3, 2, 1 … Talk Time!

Today, our primary division walked over to the local movie theatre to watch, Inside Out. As you can see from the trailer, this is a very entertaining movie, but certainly one that regularly requires the use of deep thinking and inferring skills.

As with most cartoon movies lately, there are certainly elements of it that are targeted at a more adult audience, as well as elements that are targeted more for kids.

Since we had so many students attending the movie, the theatre put on a special showing just for our students. The theatre even stopped the movie half-way through for an intermission (many, many thanks for this), so that we didn’t need to worry about regular bathroom breaks and could all enjoy the entire film. I share all of this because this whole viewing experience has me thinking about movie watching with students.

Just like libraries, movie theatres are usually expected to be quiet places without interruptions. I was definitely shushing students as regularly as other adults today — maybe even more so. But as the movie continued, I became more bothered by doing so. It was very interesting to hear the students talking to each other.

  • They were drawing conclusions.
  • They were explaining situations in their own words.
  • They were inferring the reasons behind what happened.
  • They were asking questions and answering each other’s questions.
  • They were connecting with characters.
  • They were thinking critically.

At the intermission today, many teachers were discussing the multiple layers of the plot line. While students seemed to understand the movie at a basic level, did they get the symbolism? Were they able to make connections? Towards the end of the day today, I asked my class to tell me about the movie. I wanted them to have a discussion and see what they really understood. I was amazed by how much they did understand!

Reflecting now, I wonder, would they have understood so much if they sat back quietly (and perhaps even, passively) during the film? How can we provide these “talk times” to aid in critical thinking? I know that the students could have conversed after the movie, but how much would be lost if they waited until the end? 

I’m not a big movie goer, but I know that most people don’t like to hear discussions during a film. Maybe in a special theatre of our own though, this whisper talking would be okay. Maybe some partner talks during the intermission would work. What do you think? I’m starting to wonder if a movie needs to be quiet, and if it is, what impact does this have on a student’s understanding?


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