The film has taught me a lot about the history of the United States and the world. It was a “scary story to tell in the dark” that taught me about the real-life impact of military drafts during the Vietnam War. “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” taught me how Germans and Jews lived in Nazi Germany. The film “The Impossible” showed me the devastating effects of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Southeast Asia.
I grew up in a culture that celebrates motion pictures but fails to establish their power in the classroom. By including films in history classes, teachers can accommodate students of different learning styles, increase engagement, and create a welcoming environment.
During the epidemic lockdown, I watched the movie “Spotlight”, which details The Boston Globe’s investigation into Boston priests accused of child sexual abuse. I was immediately impressed by the film’s ability to highlight the history of journalism and the power of the media. The actors draw national attention to their character experiences and let viewers like me know about this investigation for the first time.
I am grateful for my education, but the schools I attended in my Vietnamese-American childhood in Queens lacked the materials to help me visualize what happened throughout history.
I grew up in a culture that celebrates motion pictures but fails to establish their power in the classroom.
The written and printed texts that we have published have made the learning process uninteresting for many students. By limiting each historical event to the margins of one page, we were more likely to annotate individual lines than to realize the significance of past events.
This led me to wonder: why read a speech of protest when you can hear it directly from the movie?
For visual students, film may be the best way to capture information on a particular subject; They are especially valuable if they include footage from real events. For text students, the use of film deepens our understanding by allowing us to consider history from different perspectives. For many of us, movies make us think about the harsh realities our communities face
As a proponent of educational justice, I believe we need to raise silent stories throughout history; We can do this by showing them in different media, especially movies.
Movies such as “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” have revolutionized their community but tell stories of change makers that have not been recognized by the majority of the American public for their hard work. Movies like “Minaret” and “The Hate You Give” depict the vast struggles that our most marginalized communities endure. Each of these movies teaches us something new about the lives of people in our historically disadvantaged groups and encourages us to support greater change.
Related: What do classroom conversations about race, identity, and history actually look like?
Scientific research also supports the benefits of including film in history education. A study in the Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies found that moving pictures, attracting students ’attention, help retain.
In my experience, using more films in the history classroom increases students ’engagement, participation, and understanding of historical concepts.
In the future, I hope that our history curricula will include more films and find a better balance between film and text in our daily lessons. Doing so will create a more welcoming and accessible classroom for students most affected by inequality.
William Deep is a rising star Studying History and American Studies at Columbia University and a graduate of the New York City Public School System.
Produced by this piece about film and education Hatchinger report, A non-profit, independent news organization focusing on inequality and innovation in education. For registration Hatchinger’s newsletter.