How our film club helped young people to explore their emotions

05 Oct 2016 BY Ann Hardy in Into Film Club of the Month

3 mins
Ann Hardy Leader of the Month
Ann Hardy Leader of the Month

September's Leader of the Month is Ann Hardy, an SEN Teacher at The Manchester Secondary Pupil Referral Unit. Ann started the Richmond Park film club over three years ago, and talks below about the benefits that running a club at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) has had on students, giving them a safe space to explore film. She also describes how taking part in our Opening Minds, Transforming Lives project, (funded by Big Lottery Fund: Reaching Communities) awarded a sense of achievement in a new environment.

They have opportunities to discuss feelings and emotions through the medium of film, which is less threatening than discussing their own emotions.

Ann Hardy, August's Leader of the Month

The Richmond Park film club has been going for over three years, in the past two we've been working with Into Film to grow and develop the beloved club. 

I've found that through the club, students have formed friendship groups and gained confidence in sharing ideas with each other. It gives them opportunities to discuss feelings and emotions through the medium of film, which they find less threatening than discussing their own emotions. I really believe that film helps them develop and explore a range of emotions including empathy. 

To make our club accessible to PRU students we invite them to a lunchtime club. Pupil's take ownership of the club by creating and distributing posters with the screenings for each week, and as a group we look at the films available to rent through Into film and then we order the allowed 20.

I have also used films to support the curriculum, in response to a topic but also as a reward at the end of a unit, after assessment. I am a bit mean though as I always give them a film worksheet and I stop the film every so often and we discuss and fill in sections of a mind map. This is used later to write a film review and we always submit 1 or 2 for our newsletter.

We where thrilled to have won a green screen workshop with Into film through the Opening Minds, Transforming Lives project. All of the students and staff took part at one of our centres. It was challenging for the filmmakers as our young people can become anxious when faced with unfamiliar activities, but they brought it all together and watched their completed short films proudly. Two of the young people then went home and made their own films with parents/carers - that was such a positive outcome.

The most fulfilling thing about being a film club leader is when the students make connections, ask questions and apply critical thinking skills, then transfer those skills to analysing literature - especially the students who hate English as a subject - and because film is universal it is something we can enjoy together.

The benefits of a film club at a PRU is it provides students the opportunity to enjoy, discuss and make films, to watch films in a relaxing environment and to laugh together.

One piece of advice I would offer new Into Film club leaders would be; start with a list of the films or trailers and then let the students choose 20 films for your start up list this gives them ownership of the club. Another top tip - get popcorn and make sure you have black out blinds and no light wells for the perfect cinema environment.

Here are my top 5 films to show at your film club:

Ann Hardy Leader of the Month

Ann Hardy, September's Leader of the Month

Ann is an SEN Teacher at The Manchester Secondary Pupil Referral Unit, and has been running the club since 2013.

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.

View other Articles in this column
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