Paul Silvia’s article Knowledge Emotions may hold some clues for successfully integrating feature films into instruction, something that intrigues and fascinates me. I have a hunch that providing the class with a common emotional experience and a set of scenarios to frame learning later in the course is an effective way to foster deep learning, leading to knowledge transfer, but I do not have much guidance for designing lesson plans around multimedia instruction.
The article explains that interest is an intrinsic motivation for learning. In other words, the class will want to watch an interesting movie for the pleasure derived from it rather than for a grade. Interest will motivate exploration, which disposes the class toward reflection and deep engagement. Adding a wrap-up or debriefing allows for this reflection and is also a change-up activity, as suggested in this week’s reading by Middendorf and Kalish.
Movies can be highly effective to motivate or facilitate learning when they induce a state of awe, which is something not typically provoked by traditional lecture. The movie sound track can be part of the awe-inspiring experience that opens one to further learning. I have wanted to open the first day of class with the theme of 2001.
In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber speak to the “emotional” aspect of learning as they advocate for time for reflection, deliberation, and open-ended inquiry in pedagogical practices, for “cultivating emotional and intellectual resilience.” [Berg 2016] Enjoying a movie together is a splendid way for a learning community to build pauses for reflection into its learning environment.
Not only are emotions key to disposing one toward learning; they tend to feel good, and thus may contribute to well-being in general. This weekend, as I endured an incredibly painful medical condition no doubt brought on in part by the stress of an academic job, I spent an hour watching a satirical current events show with my daughter. Laughing with Katherine made me conscious that the physical and psychological grip of the pain was weakened slightly during that hour.
With this week’s readings, I have a few more ideas about using movies and other multimedia content for instruction. While I’m exploring them, I’ll be sure to take the time to savor the enjoyment of the movies themselves and my satisfaction in creating a rich and pleasant learning environment.
For more information:
Kubrick, S., & Clarke, A. C. (2001). 2001: A space odyssey. EUA, Reino Unido: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Berg, M., & Seeber, B. K. (2016). The slow professor: Challenging the culture of speed in the academy. Toronto, [Ontario];Buffalo, [New York];London, [England]: University of Toronto Press.