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Hidden Figures Is Coming to Classrooms

Mental Floss | APRIL 12, 2017

The real-life story behind the hit movie Hidden Figures doesn’t end once the credits roll; for educators, there’s now a free curriculum to use in the classroom that shines a light on the pioneering African-American women of NASA’s space program.

Published by Journeys in Film, this Hidden Figures curriculum is made up of eight lesson plans aimed primarily at social studies classes, covering topics such as the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the math of space travel. In addition to fleshing out the social and political climate that Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan were living in, some courses also focus on the movie itself, with attention paid to the filmmaking techniques used and an analysis of the shooting script.

The Instructive Power of Cinema

Journeys in Film is an innovative new project that provides foreign films and accompanying curricula to middle-school classrooms. The result? Students gain a deeper understanding of cultures around the globe, while also honing in on necessary skills like empathy, comprehension, and a more dynamic understanding of schoolroom subjects like history, math, science, and more. While textbooks have long been the educational medium of choice, founder Joanne Ashe firmly believes that film can help bolster students’ engagement with classroom lessons and serve as a window into other cultures. Click here to read more…

Teaching Tolerance Magazine | June 2016
Reel Life: Make the foreign familiar with films from around the globe.
By Eileen Mattingly

“I was surprised that Iran was so much like us. Kids are playing, having fun, adults yelling, a lot of work was being done, and kids were sad. This movie was humorous and heartbreaking.” —Clissold Elementary School student, Chicago

There is a natural human tendency, when learning about people of races, ethnicities, religions or nationalities other than our own, to focus on differences. But focusing exclusively on differences can make members of an unfamiliar group seem exotic or even alien (with all the negative connotations of that word). Click here to read more

Edutopia | October 2015
Celebrating the Day of the Girl Child
By Eileen Mattingly

October 11, International Day of the Girl Child, was established by the UN General Assembly in response to the need for greater opportunities for girls, especially in education and health, and for greater protection from domestic violence, forced child marriage, and discrimination. In the United States, we often assume that we’ve already solved the problem of gender inequality in education. Girls have lower high-school dropout rates than boys, and more girls are attending college. Special programs channel girls into subjects where they were traditionally underrepresented, and summer immersion programs provide intensive training and introductions to potential mentors. School counselors are more sensitive to gender equality in scheduling students. In Five Ways to Get Girls into STEM, Karen Purcell points out that the Girl Scouts are also striving to build interest in STEM subjects. Read More

Edutopia | August 2015
Kahlil Gibran: Humanity Through Poetry
By Eileen Mattingly

As you picked up the newspaper or logged on to a news site this morning, you almost certainly saw the term “Middle East,” probably detailing a crisis. Most readers understand that the term refers to the countries of southwestern Asia and North Africa. However, stop for a minute to think about the unspoken connotation of the term “Middle East.” East of what? Of Europe, of course, and eventually, of the United States. The very term connotes a European/American stance. Read more on dispelling stereotypes

Edutopia | March 2015
The Day of Remembrance: Using Film to Learn about the Holocaust
By Eileen Mattingly

The Day of Remembrance, or Yom Hashoah, will be marked on Thursday, April 16, this year. Numerous civic and religious organizations use the week before this date to commemorate the victims who perished during the Holocaust. Teachers who introduce this topic to their students often find that textbook chapters on the Holocaust numb students with the sheer scale of the devastation—the many millions of lives lost in this genocide. It’s simply impossible for them to visualize. To help your students understand the impact, consider using a film that focuses on an individual caught in the maelstrom of Nazism. Read More

Edutopia | August 2014
Summer Learning Through Film
By Eileen Mattingly

Summer school, year-round homeschooling, summer camps — this year, many students will be spending part of the summer months engaged in some sort of educational experience outside of the usual school year. Parents with children hanging around the house will be looking for activities to interest their vacationing students and expand their horizons. Film viewing — active viewing of quality films and supplementary activities — can be an enjoyable and memorable part of the summer’s activities. Read more to see what you can do:

Edutopia | February 2014
3 Great Films for Teaching About Globalization and Modernization
By Eileen Mattingly

With the advent of modern mass communication and world tourism, dramatic change has come to nations and cultures which had previously seen little change for centuries. Each technological or social innovation has brought unexpected and unintended consequences. One of the challenges of teaching global issues in middle or high school is helping students grasp abstract economic concepts like globalization and modernization. A well-chosen film, watched actively and with supporting curriculum, can make the difference in helping students understand how these abstract processes work out in human terms.Read more here

Asia Society | May 2009
Field Trip of Dreams:  Bringing the World to Your Classroom Through Film
By Heather Clydesdale

What if you could take your students to all corners of the globe and introduce them to the people and ways of the life in a different country – and be back by lunchtime?  These days, with a wealth of foreign DVDs readily available, foreign films can be a meaningful and effective teaching tool. Joanne Ashe, Founder and Executive Director of Journeys in Film, credits her experience at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival with sparking her idea to combine film and education. “I realized after a week of seeing these foreign language films, I had been around the world and I really felt I had met people from all over the world through these stories.” Read Article

The El Defensor Chieftan | October 2006
Students learn about culture through foreign films in freshman academy
High school played a movie about a New Zealand tribe, ‘Whale Rider’,
By Argen Duncan

Socorro High School freshmen are seeing world cultures without leaving town.  The entire freshman academy is participating in a program in which they see a foreign film at the end of every nine weeks, with the goal of helping them to understand other cultures and develop sympathy for different people. New Mexico nonprofit organization Journeys in Film operates the program. Read Article

Miami Herald | October 2005
THE BUSINESS OF AMERICA Get involved – you’ll be happy that you did
By Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“America has an abundance of potential social entrepreneurs. For example, Dr. Gloria White-Hammond, a pediatrician-minister, and Kenneth Sweder, a Boston lawyer, want to take a step toward ending genocide in Darfur through an awareness and letter-writing campaign. Lisa Foster, a Los Angeles English teacher, wants to reduce dependence on foreign oil by starting One Bag at a Time, a venture to import reusable shopping bags she discovered in Australia. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Joanne Ashe created Journeys in Film to increase international understanding in middle schools, to help heal a conflict-ridden world. These are just three of thousands.” Read Article

The Independent | April 2005
Journeys in Film: A Children’s Program
Foreign films foster awareness and tolerance
By Derek Loosvelt

“Inside Manhattan’s City Hall Academy on a dark and wet Friday morning this past February, actor Liam Neeson introduced some 35 New York City public school teachers to Journeys in Film, a nonprofit educational program using feature-length foreign films such as Whale Rider, Bend it Like Beckham, and The Cup as a springboard to instill cultural awareness and tolerance among middle school students. Neeson, national spokesman for Journeys, stressed the importance of creating global citizens and said he was honored to be in a room full of teachers, explaining that he comes from a family of teachers himself and highly respects the profession. Neeson ended his brief introduction by telling the teachers their work is vital to the long-term well being of the United States. “For the next generation,” he said, “knowledge of the world is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.” Read Article

Midwestern Review | March 2005
Arts & Entertainment

The praise from local educators for Journeys in Film, a program using foreign films to promote cross-cultural understanding and media literacy, has a familiar ring for Joanne Strahl Ashe, the program’s founder and executive director.  “The response from teachers has been phenomenal,” she said. “This is the most in-depth curriculum they’ve seen on the issues of diversity and global understanding.”

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States, interest in understanding other cultures has been increasing, Ashe believes. “Teachers in particular understand that Americans don’t understand enough about other cultures. If we’re going to effectively impact how our kids think, it’s going to be in schools.” Read Article


Yahoo Entertainment: Canadian Press | January 2005
Lights! Camera! Learning?
Students travel the world through Journeys in Film
By Andrea Baillie

TORONTO (CP) – On a recent wintry day, a group of Grade 7 students from the city’s east end took a field trip – to a Tibetan monastery.  They were back by the time the afternoon bell rang thanks to Journeys in Film, a new initiative that brings foreign films into the classroom to spark discussion about language, geography, history and culture.  About 100 students at St. Maria Goretti Catholic School took part in the Canadian launch of the program when they sat down on a recent Friday afternoon to watch a Bhutanese movie called The Cup. Read Article


Inside Entertainment Magazine | December 2004
Journeys in Cultural Awareness
By Marcus Robinson

“It has often been said that movies are the literature of the 21st century. While that might simply mean more people watch movies than read books, it also implies something else. If the pen used to be mightier than the sword, then shouldn’t we be able to say the same of celluloid today?” Read Article


Variety Weekly | July 2004
Spotlight: Small Scale, Big Results
By Carol Horst

Variety Weekly highlights Journeys in Film as one of 10 small non-profits with Blockbuster results!

Journeys in Film
Joanne Ashe, Sara Jo Fischer, Anna Rutins

Action: Org uses foreign films, paired with a detailed teaching guide developed with the Peace Corps, to bring others cultures to middle school students in the U.S. “We heard that students won’t want to read subtitles and that they wouldn’t want to watch foreign films. But in reality, the kids like reading the subtitles and they love the foreign films, because they learn so much more about the world from films than from books” says Joanne Ashe. “Young people are so media-centric that they will respond to the films, but they have not been given skills to analyze media content,” says Sara Jo Fischer. That’s where the teaching guides come in. Journeys in Film has enlisted such showbiz types as Harold Ramis to help at teachers workshops, while Liam Neeson has been involved since the beginning.  Films in the curriculum include “Bend It Like Beckham,” “The Cup” and “Whale Rider.”


Albuquerque Journal | May 2003
Kids see new cultures in film
By David Steinberg

Joanne Ashe of Placitas couldn’t be more pleased: The reactions have been nothing but favorable to her just-completed pilot project to promote cross-cultural understanding through the showing of a world cinema on the big screen.  Some 225 students and their teachers from four Albuquerque middle schools participated in the project, called “Filters – Crossing Cultural Boundaries through Film.”  A key element was a special screening of the film “The Cup” last week at the Madstone Theaters.  Read Article