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We’ve been interested in the recent TES debate on the value of watching film in the classroom.


Tom Bennett, a secondary teacher from East London and government adviser, argues that watching film in the classroom uses time that could be better spent “learning”.


“Schools aren’t marketplaces and kids aren’t customers, but value for money is still something we can take seriously in classrooms and schools. I’m not talking about the simple cost/ benefit analyses of the spreadsheet but bang for your buck. I was reminded of this last week when I heard a parent from another school complain that their child had been given a DVD for the entire afternoon that day. Was it part of a syllabus? No. Was it part of some broader study? Was it tangentially educational? Was it a “treat” for some other greater labour? All no. It was just there. Why should I fret about making sure my son attends every day, on time,” she said, “if a teacher treats lesson time as something so disposable.””


Paul Reeve of Into Film responded:


“…we challenge strongly his assertion that watching movies in the classroom should be the sole preserve of media courses, especially if we are supposed to infer from this that films cannot be hugely rich resources for learning, or indeed that the stories they tell cannot be intrinsically educational.A well-chosen film (including short-form films used by many teachers), used well, can help bring learning to life, stimulating thought and understanding, and acting as a springboard for lively classroom discussion and debate. And this applies to just about every subject, curriculum area or issue you care to name.”


At BOP, we are firmly on the Into Film side of the debate. But we also think it is interesting that the value of making film hasn’t been mentioned.


We know from our work on the BFI Film Academy that these activities can help young people develop confidence and empathy, the skills for working in a team or focusing alone, as well as driving a passion for the art form. It is hard to argue this isn’t “learning”.

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By BOP Consulting

Callum Lee

Managing Director

Callum leads the BOP team, its portfolio and strategic partnerships. His cultural and creative industries expertise is founded on leading analytical research and policy formulation in the UK and internationally.

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Callum Lee

Callum Lee

Managing Director