Thursday, January 13, 2011

Movies and Teaching

First things first:  Watch this.

I think that this is an example of how NOT to test.

Let's discuss:  we looked at a movie in class today that talked about features of teaching using a film.  The features were:

Review the film first

Make the environment optimal for learning

Prepare the class for what they will need to get out of the film

Review the film and answer questions


In the above video, Dwight has given a fire safety lecture, and he wants to test the retention and application of his materials.  Although I question his methods, I do applaud his follow-through and testing in a practical setting.

I think that we as teachers need to take both the above video from the Office and the film that we watched today (and the lessons learned from it) into account when using film in class.  After we watched the film in class, we were given a test.  Some of the class were given different instructions than others on how to watch the film, and so they did poorly on the test.  This is important to remember - as we've been told many, many times, assess what the students have learned in class.  What we need to take from the video in the Office is that students need to know that they are going to be tested, and for the test to be a FAIR assessment of what they have learned, rather than trying to frustrate and trick them.

Side note:  I found that in one of my classes, showing YouTube videos was a great way to connect with the students, because it showed them that I was in tune with what they thought was important.

Final points:  Videos are great to use in class, but I find that they can be overused sometimes.  A video should never be a substitute for teaching, but rather an aid and a complement.  Videos cannot administer tests, get to know the students, or assess for purposes of learning.  But they can accent a point that we are making, show information in a new way, or just give you (or the students) a break. 

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