In-Class Films Facilitate Learning

(COVINGTON, La) — Many teachers at St. Paul’s School have recently incorporated movies and films into their lessons to help students in understanding certain material.

“Bookwork is important, but guys tend to see it as just bookwork,”  Religion III teacher Luke Barwick said. “In a film, they relax, they just get into it, and then the surprise is how the film has really spoken to them.”

In classes that study literature, for example, a teacher might show the film adaptation of the book that is being studied. Or, in a science or social studies class, a documentary showing examples of what is being learned could be helpful to any students who are struggling to grasp the material just off of regular teaching methods.

Barwick’s film collection is displayed with a number of captivating movies. (Photo by Blake Franklin)

“If the teacher makes sure to pick films that will engage the students, I think it can really bring a different connection to the lesson,” Honors and AP U.S. History teacher Stephen Dale said.

Sometimes, the purpose of a movie might be unclear at first, but there is an underlying meaning that pertains to what is being taught.

“What I try to do is try to find films with a strong spiritual component, but not right up in your face about it,” Barwick said. “So, people who might be turned off by an in-your-face approach can get into this film and they won’t even realize that their hearts are being touched.”

Movies can be a great educational resource, even if they aren’t meant to be. This is especially true for students who are visual learners because they can get a better idea of the subject matter through watching films on that subject.

“I’ll show any film that can help add context to the content that I’m trying to teach at that point,” Dale said. “Textbooks and workbooks can only go so far. Sometimes it helps to add images and audio to add depth to what we’re talking about.”

While some may believe that showing films in class is a waste of time, most teachers and students agree that carefully selected films can bring much more to a class lesson than bookwork and lectures can by themselves.

Stephen Dale shows his U.S. History class an episode of the miniseries “America: The Story of US,” a series recreating the historical events of the American Revolution. (Photo by Blake Franklin)


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