 percent of people are visual learners. This means that the majority of people learn better when information is presented in a visual medium.

English teachers should move towards incorporating more and more visual media, specifically movies, into their classrooms to help students become more immersed in the stories read for class.

Davis High English teacher Drew Barclay believes that movies are beneficial for students.

“Videos and film totally helps those visual learners not only internalize info, but also really stay engaged,” Barclay said. “So [teachers] like to make sure that to some extent we are feeding into what you guys enjoy, which is a visual depiction of something.”

Senior Katrina Toups, a visual learner, considers movies to be something that helps her to understand storylines, characters and themes from novels she reads for class.

“Watching movies reinforces the ideas from the novels into my head, and gets me further immersed into the story. They also help me remember who the characters are because sometimes they all seem very similar when I’m reading,” Toups said. “Even though the adaptations might not be entirely accurate to the novel itself, it still gives me a better understanding of the work as a whole, and I actually remember the events that take place in the book.”

Movies can also help with understanding certain kinds of language. For example, students who are not familiar with early modern English tend to struggle with understanding Shakespeare’s writing, so watching a re-enactment of his plays help with comprehension of both major plot points and subtleties alike.

While there is a case against frequently watching movies during class time, as films over an hours take multiples days to complete and the environment gives students an opportunity to doze off or do other work, DHS teachers like Carin Pilon find ways to combat possible inattentiveness and make the multiple days worthwhile.

“If I’m going to show a movie, I am going to develop an assignment to accompany that movie. I want it to be meaningful– not just busy work,” Pilon said. “I’ve learned that if I don’t provide an assignment, students use ‘movie time’ to nap, do homework for other classes, to socialize, etc. While those are all important things, that’s not what I want happening in my classroom during my time.”

Toups thinks that though watching long movies can be difficult, they still benefit her.

“Watching an entire movie for a block period can sometimes be a bit tedious, especially because the majority of the books we read in English aren’t action packed, but I do feel that overall it’s worth it because I actually can remember what happened in the book,” Toups said.

Toups is right, watching long movies can be tedious, but whether students realize it or not, movies assist them in understanding and becoming more involved in the story being told.

In the end, movie adaptations of books are an important part of learning and help the majority of people retain information and gain a better understand of stories. Educators need to incorporate as much meaningful visual media into their curriculum as possible, without sacrificing valuable class time, in order to cater to the average student.


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