MODULE 2 - DECRYPTING INFORMATION
SESSION 4 : DECRYPTING DIFFERENT MEDIAPractical activities
ACTIVITY 1 – FILM DEBATE
Projection screen or white wall + video projector or TV, DVD player or computer
Internet connection, scrap paper, pencils
Worksheets for students to fill in
SHEET 9 – ACTIVITY 1
A film debate uses a film or video viewing to encourage students to voice their opinion on societal issues (Balkan youth emigration, ethnic tensions, discrimination against the LGBT+ community, widespread corruption, etc.). The post-viewing discussion gives participants a chance to express their points of view and also, in a respectful and attentive atmosphere, confront ideas that differ from their own and thus nurture different points of view.
Additionally, this activity is also a way of discussing portrayals on screen and the possible use of images to discuss an issue – such as in the case of a film – and to analyse audio-visual media tools such as documentaries and news reports.
More broadly, the activity inspires students to think critically about the things they have learned in the news report or film by understanding the ways information is shared through images and ultimately through debate and discussion.
Furthermore, the activity showcases the advantages of an audio-visual tool that is popular with young people and captures their attention more effectively.
1. Prepare the film debate: Teachers identify a news report, film, or documentary on the issues they want to discuss with participants.
2. Prepare the worksheets for students to fill in: Teachers provide students with worksheets that contain necessary information about the film (including information on the director and background information to understand the creator’s motivation behind the piece). For sample evaluation grid that can be customised if necessary, SEE ‘APPENDIX’.
3. Set up the room and procure the required equipment (video projector, speakers, chairs/desks).
4. Hand out the sheets: Participants fill in the first part of the sheets during viewing.
5. Watch the film.
6. Before starting the discussion, lead into it by identifying with participants the methods used to convey information (Interview? Hidden camera? Is the story being told sad or hopeful? Positive or negative images? etc.).
7. Lead the discussion of ideas with the help of the second part of the worksheet prepared beforehand by the teacher: ‘Questions for students’. The discussion should lead students to ask various questions about the particular issue.
Example: The teacher takes a quote or scene from the film that can be interpreted in multiple ways. The teacher states his or her point of view, asks the students to express theirs, and then to explain and justify them. Students express their opinion physically by moving to different parts of the room (students stand on the left, right, or in the middle depending on their opinion) in the style of a moving debate. Once they have joined their side, students are asked to express their point of view. They can change sides but cannot stay in the middle.
8. Wrap up: This is the moment to ask participants what they thought of this activity (did they like the debate? The film?) and to encourage them to take greater advantage of this medium, which is generally is more detailed and reliable than news found quickly on the internet.
DOING THIS ACTIVITY ONLINE
- Teachers send students the video file or grant them access to a film/documentary viewing platform and do the same for the worksheets (see appendix: evaluation grid for debate).
- Students watch the film remotely.
- Students answer the questions on the worksheets.
- The teacher creates a link on the videoconferencing platform Zoom (or other platform) and sends it to students.
- Once everyone is in the same ‘virtual meeting room’, the teacher puts the students into groups (depending on the number of participants).
- Most videoconferencing platforms have screensharing, which students can use to share their answers and opinions written on virtual Post-Its from the website https://note.ly/.
- The teacher uses these observations to moderate the discussion.
APPENDIX: EVALUATION GRID FOR THE FILM DEBATE
1. Director: personal history; what other films has this director made?
2. Film characters: Who are they? What do they do in the film? What do they have to say?
3. Visual style: Describe the visual elements (images, ambiance, etc.) Why did the director make these visual choices?
4. Intent: Is the director using the film to convey a message? Why did the director choose to do so with a film/documentary?