In teaching history at the school level, I have found it beneficial to use historically structured films in top level (junior / older) courses. Over time I have experienced considerable disapproval and level of resistance from a few of my co-workers. The normal assumption is that showing a feature film in class is a waste of valuable class time and can only lead to “dumbing down” the course content.
I highly disagree. Each film I take advantage of is preceded with a lecture dealing with the culture, location, time frame, events, culture, and politics covered in the film. Day before I display the film The, pupil’s are given a report guide and expected to read it carefully in preparation for the film. Based on the analysis guide question, they are anticipated to take notes during the film.
When the film is over we’ve a class discussion largely directed by student responses and questions. Then…then, they need to write a five page article about the film based on the relevant questions provided. Using films builds and maintains student interest, requiring the essays strengthens their analytical, composition, and grammar skills, as well as their understanding of historical events and periods. The 2002 film dramatized the Battle of Ia Drang in November 1965, the first major engagement of USA military forces in Vietnam.
It is based on the reserve We Were Soldiers Once… And Young by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L. Galloway, both of whom were at the fight. …