The Pros and Cons of Using Movies in Class

Using films and movies in the classroom is a trend that has developed over the years. Students have always enjoyed classes where they watched a movie instead of the casual teacher providing information from the front of the class. It has faced some controversy over the years, and it is safe to say the application of educational movies in class has its pros and cons. First, let’s look at some of the advantages of this method of learning.

They Create a Better Mental Picture

While imagination is a great tool for students, some movies have worked hard to provide a clear depiction of the occurrences being shown. Therefore, students can connect or feel the events or appearances, as compared to just reading them from books and working with one’s imagination. The fact that more of their senses are engaged means that students are likely to acquire a deeper understanding of a topic.

They Provide a Better form of Repetition

A lot of teachers will introduce a topic and teach the students and then incorporate a movie that is related to what they were discussing. It means that the students will be encountering some of the information twice. It is better for memory, and since movies have visual aids that they can capture in mind, it will be easier to remember.

Movies Provide Additional Teachings

Movies comprise of extra and sometimes unspoken teachable moments that students can learn, which are beyond what they are taught in class. These moments are great and will often highlight other essential topics.

Movies Help Break the Monotony

Movies in class are suitable for lightening up the mood of students and keeping their attention. Hence, they can be used as great attention-capturing tools. Students tend to lose focus when they are yearning for something, for example, during the last days before a holiday break or when big events are coming up, such as homecoming. So, a teacher can schedule a movie during these periods. Sometimes students are just exhausted from a busy day, and a teacher might decide to use a film to teach as a way of providing a meaningful break.

Some of the main cons include:

Some Movies are Too Long and Take Up Much Time

Movies are sometimes too lengthy and cannot be completed in one class session. It includes the fact that sometimes teachers have to pause movies to provide some information during the session. So, they will consume a lot of time if they are used too often.

Some Movies are Historically Inaccurate

Some movie producers prefer creating a better story rather than depicting facts accurately. It is because a better and dramatic story will mean an increase in viewership, just like an essay writer will try their best to create an engaging story for their readers. So, teachers are always urged to point out any inaccurate details when using movies to teach so that the students will have the correct information.

Movies Cannot Teach on Their Own

Even though the use of films in class contributes to the learning experience, it cannot sustain itself on its own.

As a teacher, you need to be present when the students are watching to clarify controversial topics and to ensure that everyone is attentive. A teacher should also provide explanations and additional information while still pointing out any inaccuracies in the movie. Additionally, films should be complemented with books and other literary sources.

Movies Require A Lot of Permissions

To show a movie in class, teachers need students to fetch signed permission slips from their guardians. There are different types of movies that need permission slips.

  • PG-rated films need signed permission forms from students under 13 years

  • PG 13 rated films require students under 14 to have signed permission slips and are not allowed in elementary level learning. However, they are common in middle school, after being reviewed by a school committee

  • R-rated movies require permission slips signed by all guardians and still need to be reviewed before being used. They are mostly allowed at the high school level.

So, it means that it might involve much work to show movies frequently in terms of scheduling and planning.

Final Thoughts

Movies have some advantages to learning, and they will continue to develop and be part of the learning experience and be sure to look for great options at The fact that they can keep the concentration of students for longer periods is the main selling point. However, movies need to be used sparingly. Otherwise, students might get used to them and even neglect reading.