Sociological Problems of Using Film in the Clasroom: A Case Study

Sherman, Brian
June 1981
Humanity & Society;Jun81, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p193
Academic Journal
The author has used documentary films six times during his twelve years as a college professor. Except for the last time when he showed a class at his current school student-made films documenting events and activities of his classes at his previous school, these films did not help him with his teaching. Perhaps he can assume that each of a number of students was affected by specific images and therefore may have learned something from these films. For the class as a whole, however, these films were a disruption of what they were doing during the semester. He thinks these films didn't work because they didn't fit the particular theatrical quality of his classroom. It is in the nature of the authority structure of the classroom in contemporary society that every teacher creates a particular theatrical atmosphere in his or her classroom. This may be intentional, or it may be inadvertent. Either way, the teacher creates a certain mood in each class. From that mood, students infer norms about what activities are and aren't appropriate in that class.


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