Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thoughts on Teaching and Learning in Movie Clips

This post has grown into something more than I thought it would be when it was still in my mind. I wanted to post about a couple of great movie clips and how they make me think and then it grew.  I then needed to set a limit and decided on 11 (for the year 2011). It was still difficult because I really hadn't defined what my focus was. So here is what I believe in as a teacher and a learner :).

1. Its Always About the Students! (About a Boy)
  • The students have to come first - even in those situations where I have to take a risk to make it happen. 
  • Here is the clip (embedding was disabled on this clip so have a link instead): About a Boy Movie Clip - Killing Me Softly
2. Always Remember My Privleged State (The Blind Side) 
  • Peggy McIntosh writes about the invisible backpack of privlege and how we need to define and acknowledge the unearned privleges that we have for a vareity of reasons. What is always a challenge to me is what do you do once you have recognized it? We need to recognize that maintiaing our state of unerned privlege at times will only serve to further isolate and opress others.
  • Here is the clip (embedding was disabled on this clip as well): I've Never Had a Bed Before Clip from The Blind Side 
3. Teach them to "Never Give up on Your Dream" (Purusit of Happyness)
  • Here is where this blog post started as the idea was born from reading Justen Tarte's post titled "7 videos that WILL ignite a discussion...". 
  • I love this movie!  It really speaks to defining your dream and going for it no matter what hurdles you have to get over to get there.  If there is anyway I can pass that message on to my students then I will.  Right now all I got is to start by modeling it.

4. Meet the Student Where He/She Is At (Martian Child) 
  • Each of our kids come to us with a whole history that we don't know about and even if we do know about it we really can't fully understand it.  Watching this relationship build in this movie really speaks to ensuring that we account for where the student is at.
  • We need to give students the tools (in this case sun screen and sun glasses) in order that they feel safe in the world.  As a teacher I equate this to opening up opportunities for modifications and adaptations but the lesson in this movie to be learned is that the sunglasses were and sunscreen were given to this child and then there was a wait until he came out of the box himself.  He was not forced to come out of the box now that he had the tools needed to live outside the box. 


5. Actions Do Not Always Reflect Feelings (Adam) 
  • As a parent this movie touched my very soul.  It is a love story with an ending that might appear sad to some but for me it speaks to the fact that the greatest gift you can give someone is allowing them to believe in and do for themselves.
  • This clip in particular though speaks to the need to remember that actions and feelings are not always on the same page.  Here Adam says he doesn't know what to do.  We can't go in assuming that anyone (even us) will know what to do in these messy emotional situations.  We need to focus more on teaching emotion management and not restrict ourselves to the cleaner social skills. Life is messy!

6. Don't Speak for Others! (Temple Grandin) 

  • Teaching students to be self-advocates is near and dear to my heart.  I blieve this is the greatest "gift" that including students with disaiblities can bring to the "regular classroom".  We need all students to understand themselves well enough to be able to advocate for themselves.  Right now things are being done in the disability feild to this end but we are for the most part still leaving kids to advocate for themselves through things like "cyber bullying".
  • This clip is great to because there are many individuals with autism at the workshop - this is something I have not seen at any of the workshops on autism that I've attended.  Why are "we" putting ourselves in a position where we are the keepers of information on autism?

7. The Role of Knowing Self for Independence (At First Sight)

  • This is a long clip.  It starts with a commentary on how when we do too much protecting we actually end up inhibiting growth.  Sometimes we need to step back and let people face and deal with their own challenges because it is in doing this that we all learn to really live.
  • This quote about sums it up: "We live in darkness when we don't look at what is real about ourselves - about others - about life. You don't need eyes to see what is real about yourself." 
  • Here is the clip (again embedding was disabled): Last Part of At First Sight
8. Possibility Is Inside Each Person (Pay It Forward)

  • This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Talk about real learning!  I love this clip where the teacher tells the students that its "possible".  What a great word!  If at the end of the day the only lesson I've taught my students is that its possible I would feel that I've done a pretty great job.

9. Let Them Shine Their Lights (Coach Carter)
  • Don't ever get pulled in to all those people who will talk negatively about our students.  They are amazing and if they are having troulbe showing us that then we just need to find the way to help them show it. 
  • I believe strongly in setting high expectations.  

10. Build Relationships By Repeating Until They Believe You (Good Will Hunting) 
  • It starts with the statement of "I know who I am and I'm proud of what I do."  I need to model that.
  • The part that touches me deeper though is the importance of relationship and how hard it sometimes is to get to that point.  No amount of smarts in the world will matter if we are carrying too much emotional baggage.

11. In The End the Only Person You Answer to Is Yourself (Rudy)

  • Again a quote: "You don't have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself."
  • We are striving for, and encouraging, excellence, not perfection. 


  1. I have got to get hold of the Temple Grandin movie!
    What a sensational clip

  2. Thanks for stopping by here and over at my other blog Sue. I look forward to getting to know you. The Temple Grandin movie is amazing. It really speaks to fostering student's passions as there is a science teacher in the movie who obviously changed Temple's life (she speaks of him often in her presentations). The book "Thinking in Pictures" is also amazing.