Ted's teaching tips

2nd October 1998 at 01:00
The drive-in movie was always an alien concept in the British climate, but this snapshot of post-war America raises issues about mass media, entertainment and the impact of film and television in the 20th century.

Entertainment Why do people like crowds for some forms of entertainment? (Compare watching a film in the cinema with a video at home; football on television with going to a live match). Draw up a chart or write an account of the class's preferences for different types of "entertainment". How much time and money do children spend on them? Which are active (playing music, sports, games) and which are more passive (spectating)? Does it matter what we do with our own leisure? Are we getting lazy? Why do we need entertaining?

Film in the 20th century What impact has film had on life in the 20th century? (See newsreel of world events; enjoy great stories, dramas, musicals; be amused by humour) What history would you like to be able to see on film of actual people and events? (Jesus? Napoleon? The Romans? The Spanish Armada?) Can you always believe the Hollywood version of history?

Art Paint a poster advertising your favourite film or television programme.

Writing Make up a story in which one of the characters in the film you are watching at a drive-in movie comes off the screen and is present live in the car park.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University.

The Big Picture, page 18

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