Home / In the Spotlight / Keeping the Classroom Current with Film


Teachers face the challenges of keeping up with the latest trends. So what’s the buzz this year?

Keeping Current in the 2013 Classroom

From what I see on education sites and from what I hear in the hallways, teachers are working on adjusting to the nightmare of the common core, new technologies and devices while trying to maintain a collaborative learning environment. I also see an upswing in lesson plans promoting empathy, kindness and human connections.

This is good news for Journeys in Film since its free curriculum (Films) focuses on teaching global connections using film while still covering core standards in the educational system.

Using Technology in the Classroom

Now I know viewing films in the classroom isn’t exactly cutting edge. In fact, I had teachers centering lesson plans on films (on actual reels!) way back in the 1970’s. However, teachers today teach through film in the classroom differently. And more effectively, in my opinion. Today’s educator knows that teaching with film is more than viewing a film then having a question and answer time. Film is a springboard for immersive learning.

Now film is used more as a tool to reach students of various learning styles. It is a conduit for hands-on lessons as well as a tool for promoting discussions which teach a variety of subjects ranging from math to art to science and sociology (and more).

Reaching all Learning Styles

One of the best parts of using film-based lesson plans in the modern classroom is the way it promotes versatility in learning. This is extremely important according to a study published in February of 2013. This study entitled Assessing experiential learning styles: A methodological reconstruction and validation of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory[1] notes that “convergence of teaching and learning styles will not only increase the learning effectiveness of students, but will also increase student flexibility, permitting them to alter their learning styles in response to varying environments.

The Common Core and Student Benefits

Educators teaching with Journeys in film free lesson plans note that the lessons utilize technologies and devices and maintain a collaborate learning environment while promoting empathy, kindness and human connections–perfect tools for the modern classroom. Each lesson in the Journeys in Film units was written to meet one or more of the standards and indicators listed by McREL. The lesson plans are also aligned to the new common-core standards. It is a relatively easy task for teachers to read through the standards listed and identify the corresponding state standards.

When educators teach through film, students benefit. Teachers have reported that the Journeys in Film program was beneficial to their students; reported student gains in “empathy” and “acceptance”; and progressive increase in “curiosity” about the world beyond their own cultural groups as well as the ability to make distinctions that are more refined e.g., not confusing Iran for Iraq.[2]


[1] Chris Manolis, David J. Burns, Rashmi Assudani, Ravi Chinta, Assessing experiential learning styles: A methodological reconstruction and validation of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory, Learning and Individual Differences, Volume 23, February 2013, Pages 44-52, ISSN 1041-6080, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2012.10.009.