Film Literacy Training Programme

The Bradford Film Literacy teacher training programme took the form of three full day sessions each year and was conceived initially by Sarah Mumford, Paul Scott and Mark Reid. The training was then organised and led by Tim Bleazard from the Curriculum Innovation service at Bradford Council Children’s Services.

The first session was delivered by Mark Reid, Head of Education at the British Film Institute and Philip Webb, a Literacy Consultant from Bradford Council Children’s Services (Philip is now an independent consultant) and was an introduction to using film in the classroom closely linked to the Literacy strategy. Teachers learned how to teach children to analyse film and use these skills in Literacy lessons. These skills were reinforced in the second and third sessions, where the majority of the training was delivered by Tim Bleazard and Philip Webb, during which teachers also learned simple filming techniques that could be taken back and used in the classroom. Professional filmmakers worked directly with teachers and pupils to help develop their understanding of the filmmaking process and their filmmaking skills.  Leading teachers from year one and Rob Smith from the Literacy Shed contributed to the training sessions too. Teachers gave short presentations outlining the film literacy work that their pupils had been engaged in and shared their good practice teachmeet style. After each of the three training sessions leading teachers from the previous year partnered with a teacher from each new school and helped them take the ideas from the training sessions and to plan a series of lessons.  CapeUK delivered Arts Award training to help teachers identify how pupils could gain Arts Award Discover (5+) or Explore (7+) as a result of the film education work they were doing.

Six pupils from each school were invited to the Innovation Centre Bradford to qualify as Pupil Media Literacy Leaders. After some initial training from Tim Bleazard and Kate Jacklin (Curriculum Innovation Consultant) they had to plan, film, edit and share a one minute film using the same equipment that they had in their own schools. This work had to be done with no help from any adults. These pupils could then go back to school and become pupil experts in the creation of film. Teachers used these pupils to assist their classmates but they also went to other classes to train other pupils. In some of our schools the pupils ran staff meetings and staff training sessions to train adults in these skills.

A screening of two films from each school was held at the end of the year at the National Media Museum. Each film was introduced by two children who had made the film. They talked about how they made the film and shared problems, advice and told us what they may do differently next time.

The final day took the form of an evaluation event where teachers shared what had worked in the project and what they thought could be changed. They also wrote up the case studies which can be found on the Media Literacy blog at primaryfilmliteracy.

How has film literacy helped attainment levels?

Teachers involved in the project reported that pupils engaged in the film literacy work achieved on average 4 sub-levels of progress in writing and reading by the end of the year.  (See Case Studies – primaryfilmliteracy). They reported increased engagement (especially from boys) and enthusiasm for film related writing activities.

‘The children are really into it and I am too. If you’re enthused by it it reflects in your teaching.’

 Teacher, All Saints Primary School

Teachers focussed on helping children understand story, settings, sound, shot types, characters and how mood is conveyed in film. This had a positive impact on story structure, vocabulary acquisition, persuasive writing, descriptive writing, speech, punctuation and reading. Children have been described as being ‘engrossed’, ‘begging to watch and make their own films’ and ‘really inspired by the whole concept’. They understood the concept of written paragraphs when likened to film scenes and recognised that sound in film is instrumental in creating mood which then helped them find words to describe different moods and characters’ feelings, for example.

Watching films of performance poetry (ie. The Highwayman) inspired children to write and film their own poetry whilst helping pupils make films helped improve teachers’ confidence with IT. It also helped with understanding whether connectives are being used as conjunctions or time connectives.

Children had an initial ‘hook’ that captivated them and made them invest in the story, often before seeing the whole film. Combined with the other initiatives we do, the children developed a deep understanding of the text, which helped them in their writing. They were able to understand the use of camera angles in film and relate this to the narrative and were also able to select their own angles to tell their own stories in film. The project has really helped with Speaking and Listening, which has in turn improved the quality of their writing. The children have loved being involved in the project, loved green-screening and loved seeing their films on the big screen at Pictureville in the end of year screening. The impact on Reading and Writing has been phenomenal and will hopefully have the same results next year.

Ian Hayslop — Miriam Lord Primary

Teachers said that part of the success of this kind of work was due to the removal of print at the start. They reported that many children found decoding printed text difficult at the beginning. Their old literacy strategy was reading and looking at the features and then coming up with ideas for writing. The film literacy approach helped them come up with ideas for content more easily. Films acted as good stimulus for ideas and as a result pupils were engaged from the outset.

The positive impact of the project has shone through the positivity from the children. They were very engaged and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects. Writing, which for some was a challenge, was made easier through the enthusiastic responses by the children. This in turn had a positive impact on pupil results.

The results for this particular group of children showed that they made between 4 and 6 APS points in writing and between 2 and 4 APS points in reading with one child making 6APS points.

Jackie Renton — Victoria Primary School

Building Film Literacy into your classes to achieve an Arts Award

Film literacy work can be used to help children and young people build on their literacy skills, during which time they can also achieve an Arts Award. As they work towards Arts Award, children and young people collect evidence of what they have done and reflect on their experiences. They can choose to use the specially designed arts logs – or bespoke ones can be created to fit the project or the young people concerned.  Evidence can also be collected in any format that works for them and the teacher/leader: a folder, sketchbook, video diary, a website or blog.

At all levels, children and young people work with an Arts Award adviser. This is a trained adult who supports young people in gaining arts experiences, provides guidance and assesses arts logs and portfolios. Teachers, teaching assistants, museum learning staff, art practitioners, youth workers and volunteers can all train as advisers.

For more information on building your classes around film literacy to incorporate Arts Award, please visit the resources page.

To discover further Arts Awards programmes click here.