Teaching History with Film

Dr. Jeremy StoddardThis is Prof. Jeremy Stoddard's fourth year teaching in the Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) program at William and Mary. One of his main areas of interest is the use of media to prep school-aged children to be democratic citizens. "Modern children are gaining all of their information through the internet and media," Stoddard says. His desire is to help teachers develop ways to use films to teach and to help children to interpret films and media-understanding that it has been dramatized. Stoddard hopes that helping children to recognize that any film's goal is to engage an audience, not to report pure historical facts, preps student to become independent critical thinkers. He is involved with several projects working toward these ends.

He co-authored a book, Teaching History with Film. The book is designed for in-service or pre-service teachers to create models for using specific, positive examples of teacher's powerful use of films in the classroom. It focuses on different ways to think about things when showing films. The book highlights the need to use films for a specific purpose, not simply because they are about the era the students are studying.

He is also partnered with Street Law, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing education about law, democracy and human rights, with their new movie The Response. This short movie is a courtroom style drama about Guantanamo Bay based on actual military tribunal transcripts. Stoddard contributed to the development of the curriculum that accompanies the film.

Teaching History with Film

Teaching History with Film

Strategies for Secondary Social Studies
Alan S. Marcus, Scott Alan Metzger, Richard J. Paxton, and Jeremy D. Stoddard
Visit any school in the United States, and chances are that you will find at least one social studies teacher screening a film about history. Along with the textbook, movies are one of the most prominent teaching aids in the history classroom. Yet, when middle and high school history teachers look for models of the effective use of films in history classrooms, the cupboard is surprisingly bare.
Teaching History with Film provides a fresh, engaging, and clear overview of teaching with film to effectively enhance social studies instruction. Using cases of experienced teachers to illustrate accomplished history teaching through the use of movies, this text provides pre- and in-service teachers with ideas for implementing film-based lessons in their own classrooms and offers a deeper understanding of the thorny issues involved with this widely-used pedagogical tool.
Each section of the book focuses on how teachers can effectively support the development of students' historical film literacy through topics such as using film to develop historical empathy, to develop interpretive skills, and to explore controversial issues. By developing the skills students need to think critically about the past and reassess preconceived notions about history, the lessons in this book illustrate how to harness the pedagogical power of film to provide the tools necessary for rigorous inquiry and democratic citizenship.


Part One: Using Film to Teach History

1. Introduction

2. Issues in Using Film to Teach History

Part Two: Using Film to Develop Empathy

3. Using Film to Develop Empathy for Caring

4. Using Film to Develop Empathy as Perspective Recognition

Part Three: Using Film to Develop Analytical or Interpretive Skills

5. Using Film as a Primary Source

6. Using Film as a Secondary Source

Part Four: Using Film to Teach About Controversial Issues

7. Using Film to Teach About Contemporary Controversial Issues

8. Using Film to Teach About Controversial Issues in History

Part Five: Using Film to Visualize the Past and as Historical Narrative

9. Using Film to Visualize the Past

10. Using Film as Historical Narrative

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