To try and get my class to understand the driving question: what do we learn about human behaviour through film?, I gave them 10 discussion questions based on situations from Edward Scissorhands. For example, what would you do if your boyfriend was a bully? http://slideshare.net/christinekw/what-would-you-do-if-14568004
I quickly realised that asking individuals to answer and then asking the class what we learn about the individual who had answered as a person from their response took us into shaky moral ground. If their answer showed a negative character trait then they could be judged on their answer, not cool.
To change this I asked for several answers and then summarised the most common ones by asking ‘so what do we learn about ourselves from this response?’ Then no one was in the spotlight. I also recounted my own reactions to similar circumstances from the past which were not always great so that I didn’t come across as taking the higher moral ground and making them feel bad for their responses.
Some of the student’s responses were interesting. Particulary for the question: what would you do if someone asked you to do something that you knew was wrong? A lot of students said it would depend what it was. Even though they knew something was wrong, they would still consider doing it. I found this quite surprising because to me if it’s wrong you don’t even consider it. But when I was their age maybe I thought the same way…I can’t remember, it was too long ago!
I had created extra slides to relate to each incident in the film but found my self discussing the film incident as we went along so the extra ones were unnecessary. I also wanted to keep the pace of the discussion moving quickly.
Overall, it was a good lesson and most students felt like they understood the driving question more than they did at the beginning of the period. We also learnt quite a lot more about each other’s personalities which I didn’t forsee when I planned the lesson.