ED 407 Week One (Fall 2022)

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to our ED 407 Portfolio class.

Why I believe in the value of educational documentaries.

I should tell you right up front why I believe there is great value in viewing educational documentaries. Here is my little story. I came from a middle class background. And, while in school, I always found myself in a position where I could get a high paying summer job in the Alberta oil field. So I didn’t have an awareness that others might struggle financially. When started teaching school, I just assumed that my students’ families would have enough money for supplies or field trips. I am embarrassed now at how naive I was at the time. Then I happened to watch a three-part documentary on poverty. The documentary told the story of a rural family who experienced great hardships because of the financial struggles they faced. Yet, they did everything they could to make it appear as through they were doing alright. This story could have been about one of the students’ families I was teaching. How could I have been so blind? That one documentary changed the way I thought about my students’ possible circumstances profoundly. I was transformed more by that one documentary, the story of that struggling family, than I was by much of the information I learned in many of my other education classes.

I have encountered a number of powerful documentaries that have influenced the way I think. Of course, I have encountered many documentaries that didn’t seem to move me much at all. But I do believe in the power of story. And when one is lucky enough to view the right one at the right time it can be quite impactful.

I am sharing with you a wide variety of documentaries. I know many will have little impact on you. Some might have some impact. But perhaps if it is the right time for you, one might have a profound impact on you.

 

Our Reflective Portfolio

We will be designing a reflective portfolio of work that will show coverage of a breadth of educationally significant ideas as well as a depth of analysis and consideration of the significance of those ideas.

Although I won’t be asking you to formally compile all of your reflections into one single portfolio, the culmination of your responses will act as your portfolio of thought.

 

The definition of a portfolio is: “a selection of a student’s work (such as papers and tests) compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress.” You will be producing a portfolio that reflects on a broad range of educational topics. Your reflections will an artifact of your consideration of the content at hand.

 

I think you will like the wide variety of topics that I have selected. I hope so. I have tried to find at least something that will appeal to everyone.

 

 

We watch documentaries and respond.

There are advantages and disadvantages to viewing documentaries. Documentaries can be entertaining. They generally provide us with facts and evidence for the arguments being made. We are able to enter into a variety of contexts and experience those contexts in ways the subjects lived out the events. We are often able to feel empathy with those in the story. We are able to gain knowledge we might not otherwise have gained. And, complex issues are often made clear to us in interesting ways.

However, we should also be aware of the shortcomings of documentaries. Documentaries are made by writers, directors, and producers who are often biased or trying to present a particular point of view. One side of a story might be told, while another side might be neglected. The facts that are presented might be fabricated or distorted in an attempt to sway the viewer into believing a particular aspect of the argument. Not only might there be bias in the treatment of the information, we might not be told the sources, or alternative view points. We might not hear of conflicting viewpoints. And we might not know the assumptions of those creating the documentaries or the assumptions of those being portrayed.

So obviously, we are wise to view documentaries with caution, and continue our questioning or research on our own.

I have, however, tried to choose documentaries that are reasonably well done, reasonably credible, fairly recent (as far as educational videos go), and documentaries that do speak to the common discourse of the modern, school system. Even though some documentaries might seem dated, the ideas being presented are relevant and worth considering.

 

How much time should I be devoting each week.

The designated viewing time each week represents the typical amount of class time spent in a university course. That amounts to approximately 180 minutes a week.

I provide you with choices that not only account for the required class time, but that will also allow you some leeway to choose blocks of documentaries that interest you. Some viewing blocks or weeks might require a bit more time, some a bit less. Overall, the time should average out to meet our requirements.

 

So let us begin.

 

First you will need your Response Form. You can access it here.

Find your Response Form Here

This Response Form is the outline to answer questions from your viewing of each documentary. I think you will find this very straight forward.

 

Next you will need to choose either the documentaries from Section 1, Section 2, or Section 3. (Not all weeks will have three sections, but some do).

 

What if I like the both parts in one week more that the documentaries suggested in another week?

Feel free to substitute documentary sets if one set appeals to you more than another. But do keep in mind, sometimes that documentaries that might not initially sound appealing might be of value to you if the documentary is broadening your perception.

While watching the documentaries from either Section 1, Section 2, or Section 3, pleas fill out your response form.

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Now, on with the show:

 

Choose Section 1 OR Section 2 OR Section 3

 

**** Click on the Section 1 link below ****

****to access the videos in Section 1 ****

Section 1

 

If you chose Section 1 you will view the documentary TEACH, and a three part documentary called the Chinese Takeover.

In TEACH

We all have had a teacher who’s shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and whom we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today. To look at education in America, Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim brings us his third documentary TEACH, which asks the question, What does it take to be a teacher? Offering a rare glimpse inside four public school classrooms, Guggenheim invites us to follow the struggles and triumphs of America’s education system through the eyes, minds, and hearts of its most essential resource: teachers. Intense and emotional, this year-in-the-life of four public school teachers illustrates how tenacity, innovation, and a passion drives these educators as they navigate the ups and downs of the 2013 school year.

The Chinese Takeover

In a unique experiment, five teachers from China take over the education of 50 teenagers in a Hampshire school to see whether the high-ranking Chinese education system can teach Britain a lesson. Will the harsh regime of long days and strict discipline produce superior students? Or will the clash of two cultures create chaos in the classroom? After four weeks, the Chinese and British systems will go head to head with the whole year group taking exams to see which teaching style gets the best results. Day one of the experiment proves a shock for everyone, and there are tears when the teenagers discover just how competitive the Chinese teachers expect them to be. A BBC Production.

 

**** Click on the Section 2 link below ****

****to access the videos in Section 2 ****

 

Section 2

In Section 2 you will view the documentary TEACH, Democracy Left Behind, and Communities as Classrooms.

Teach

We all have had a teacher who’s shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and whom we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today. To look at education in America, Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim brings us his third documentary TEACH, which asks the question, What does it take to be a teacher? Offering a rare glimpse inside four public school classrooms, Guggenheim invites us to follow the struggles and triumphs of America’s education system through the eyes, minds, and hearts of its most essential resource: teachers. Intense and emotional, this year-in-the-life of four public school teachers illustrates how tenacity, innovation, and a passion drives these educators as they navigate the ups and downs of the 2013 school year.

Democracy Left Behind: NCLB and Civic Education

Wonder why voters are not more informed about issues which underlie election campaigns? While schools should play a vital role, their ability to serve a civic mission has been severely constrained by a narrowed curriculum and increasing focus on test scores. This program demonstrates how difficult it is for many students to understand what their education means in the larger context of the society and world they live in, while also showcasing alternative models that can lead to an informed and engaged citizenry.

Lessons from the Real World: Social Issues and Student Involvement

A follow-up to Democracy Left Behind: NCLB and Civic Education (item #39484), this program looks at community-based learning in K–12 education. The film explores a wide variety of educational settings in which action-oriented lessons enable students to work outside the classroom, in their own communities. While taking nothing away from the importance of traditional academic subjects, the film promotes the idea that math, reading, and other areas are more effectively explored if students care about what they are learning—rather than being drilled with subject matter divorced from their real lives and the environments that often impact them. (55 minutes)

Communities as Classrooms

This program follows producer Bob Gliner as he introduces an educational experiment in participatory democracy at four schools in El Salvador that can serve as a model here in the U.S. — where viewers see students become actively engaged in solving problems in their own communities, not as an extra-curricular activity, but as part of learning math, language, writing and other basic educational skills – skills they see as necessary to solving the issues their communities face.

 

**** Click on the Section 3 link below ****

****to access the videos in Section 3 ****

 

Section 3

In Section 3 you will view the series A Global Roll Call: The Need for Education Worldwide

Part 1: Time for School-The Global Education Crisis (FULL VIDEO) 

Over 100 million children worldwide have never spent a day in school. One in four does not complete even five years of basic education. Now, 182 nations have promised to provide access to free and compulsory education for every child in the world—by 2015. To test the reality of that sweeping commitment, this Wide Angle installment profiles children in Japan, Kenya, Benin, Brazil, Romania, Afghanistan, and India who have managed to enroll in the first year of primary school—in most cases despite great odds. Exploring cultural comparisons from viewpoints that are too often overlooked, this program offers an in-depth study of the lives of young people in widely differing circumstances, as each one takes a hopeful first step into an uncertain future. Original WNET broadcast title: Time for School. Part 1 of the series A Global Roll Call: The Need for Education Worldwide. (57 minutes)

Part 2: Back to School-The Ongoing Struggle to Educate the World’s Children Full Video (01:26:56)

DESCRIPTION

In 2003, the Wide Angle program Time for School profiled children in seven countries—Afghanistan, Benin, Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, and Romania—as they started their first year of school, often in the face of great adversity. Three years later this Wide Angle episode returns to visit each child, updating the progress of their educational and personal development. The similarities and contrasts that emerge among the lives of these young people provide rich insight into the disparities of opportunity around the globe—underscoring the hard fact that more than 100 million children worldwide are growing up without schooling. This richly detailed documentary puts a human face on the global crisis in access to education. Additionally, anchor Daljit Dhaliwal discusses the state of global education with former National Economic Council director Gene Sperling. Original WNET broadcast title: Back to School. Part 2 of the series A Global Roll Call: The Need for Education Worldwide. (87 minutes)

Part 3: Time for School-Hope and Despair in the Fight for an Education Full Video (56:34)

DESCRIPTION

The 2009 installment in Wide Angle’s Time for School series reenters the lives of seven students in seven different countries, offering a glimpse of the worldwide battle to get what most American children take for granted: a basic education. These riveting case studies in India, Afghanistan, Kenya, Benin, Brazil, Japan, and Romania feature young teenagers embracing academic challenges that will, with luck and hard work, prepare them for high school. Other hurdles, from school closings to slum crackdowns to violent fundamentalism, continue to disrupt hopes and dreams—forcing one child to repeat a grade, another to study on an empty stomach, and another to quit her education altogether. But a conversation with Benin-born musician and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo provides a ray of optimism. Original WNET broadcast title: Time for School 3. Part 3 of the series A Global Roll Call: The Need for Education Worldwide.