Six Languages, One School: uniting young people through film

02 Dec 2019 in Into Film Club of the Month

4 mins
Into Film Club leader Sharon Walker, her members and IF staff member Lorrai
Into Film Club leader Sharon Walker, her members and IF staff member Lorrai

Our Into Film Club of the Month for November 2019 is The Drelincourt School, a small institution in Armagh, Northern Ireland. We spoke to club leader Sharon Walker who told us how she is using film to unite and teach literacy, maths and social skills to the children at the small school, who number only twenty, but who speak six different languages.

How long has your Into Film Club been running?

The film club originally started about five years ago, but we decided for the new school year that we really wanted to freshen it up and do something different. We're a small primary school that has only 20 pupils, 80% of whom speak English as a second language. Our children speak Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Bulgarian and English. Film has the power to unite them, especially movies with great music and humour.

I love seeing the look of excitement on their faces every Friday morning and the way the children are growing in confidence.

Sharon Walker, Into Film Club leader, The Delincourt School, Armagh

What are you doing differently this year?

Previously we watched and reviewed films, and that was great. But this year we wanted to see what else Into Film Club could do to help the children learn. Every Friday afternoon, the school turns into a mini-cinema, with the children (all aged under eight) running every part of the operation from choosing the film, promoting it, running the box office, taking tickets and once a term, serving popcorn. 

The children have to earn the value of their ticket throughout the week by participating in school activities. By the end of the week, they are presented with their much-prized 10p plastic coin that gets them a seat in the cinema. On the occasion when popcorn is served, the children make their own recyclable paper cones and serve the popcorn to their classmates from an old salad bar now converted to a special counter just for the occasion. After the movie, each child reviews the film and they are given topics by the teachers to discuss such as the quality of music, humour or acting.

What skills are they learning?

Literacy, language development, and communications. They learn numeracy as they work the box office and earn their ticket money, social skills as they work together to choose the film, and manners as they wait patiently in the queue to go into the cinema.

Did you attend this year's Into Film Festival?

Yes, we went to see Peter Rabbit at the Into Film Festival. We were really excited to take them to the cinema so they could feel what that experience was like compared to what we do in school. We've created the most amazing atmosphere in the rooms we use for our own film club and try to make it really comfortable with sofas and soft carpeting so they can slouch down and relax and watch the film.

How has the Into Film team helped your film club?

They've been totally amazing. They've been out to see us and have helped us navigate the website in order to get the most out of it. I wasn't aware of just how much was available, all free of charge! The website also has an online chat function which has been great for any questions that we have. The team has just been so supportive and helpful. We're in a rural area and are a little secluded, so when an organisation such as Into Film recognises and tells us we're doing a great job, it's just meant so much.

What's advice would you give to new Into Film Club leaders?

It's great to show them something they haven't already seen at home, so we are trying out different film genres. This month we will show a black and white Laurel and Hardy movie.

What films would you recommend to other club leaders?

This Article is part of: Into Film Club of the Month

Each month we celebrate one Into Film Club's achievements and talk to the club leader about how they approach their sessions.

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