- Series: Young Adult Literature S
- Paperback: 202 pages
- Publisher: Heinemann (November 18, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0867093773
- ISBN-13: 978-0867093773
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,570,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reel Conversations: Reading Films with Young Adults (Young Adult Literature S)
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“[Teasley and Wilder] have given the profession an invaluable, much-needed guide.”–NCETA Notes
About the Author
Alan Teasley serves as director of staff development for the Durham, North Carolina Public Schools and adjunct assistant professor in Duke University's graduate and undergraduate teacher education programs. Alan has also conducted workshops and published articles in English Journal, The ALAN Review, and The Iowa English Bulletin.
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Having just completed a dissertation about the use of film in the classroom--although I found what was said in this book to be consistent with the literature and my own study findings--I subtracted a star for three missing pieces: lack of an index, more information about the logistics of showing a film (invaluable for teachers for whom this is a new activity), and more of a research base to address "why do this and not that." A further review of their references indicates that a basis for Teasley and Wilder's approach exists, but isn't used sufficiently for justification of their recommended methods.
For example, there are a lot of explanations made about appropriateness of a film to the audience which translates to development. Just a few references to pertinent developmental psych (or even cognitive, educational psych, or human development) would have been useful to explain not just "what" but "why." Although they do mention "deep structure" in their explanation of genre, they do not link it to the characteristics they ask learners to look for in genre films.
There are a number of good references included, but many more are missing. For teachers disinterested in this type of information, it might be included in one chapter that could be skipped. That would add significantly to the book's sparse theoretical foundation and make it equally useful for academics and researchers as well as practitioners.
Other research areas germane to learner response to film, for example, are the function of "mirror neurons" in terms of character identification and empathy, and a study by Israeli neuroscientists indicating that there is no consistency between participant brain scans while viewing a feature film, EXCEPT when they're watching faces, places, and hands--all external stimuli. (This research--the only of its kind--discusses what's actually going on in people's brains when they are watching film.) Nor did the authors directly address learners' worldviews and how they affect expectations, reactions, and the impact of films--which is huge.
I suppose I'm talking myself into writing a book to fill these gaps, aren't I? After having searched far and wide, there's very little available to help teachers both select and use film effectively. In our media-saturated society, it's a very good skill for teachers to develop, but one not as obvious or simple as might be assumed.
These criticisms aside, this book takes a leap forward in helping teachers who want joy and excitement--not to mention learning--to return to their classrooms. For anyone unconvinced how involved kids get with movies, just visit the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) forums. Kids are watching and discussing movies with or without responsible adult guidance. As educators, we're missing a huge opportunity here. This book--via highly practical and well-thought-out methods that are, in fact, based on theory--is an excellent start of a return to relevance in the classroom.