Videos or Books?

September 27, 2014

Each semester, I take a poll and ask my students, “Who reads?” Maybe one will raise their hand. Although I know college kids are busy, this saddens me. It’s difficult to improve writing, if reading’s not involved. So, I assign plenty of essays, hopefully interesting ones, and we write about them.

But I also show short clips from movies, videos, and many YouTube recording.

Although not every writing teacher would approve of the tactic, I think video plays an important role in the classroom. Not only does film capture the attention of the twenty-something set, but clips can be analyzed like a book.

How does a setting affect the mood of a movie? What’s the purpose? The inciting incident? How has the character grown? What are the details that remain with you once the film is over? Watching Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men or the Shining is an excellent example of voice and character.

Books are great. In my opinion, they can’t be beat. But movies and film can be useful tools when teaching students to write. Next time you hit the big screen, watch for the climax. See if you can plot the film like you would a book. The exercise will improve your own writing.


One comment

  1. Great idea, I’ll try it soon.

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