Some were powerful, some inappropriate, and some just total wastes of time.
I had to laugh at the educator who suggested the question because he’s seemingly teaching EXACTLY the things I teach in my 9th grade class during the second semester… and he’s using the same movies I use in support of those materials.
I’m a non-believer in showing movies in their entirety during instructional time. In a day and age where just about everything is available and on-demand for discerning young people, I don’t know how great an idea it is to take up two to three days of class time to watch all of a movie, however great or small the connection to the curriculum is. To me, showing a whole movie in the classroom seems like a holdover from a time when getting and seeing films was a harder proposition for everyone involved.
The only movie I show all of in my class, from beginning to end is O Brother Where Art Thou? and the viewing of that film is tied to students’ final exams. Beyond that flick, we watch brief clips heavily supported with other materials and lesson plans.
That being said, I can think of a couple of movies I watched during my school days. I had a Spanish teacher who showed her classes el Norte, Gregory Nava’s Academy Award nominated film about two Guatemalan teenagers who leave their country and illegally emigrate to Los Angeles. I believe we watched that movie sans subtitles in a bid to get us understanding more Spanish. That gambit failed spectacularly… but I was moved by some of the more troublesome and sad aspects of the film, which were easy to pick up despite not being fluent in the language.
The only other movie I remember watching fondly was on rainy days in elementary school. With no recess, one of the teachers would show a video documentary of the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It took you through the processes that John Landis and Rick Baker used to create all the monster effects. I remember LOVING that so much I prayed for rain on some days. We probably saw it through five times over one school year.
I’d love to hear what movies you all remember fondly (or not so fondly) being subjected to in school!
The only positive movie experience in school I can think of (that had educational value) was watching GATTACA in 9th grade bio.