Teachers, Counselors Gain Insights On Handling Real-Life Problems
Through Fictional Situations Portrayed In Films
14, 2000 -- The diverse experiences future teachers
and counselors will encounter are often sharply brought to life
through popular films that accurately portray complex situations.
University of Virginia's Curry School of Education combines a strong
curriculum with professional training to prepare future teachers
and counselors. In many classes faculty use films to give students
an understanding of the wide range of experiences and emotions they
may encounter in their future positions. A few examples of how faculty
teach through the use of films follow.
May, an associate professor in counselor education, uses characters
from selected films as clients for her students to study and consider
what kinds of counseling techniques should be employed. She and
a graduate student presented "Fictional Clients in the Classroom:
Using Film and Fiction to Enhance Counselor Education" at a
national conference of the Association for Counselor Education and
enhance students understanding of classic and contemporary
themes, foster insight and promote compassion and empathy,"
May said. She notes that characters in films allow her students
to hypothesize, develop treatment plans, conceptualize cases and
also uses film in her family counseling course. By showing such
films as "Ordinary People," she can bring the family "into
treatment" by describing cultural concerns, the role of the
therapist and possible treatment plans.
more information, May can be reached at (804) 982-2324 or email@example.com.
that explores such questions as "what does it mean to be ethical?"
and "how do we make good ethical decisions?" uses numerous
films. Dorothy Vasquez-Levy, an assistant professor of education,
who teaches a University Seminar, "Moral Sense in Teaching,"
uses film to help students analyze virtues and vice.
shows such films as "And the Band Played On," "The
Color Purple," "The Last of the Dog Soldiers" and
"Return to Paradise." "In the class students learn
a method for analyzing moral sensevirtues and
viceand develop an original case," she said.
more information, Dorothy Vasquez-Levy can be reached at (804) 924-0869
Figgins, director of the nationally recognized Young Writers Workshop,
uses film in her "Language, Literacy, and Culture" class
to give students innovative ways to communicate.
the examples she cites: "I show a clip from Dead Poets'
Society to suggest how Keating's approach to learning is a
metaphor for the role of Paulo Freire's text, and I screen Pump
Up the Volume to show coded language that students use. As
in the film, my students speak through pseudonyms [in an on-line
discussion] so that they don't have to fear reprisal; then I bring
in transcripts of the talk generated on-line, and we study them
as language texts, applying a variety of language concepts from
course texts," said Figgins, an associate professor of education.
more information, contact Figgins at (804) 924-0766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
an "Exploring Teaching" course, James Cooper uses films
to accomplish several different objectives. For example, he uses
them to portray ethnic or cultural sub-
that exist in schools. "The films allow students to analyze
characteristics of the
and describe appropriate teaching strategies," said Cooper,
the Commonwealth Professor of Education.
also uses films to illustrate the struggle children and adults with
handicaps often face. In addition, he shows videos of outstanding
teachers in action to help students understand the characteristics
and skills of effective teachers.
more information, Cooper can be reached at (804) 924-0860 or email@example.com.
Hallahan, nationally recognized for his expertise in special education,
uses film in his classes to help students develop an understanding
of people with disabilities. In his "Introduction to Special
Education" course, students choose to watch such films as "Children
of a Lesser God," "Forrest Gump" or "Sling Blade"
and write critiques of what issues the person with disabilities
more information, contact Hallahan, education professor and chair,
Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education Department, at (804)
924-0756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857