Imagine yourself as a sixth-grader, who is offered during the lesson of Ukrainian literature to write an essay about happiness. Not really interesting, right? And now imagine yourself as a sixth-grader who is offered by the teacher to watch a movie. In that movie, the new clothes of the main characters, your peers, have an amazing property: each time, they slip their hand to their right pockets they can pull out money. In general, the movie says that happiness is not in the money, and tells about charity, friendship and mutual help. And only now you are offered to write an essay about happiness.
Olena Rohalova, teacher of the Ukrainian language and literature at Pryluky Gymnasium No. 1 named after Heorhii Voronyi, has chosen the second option for the sixth-graders. She says that current generation needs to be amazed by something, otherwise they do not perceive information.
This movie is The Boy with the Golden Pants from the International Programme of Children KinoFest (held with the assistance of the EU in Ukraine). Every year, the movie can be viewed free of charge at the beginning of school holidays in 22 cities. Within the framework of the Movie Club project, teachers can receive films for lessons, extracurricular activities, and, in addition, to arrange a permanent movie club in their city or school. All festival films are for children and about children. The number of participating schools in Ukraine is already more than 100. To receive films, it is necessary to complete the application.
A journalist of Nova Ukrainska Shkola spoke with Ms. Olena about the importance of showing movies to children, how children react to collective viewing, and how it is “to bring up the viewer in the child”.
“Happiness is dad”
“I’m confident: if you can change something, and it depends on you, you have to do it. Movies are also a step for the educational system”, – Olena, the teacher of Ukrainian language and literature, says.
She is 41. Six months ago, the woman left the post of director and now works as a teacher. The teacher shows films from Children KinoFest at the lessons, selecting them for the topics. There are no conditions in the school to gather many children in the hall. But the classrooms are equipped with TVs.
In the gymnasium there is a double class system, that is, the lesson lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes. According to Ms. Olena, it makes showing the film much easier. However, this is not enough for discussion. So the teacher agrees with her colleagues. She also says that children do not even want to go for a 5-minute break in the middle of a double class when watching movies.
Teacher says that in the 6th grade for Ukrainian literature there is the following topic “Essay-reflection: own reflections on happiness and ways to it”. She says that children of this age do not usually like to write such works.
“You must admit that if the teacher just tells what happiness is, it will be very “dry”. That is why I looked over the list of films from Children KinoFest and chose The Boy with the Golden Pants. There, the children had a chance to have a lot of money for life, but it turned out that this is not the main thing”, – the teacher says
Before watching the movie, she asked to raise the hand of those who dreamed of finding or winning a lot of money. No one raised their hand. Then the teacher raised her hand first.
“Sea of hands! Then we discussed with the children what would they spend them on. After watching the movie, I asked them the same question. The answers differed”, – Ms. Olena says.
In addition, the teacher tells that, when watching the same movie, she was called from the classroom for a few minutes. When she returned, a homeless person died in the movie. She says the kids were astonished. The teacher is confident that collective viewing enriches emotions. So to say they become more voluminous. Already after that, Ms. Olena asked the children to write about how they understood “happiness”.
“In the class there is a girl who lost her mother and lives with her dad. Dad also has health problems. When she wrote the text, she honestly admitted that she wanted to have money, but realized that the greatest happiness was her dad. She wrote that she was the film very helped her.
At the end of the lesson, the children got their homework: to give joy to parents and brothers and sisters. Also they played “Crocodile”, where, saying nothing, they showed different emotions, and the other participants guessed them. The next day parents called the teacher asking why the children came home so happy.
Generation of visuals
Ms. Olena notes that the activity of discussing a literary work and film is quite different. The movie is discussed more actively. The teacher is confident that it depends on the generation. Modern children are the generation of visuals.
“The teacher’s narration and the blackboard are not enough for them. And teachers, if show something, then educational films. When we were going to watch Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism, I told them: “Today we will watch a movie, whose genre I like”. They immediately looked at me watchful. Then I said that I really love fantasy and adventure films. They breathed out. After watching, they asked if it was possible to see something else like this”, – Ms. Olena tells.
Now, she says, other class ask for watching movies. They were told by 6-A and 9-A grades, where the movies were already watched. Ms. Olena is convinced that it is a good opportunity to direct the child, tell it what to watch. So to say, nowadays children have a lot of different information, and therefore they are lost in it.
“An important point in watching a movie is not just watching it, but also discussing it. Adults should lead up the child for it to make a correct conclusion”, – the teacher says.
In addition, she says, it is necessary to bring up the viewers in the children. This means not to watch thoughtlessly, but take something useful for oneself, draw conclusions, find meaning.
“Such films for my lessons are a godsend. I do not remember all the birthdays of writers, but it’s important for me to hear the child’s opinion and for it to be able to express it. My lessons are always noisy. Here you can talk, argue and give examples. That is what we are doing after watching.”
By Mariia Markovska
Source – Nova Ukrainska Shkola