Film literacy class
Film literacy class
The Film literacy class organized within Astra Film Junior 2016 opens a series of trainings that set forth getting teachers acquainted with documentary films, their subjects, how to make them and use them in the educational process. The class organized in 2016 is a pilot-project, within which Astra Film Junior has invited an international trainer with experience in using documentary film in schools and in elaborating learning materials based on documentary film. The project will continue by inviting other trainers from the country and/or from abroad, one of the main objectives being, aside from introducing teachers from Sibiu to this field, to prepare trainers for film literacy.
This film literacy program aims to make available for teachers/professors the necessary instruments for developing film literacy activities for their classes: viewing a narrative film in the form of a cinema screening (the experience of viewing the film in a community is enhanced by sharing the emotions and spontaneous reactions with the other people in the audience), post-viewing activities in the form of cinema lessons and other educational activities, all of them representing an alternative learning experience, which has become very popular among students.
The film literacy class for teachers is structured to be intensive. For two days, an international trainer with experience in the field of film literacy projects for students is to initiate the participants in the basics for creating an educational content based on documentary film, aiming to pave the way for students towards the understanding of cinematic language. The class is structured in modules: the theoretical module and the applied module.
At the end of the class, participants acquire the ability to organize and hold lessons of non-formal education through film in the classroom, as well as notions regarding how they can make and decipher film, being an excellent way to add on the experience in a leading field. The class lays emphasis on communication and the expressing one’s own view, on feedback, working on a team and developing creative abilities.
Within this year’s training, the 20 participants and teachers from schools in Sibiu, have made the first steps towards understanding and decoding cinematic language, they have clarified their basic criteria based on which documentary films differentiate from narrative ones, and they acquired concepts about the methods to evaluate content and characters in a film. During the class, participants have elaborated a series of exercises and activities dedicated to primary classes, which can underlie post-viewing learning materials for the films in the Astra Film Junior 2016 programme.
Like any other educational instruments, films can be used in various ways and for various purposes in the classroom, if teachers are enthusiastic and creative enough. In my opinion, there is a global trend towards the qualitative decrease of the educational process. Moreover, the passive acquisition of knowledge through the teaching-learning-reproducing the learnt lesson mechanism is present at large scale. Yet, the main purpose of educators is to offer their students the chance to develop their creative abilities and skills to the utmost extent.
My strong belief is that, by looking at things from this perspective, the film is very useful. The film informs, determines you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it describes people and situations better than any written text, it can simultaneously show the bigger picture and the details. If we knew how to use it in the classroom, the film would offer perspectives, give rise to questions, discussions, debates, cultivate critical thinking, it could initiate a research or trigger social changes. And, last but not least, being our main training objective, viewing films with the concept of film literacy on our mind, we improve the students’ abilities to properly observe and “read” the films, motion pictures, since their generation is exposed to audiovisual content consumption more than ever before.
Sasho N. Alushevski, Republic of Macedonia (psychologist, specialized in non-formal education with over 10 years of experience in film literacy, author and co-author of visual education manuals and learning materials for film education in schools)
Action co-financed by the Sibiu County Council and Sibiu City Hall through the Community Agenda.