кандидат педагогічних наук, старший викладач
(Житомирський державний університет)
Civic Engagement THrough Movies Reviews
відповідно до новітніх підходів щодо впровадження елементів громадянської освіти у навчання, у статті запропоновано використовувати автентичні художні фільми як джерело різноманітних ситуацій та подій життя, що спонукатимуть до вирішення проблемних завдань і стануть основою для написання письмових робіт з громадянської тематики іноземною мовою – есе, творів тощо. Запропоновані проблемні завдання до декількох сучасних відеофільмів, у яких порушуються громадянські проблеми і пропонуються питання для обговорення або написання есе.
One of the most progressive traits of educational system in democratic societies beginning to unfold with us, is bringing up good citizens through civic engagement while teaching. Let us make a presumption that even movies, or the variety of ideas, thoughts, intrigues, depicted in them may be a perfect starting point for discussion and disputing on civic issues or for writing opinion essays or reviews [1;2;3]. The didactic potential of representations such as films, pictures, observation protocols, role playing is enormous. It's a well-known fact that media differ as regards vividness and message. In other words, significant insights can be achieved by means of films. Movies contain huge source for civic engagement in the classroom, you just have to watch them carefully and think them over critically. From the great variety of movies that do depict civic issues explicitly and implicitly we would recommend the following: "Just Cause", "Primary Colours", "Philadelphia", "To Kill a Mocking Bird", "Scarlet Letter", "A Few Good Men", "A Runaway Bride", "Nothing but the Truth", "The Fugitive" etc. In this article we will try to brainstorm some ideas for students' essays or reviews on several famous movies seen by everybody .
"The Fugitive" – at first sight you may think that this is one more criminal or adventure movie, just perfectly screened, but at second sight you admit that it reveals too many problems for a pure criminal film. In spite of that it shows the relations between "friends indeed and friends in need", depicts the discrepancy of power of justice and power of law and their correlation, the role of fatal circumstances and coincidence of circumstances in everyday life, it enhances the problem which is discussed rarely if at all – the problem of those people who are accused of crimes they didn't commit.
Doctor Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), the main protagonist of "the Fugitive", is a victim twice. Firstly, his beloved wife is murdered, secondly, he is the main suspect. Having his heart thorn apart he suddenly reveals that he is in a trap, that somebody just wants to get rid of him, moreover, the police gives him no chance to prove his innocence and treats him like a murderer. A strong desire to find the assassin, put him under trial, save his own life, freedom and reputation makes him escape. Dr.Kimble's escape happens accidentally and unplanned.
Here we find several items to think over in students' essays:
– In your point of view, what should Dr.Kimble do: either escape while being arrested and try to find the murderer by himself or stay in jail and wait until the investigation proceeds and his innocence is proved?
– If you are of the first opinion, what if you are not forgiven for escape and your guilt is duplicated? If you are forgiven, is it worth giving the precedent to the others, (perhaps criminals) to disobey the law?
– If you are of the second opinion, what if they find no true assassin and you are still accused? Or if the investigation lasts too long, just your whole life long, so long that the people just get accustomed to your imprisonment and the thought that you are guilty? Perhaps it was worth trying to stand for your rights yourself?
– Can the desire to find the killer, the search for the truth justify the escape and contempt of the court?
– During the whole movie, Dr.Kimble was treated like a criminal. There was shown neither a slight hint of belief in his innocence, nor any attempt to investigate the case properly in order to find an assassin, the whole deal was about catching Richard Kimble-assassin. Do you believe that only the court can plead the person guilty or not guilty?
– What did the authors of the movie imply in the title "The Fugitive": in what sense is the protagonist the fugitive?
We may propose these statements to the students to write their opinion essay or movie review, or to voice Kimble's thoughts etc; students may have their own items for discussion.
"To Kill a Mocking Bird", based on the same book by Harper Lee, is one of the examples of the movies, were the human rights problems are shown explicitly. The famous history of Tom Robinson’s case who was sentenced to death for the crime he didn't commit is well-known and there are many things in it to be discussed. In comparison with "The Fugitive", this case is complicated with race and slavery problems and can provoke disputes from historic perspective:
– Express your opinion of Tom Robinson's case, the court procedures and the verdict.
– The jury decided in favour of the white man over the coloured man. Is this situation possible nowadays? or can it be transited into other spheres (social layer, religion etc.)?
– Do you support an assumption that men are equal in sight of the Constitution? What are the possibilities to stand for civic rights?
Rather strange, but the fact that almost the same problems exist nowadays makes the discussion on race discrimination very actual. The best example of it is the movie
"Just Cause". Trivial story of a young black man coming from a poor family accused of rape and murder of a white schoolgirl. Here we meet all possible sins and horrors of contemporary society: tortures in prison that make the accused people confess to any crime, tendency of local authorities to solve their problems avoiding the law, criminal elements in the police itself, indifference to the fate of people under suspect, false justice that doesn't punish those who are really guilty because it takes time to find them but those who can't prove their alibi and can't hire qualified lawyers to defend themselves. We would recommend the following topics for written essays on the basis of this film:
– What is your attitude to the problem clearly stated in the film – in a situation when a white girl is but a victim - a black male is the first to blame?
– How can the society take control over the actions of police, investigating bodies etc. in order to avoid tortures of suspects?
– What possibilities does the suspect have to defend or acquit himself or herself when he or she has already made confession to the crime he/she didn't commit?
– Do you support the idea that those people who abet such illegal actions should be punished twice severe?
– What actions can an average citizen undertake in such situation in order to justify himself or herself? Where to find support when all the world around acts against you?
As we have mentioned if you are able to write an article, essay, review, etc, if you have already mastered writing techniques – referencing, editing, documentation of sources, quoting, reviewing literature, writing abstracts etc, then you will not have any difficulties with writing opinion essays or reviewing movies [5;6;7;8;9]. In some movies civic issues are so interpenetrated with the plot of the film that it is even hard to define them. As for further research we firmly believe that authentic movies are great source both for methodological research and civic education as vivid and true-to-life situations shown in films in the best way demonstrate such civic phenomenon as: human rights, rule of law, citizenship, civil society, democracy, freedom of speech and other individual freedoms, cultural differences, community involvement, developing trust, goodwill in society, seeking justice for all people, participation in public life.
List of Literature Used
1. Civic Education: Your Responsibility in Ukraine's Democracy. Materials of the US Peace Corps in Ukraine, 1996. – 73 p.
2. Havel V. On Civic Society. Democracy is a Discussion. – New London: Connecticut College Press, 1996. – P.54-65.
3. Lundsford A., Conners R. The St. Martin's Handbook, Third Edition. - New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995 – P.602-603.
4. Maltin A. Movie and Video Guide. – N.Y.: Penguin Books USA Inc, 1999. – 1632 p.
5. Oshima A., Hogue A. Writing Academic English. – L.: Addison Wesley Longman, 1999. – 269p.
6. Smalley R.L., Ruetten M.K. Refining Composition Skills: Rhetoric and Grammar. – Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, 1995. – 493p.
7. Tribble C. Writing. – Oxford: OUP, 1996. – 174 p.
8. Turabian K. A Manual for Writers or Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. - Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
Weisman H. Basic Technical writing. Fifth Edition. – Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company, 1985. – 478 p.
Матеріал надійшов до редакції 1.04.2004 р.
Пащук В.С. Обучение творческому письму на основе художественных фильмов как эелемент гражданского просвещения.
В соответствии с новейшими подходами к привнесению елементов гражданского просвещения в образование, в статье предлагается использовать аутентичные художественные фильмы в качестве источника разнообразных реальных ситуаций и жизненных событий, которые могут стимулировать решение проблемных заданий и станут основой для написания письменных работ по гражданской тематике на иностранном языке – эссе, сочинения и т.д.
Pashchuk V.S. Civic Engagement Trough Movies Reviews.
This article deals with contemporary tendencies in education – civic engagement while teaching. Authentic movies appealing to civic issues may serve as a perfect starting point for writing opinion essays or reviews, for discussion and disputing on civic issues. Problem tasks for writing opinion essays and movie reviews are presented basing on several famous films with civic elements.
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