Global Citizenship teaching and learning within ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ can benefit from the thoughtful, selective and informed use of Film. Many teachers will have their students watch chosen extracts or entire movies, films picked carefully which cover themes or narratives which will add to the knowledge and understanding of their students. Working with films also enables students to acquire and deepen skills in research, critical analysis and media literacy, helping them to handle different sources of information, form and communicate informed viewpoints.
In Scotland we are lucky to have a number of cinema festivals and venues which enable teachers to work with films about global citizenship issues and films from other countries which offer different and diverse viewpoints.
The Take One Action film festival begins today in Edinburgh and Glasgow and runs for the next two weeks. It offers a wide range of movies about global issues such as land, poverty, climate change, food, conflict and much more. There are documentaries and dramas, and many showings are complemented by themed audience discussions, interviews with film-makers and NGOs, etc. I’ve picked out just three of the films on offer, which may have particular use in school: ‘Fezeka’s Voice‘, about an inspirational teacher and musicians from South Africa; ‘Blood in the mobile’, about child labour and mineral extraction in Congo; and ‘There once was an island’, about climate change in Polynesia. For full details of the films show dates and associated activities, check the Take One Action website.
Independent Film venues often host parts of such annual film festivals, but also run their own extensive programmes of film showings which expose teachers and students to alternative perspectives. Glasgow Film Theatre, Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, and Dundee Contemporary Arts are all active in this regard, and teachers should contact their nearest venue for advance programme details which may include special showings for schools (with associated educational elements) or teacher CPD sessions.
These independent venues are also imaginative in working with partners to develop their own festivals and seasons of films which focus on a particular theme. Two examples:
- Filmhouse hosts the ‘Africa in Motion’ festival in early November, running a series of films and events which deal with the lives and issues of young people in Africa. The films include shorts, animations, fiction and documentaries.
- The Discovery Film Festival takes place at DCA in Dundee, and its schools programme runs from 22nd October to 6th November. There are teacher CPD sessions alongside the film programme.
Many venues also take part in National Schools Film Week, which for Scotland in 2011 will be from 27th October to 4th November.