English and Film Making: ‘Document Me’

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The big screen – English in film-making

In my PBL duo, I’m not traditionally the name generator. Or ever, really. Johnny comes up with these awesome puns, or amazing allusions to name our projects. This one however, was all me and I thought it was quite cool. No ‘Ion Chef’, but still I got a few chuckles during the launch.

After the wild success of our museum I was really excited to launch the next project. This was it. Every unit would be PBL. I knew I had some keen film makers in the class and I wanted to a) engage them and b) make them the experts within the room.

For me this project stands out as a an example of how PBL teaches new skills out of sheer necessity. I remember one of my über positive students looking at me in disbelief as I uttered the words film. Her whole face dropped as she listened, she immediately started searching for someone to buddy up with who knew how to film and edit. As the weeks went on, I saw this same girl working on her own dance film, orchestrating rehearsal sessions with students outside of our class, syncing her footage to the beat in her music, editing and organising transitions. By the end of the project she knew how to make a quality film.

I can’t show them here, that’d probably be breaching some sort of student privacy, but gosh I wish I could. Our film night rolled around and we were flooded with parents coming in to proudly watch what their kids had created; kids who for the most part had never enjoyed English before. And now they’re hosting a filmnight? Win! The students made food, greeted their guests, handed out programs, and then the lights dimmed… their faces filled the screens. I can not describe my pride. Of course, there were one or two who had procrastinated and ran out of time to edit properly. Or hadn’t had a dry run and regretted it. All valuable lessons. But over all this was a super positive experience, and lead to our first job offer from the community…

Student reflection.

Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 3.12.36 PM

 

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