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Moving Image Education

Introduction to Moving Image Education

Moving Image Education (MIE) develops both moving image literacy and literacy in general. The close reading of written stories and poems is common in schools, but the close reading of screen narratives is not, despite their universal popularity. Learning the basic grammar of screen narratives opens up a whole new world to pupils, and enables them to understand how visual storytelling works.

Traditionally defined as the ability to read and write, twenty-first century literacy is now widely understood as the ability to evaluate, make use of and communicate with a variety of media resources, including text, visual, audio and video. Pupils don’t leave school without knowing the basics of written punctuation and grammar, and despite the fact that most of the narratives we now consume are audio-visual narratives, most people still have no idea about the way shots, cuts and soundscapes create meaning.

For these reasons, moving image work can often be a truly revelatory experience for pupils, as they unpack the techniques of screen narratives and uncover meanings. Some useful tools have been developed to support these activities: particularly the 'three Cs and Ss' and the Tell Me grid analysis techniques. These, in turn, empowers pupils to have informed opinions about screen narratives and be able to discuss the meaning, morality, aesthetics and politics of what they are watching.

MIE can also help improve traditional word-based literacy, and has numerous other benefits: an enhanced understanding of how to construct a narrative, which is useful across the curriculum; a greater sense of relevance to education; a better understanding of our media; enhanced discussion skills; improved self-esteem; a greater appreciation of culture; and an increased sense of citizenship.

MIE involves watching a range of short film texts; discussing and analysing them; generating discursive and creative written work, storyboards and scripts; making a range of moving-image artefacts, re-purposing ‘found’ material and digital storytelling (not necessarily large-scale filmmaking projects); exploring genres and types of texts that might be less familiar, e.g. short films, archive films, and foreign-language films; and re-examining familiar texts.

The making of moving image essays and other films in groups has been shown to help pupils with research, analysis, team working, planning, organisation, flexible thinking and multi-tasking, problem solving, personal motivation, computing, communication and technology skills, criticism and peer reviewing, social awareness, moral responsibility and presentation skills.