Movies as a Teaching Tool

Movies as a Teaching Tool

By Dr. Kisholoy Roy

For several decades, education has involved either chalk, duster and blackboard or marker pens or whiteboard. The teaching methodology has largely involved a teacher/trainer coming to a class and addressing students and demonstrating certain aspects of a study on the board or through power point presentations. While this system or methodology of teaching has stood its ground for years, one needs to appreciate the fact that there has been a proliferation of various types of courses in the country especially in the last decade. Also it is high time for streams like management studies to be delivered with certain amount of differentiation. The simple reason being greater amount of competition has set in that space. Moreover the psyche, retention and thought process of students have underwent a paradigm shift over the years. Students of MBA programs are now glued to their mobile phones and internet surfing, downloading etc. Arresting the attention of students for a span of some 1-1.5 hrs in a class is a challenge but then there are already several teachers across subject domains who have adopted the strategy of edutainment which is nothing but a combination of offering education in the form of entertainment. It has been observed that movies which are an important ingredient of entertainment have often been used to perfection by teachers to teach important topics.

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There are several areas in management studies like corporate social responsibility (CSR), business ethics, team building, leadership which either seems boring to a large group of students or are little too 'well understood' by them. However the eye opener happens for them when they get to see these things happening in a setting which is known to them (that is a movie they have watched) but they never realized that a particular aspect of management lay hidden in that plot. A movie like Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts is a great teaching tool to a class that is supposed to learn and imbibe CSR and business ethics. A movie like Chak De India or Lagaan can well be considered as a teaching tool by a teacher who is to teach team building and leadership. Selling is about convincing people about an idea or concept and in that context how about showing the clip from the movie Gandhi where Mahatma raises the salt in his hand after the Dandi March to the Sabarmati? How about teaching effective sales pitching using the video of the song Sar Jo Tera Chakraye featuring Johny Walker?

Movies as a teaching tool have several advantages over traditional form of teaching with chalk and duster or for that matter marker pens and white board. To begin with, the class is relaxed yet attentive and interested. It is the best environment to learn a subject and retain it for a long time. They offer a dynamic and flexible learning environment. Movies facilitate greater scope for students to interact and share their opinions in class which is definitely something that good teachers want to pursue. Innovation from a teacher can actually allow creative use of movies in class for teaching across subject domains.