What did you learn today?

When I was at school, the teachers were expected to teach me the ‘three Rs’. For those youngsters amongst you that is Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.  Whichever way you look at it, that is wrong in the literate package of reading, spelling & speaking & listening! I never understood how that set a good example for the teaching and learning of English but you know what I mean.

In a very interesting article in the TES (Sept.3rd 2010) the work of Film Education was outlined. They are due to run their 15th annual National Schools Film Week from October 14th. During the week over 2,500 free screenings will be held in more than 500 cinemas across the country. Apparently, many schools have introduced film clubs which cater for all ages and combine entertainment with a closer look at some of the cinema classics.

The article in question not only advertised the forthcoming week but also had some suggestions for preparatory work that teachers could consider. Many of the screenings will have experts available to introduce the film or to answer questions afterwards.  Very sensible thought I but on further reading, the preparation is about the children’s behaviour!

It would appear that the experience of being in a large auditorium in darkness with huge surround sound and wonderful graphics is not enough to keep the concentration of many children. They cannot last more than a few minutes without talking, texting or eating. Now, in my opinion, this is a sad indictment of children’s understanding of how to behave in a public place.

But what really shocked me was that teachers are expected to instil the correct behaviour!

Going to the cinema was, for many years, something families did together. As one got older, it was an activity you would do with friends. It is only in recent years that large cinema complexes have seen the financial benefits of giving mass ticket allocations to schools for screening at off peak times. This may well be interpreted that, at these times,  the children are going to school ‘at the cinema’ and the responsibility for behaviour falls firmly on the shoulders of staff accompanying them. The general public may well pass comments onto staff about the behaviour but should the teaching of how to behave in this public place by down to schools?

For a long time now, the curriculum included social as well as academic subjects. The sciences, English & maths now sit comfortably alongside Personal, Social & Health Education and philosophy. Schools also have a behaviour policy which will outline the expected model behaviour together with rewards and sanctions. However I ask again, should schools be expected to be where children learn appropriate behaviour from scratch or should they reinforce the behaviour that is expected by society and therefore should start at home?

What would your parents have said if when they asked what you had learnt at school  your reply was ‘How to behave myself’!

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  • Rosiescribble

    I agree completely. My daughter was very nervous about her first cinema visit with her school. The darkness really scared her on a previous visit. She had to walk to the cinema with her teachers so I spoke to her about walking sensibly near the roads but I didn’t talk to her specifically about behaving properly while she was there because she knows already that she must behave well, especially when in a public place. It’s been of benefit to me to teach her that, otherwise she makes my life difficult if we are out together! I wouldn’t expect teachers to have to take on that role. As parents we should be doing that. Teachers shouldn’t have to teach good behaviour as well as everything else.

      

  • relativism

    I have to agree with you over the ‘three R’s’ issue, I never understood it either but it was always said with such authority you would never question it. (Even if you did it was often followed with a ‘children should be seen and not heard comment’.)

    I’ve not had a lot of experience with taking children outwith the school and I’ve had to think of a time when I had this responsibility. I ran an after school expressive arts club for three years and organised a trip to a show based on children’s art. The format was a man on the stage and the children as an audience with a few chosen to participate. Our ratio was 1:8 and I had 23 pupils ranging from p1-p6. Before we went we didn’t do any behaviour preparation work. Once in the auditorium the children were told to pay attention but again no real behaviour preparation. They were excited but settled very quickly, two of our pupils were even chosen to go on the stage and I didn’t once worry about what they may do while up there because I trusted them to know how to behave.

    I don’t think that the onus should be on schools to teach behaviour but there is always an element of setting expectations for pupils. If one of my children was needing to be taught behaviour at school I would be mortified! Parents are the first educators and there are basics expected of them. If the same scrutiny was applied to parenting as is often applied to teaching imagine the uproar?

    If I am completely honest I would say that I am disappointed at the content of this article as I don’t believe the majority of pupils do need this form of preparation to go to the cinema. I had read about Film School and have already earmarked it for another project I am working on but I can tell you now that teaching pupils behaviour skills will not form part of the preparation. The focus will be on exploration, broadening understanding and questioning.

      

    • Anonymous

      The schools which have got a film club really rate it. I was surprised as well about the content of the article. However, I don’t go to the cinema often & usually choose a time when there are not likely to be many children around so couldn’t say whether it is a real problem

        

  • Teaching at college, I am no longer surprised by how little the students go to the cinema.Due to costs and cinemas are now placed out of town.So endeavour to take the students to the cinema at least once a term, if not a month.In answer to the wider point, whilst positive behaviour models should start at the home, this is occasionally not the case and so even at college level I am required to remind, reteach or newly instal ideas of respect and appropriate conduct. Though to agree with Relativism, this is in the majority not the case.

      

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much for taking the time to pop in! Glad that you are able to build in some visits for the students. I’m sure they will appreciate it & hopfully bring their best behaviour with them!

        

  • Dianne Spencer

    It seems to me to be a highly cynical ploy to invite schools to take part in this project. Firstly because the cinemas are clearly touting for business during their quiet spells, secondly because they are obviously trying to tempt children in to the cinema way of life and thirdly …. expecting teachers to teach social skills in a cinema???? We always expect children to behave themselves on school trips but I question the appropriateness of this one!

      

  • Dianne Spencer

    It seems to me to be a highly cynical ploy to invite schools to take part in this project. Firstly because the cinemas are clearly touting for business during their quiet spells, secondly because they are obviously trying to tempt children in to the cinema way of life and thirdly …. expecting teachers to teach social skills in a cinema???? We always expect children to behave themselves on school trips but I question the appropriateness of this one!

      

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