Film has proven to be a powerful means to help children learn and develop. Phoenix cinema and art centre in Leicester has been running a training programme which helps teachers gain the skills and techniques they need to take advantage of it.
Laura Wilkinson, a learning support assistant at the Royal National Institute for the Blind in Loughborough, was on the recent Continued Professional Development courses run by Adam Pepper of Silverscreen Primary. She works with young people with varying degrees and type of disability.
“I run a session where we make our own films, particularly stop motion films. Filmmaking is a great medium for many of our students to express their own ideas and feelings through storytelling. People of all abilities are included,” she says.
Laura saw the courses, run in conjunction with MoVIES and Into Film advertised on the Phoenix website – “I just felt it would enable me to build valuable skills I could use in the classroom.”
“The course was great. The tutor was very engaging, giving us some really simple, practical ideas to teach children and adults with disabilities.”
Film’s almost universal popularity and accessibility is a powerful tool in engaging and developing children and young adults.
“It taught me about showing people film, really looking at it, listening to it and feeling it. It made me think about how to approach new curriculum subjects and how to introduce them. I want my students to start developing their own abilities.”
Benefits also come from practicing filmmaking. “All my students understand films and like films, whether it is cartoons or musicals. Enabling them to make their own films gives them a better understanding of what happens on screen.”
“When they are making films, they have to work in teams because filmmaking is a cooperative process. This leads to them forming bonds of friendship and improving their confidence.”
The Phoenix hosted courses were an unusual opportunity for Laura. “I’ve not seen anything like this anywhere else, which makes it a valuable opportunity for my own development as an educator. You also get to share your experiences with other professionals, so it’s a good forum for developing new ideas.”
Find out more about Phoenix’s schools programme.