Movie Mania: Does watching a film in class help students learn?

By Bella Byus

The Periscope (Carlisle, Pennsylvannia)

The idea of watching movies within the high school classrooms have come up many times over and over. The real question is, “Are students learning from the movies shown or are they just using the time as a relax period?” It’s a battle between what the students think compared to what the teachers think, as both sides can go either way.

Teachers are always looking for a better way to engage students into the curriculum that is at hand, but students nowadays don’t want to read too many books. If teachers were to show more movies in class, the teacher would expect the students to learn and take
something away from it rather than letting the


Photo Credit: Bella Byus

content of the movie just run over them.

Yet teachers see the students using the time from movies as a relax time.

“I often catch my students using this time doing work for other classes rather than my class,” said Jamal Wells, a teacher. Students don’t use this time as a time for learning; they are using this time as a free period.

Students think otherwise.

“I support watching movies in class because it gives us a break from the teachers talking, ” said Jared Strickland, ninth grade. “Watching movies actually does teach us a lot, such as in my history class. We watched a movie scene everyday for about a week and I learned a lot about Roosevelt and the Spanish American war.”

Teachers are giving out worksheets or packets to make sure students are starting to pay attention to the material. Students actually don’t mind watching all of the movies and doing a worksheet to go along. Over the course of years, students say they watched probably one full movie in class and had to do a worksheet on it.

In conclusion, watching movies in class can actually extend the curriculum beyond textbook and show students a wide variety of what they are learning. It can also tend to have some students lose focus on what they are learning though too. If teachers add worksheets whenever they are watching a movie in class, students wouldn’t lose focus as if they were going to without the worksheet.

Photo Credit: Roey Ahram

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