Powerful Stories of Schooling

Movie recommendations for PressingPausers who are interested in education and enjoy independent and foreign films. And who are convinced that the pendulum has swung WAY too far towards standardized curriculum, testing, teaching methods, and schooling more generally. And who know outside-of-school factors greatly impact what teachers are able to accomplish. And who believe poetry, emotion, and the arts are at least as important as Big Data. And who like authentic and inspiring stories about the challenges and rewards of teaching.

1) The Class

2) Not One Less

3) Spellbound

Honorable mention: Hoop Dreams; School Colors; High School II; The Boys of Baraka; The American Dream at Groton; Country Boys; Young, Muslim, and French; Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden.

The Class

Finally got around to watching this French film about a culturally diverse Parisian junior high school. Here’s a solid, albeit incomplete review. I can’t think of a film that better captures the organic nature of classrooms. Sometimes we lose touch with what should be obvious, teachers are seriously outnumbered, and because of that, their power is tenuous. Teachers, let disrespectful comments slip at your own peril.

If you lack patience, and prefer mindless entertainment, skip it. It’s a walk, not a jog, run, or sprint. On the other hand, “The Class” was a nice reminder that it’s important to slow down sometimes.