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How can moving image help us become responsible citizens and active members of our community?

Movies and the world

In this section we will explore the ways film and moving image can help us become responsible citizens and active members of our community. The film experience is designed to help us suspend disbelief, to imagine we are Luke Skywalker rescuing the Princess, or that we are the sad cowboy Woody who has just been abandoned under the bed for the shiny new Buzz Lightyear.

Films can also help bring communities together, help us understand how other people feel when we might have been wary or scared of them before. They can show us the rest of the world and they can tell us more about the community we live in. Through film, we can explore our own history and culture as well as those of other societies. Film can make us feel passionate about situations we had ignored or taken for granted; and they spur us into action, into changing the world (or at least our little part of it).

The Way We Played

It's easy to think that in order to teach citizenship using film you need to show feature-length documentaries like Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002) or Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock, 2004). However, many children’s films deal with issues of morality and the crossing of cultures. Empathy for characters and situations in a film can be used to explore and discuss our feelings about situations that affect us directly. An animated short film about a person getting teased about their appearance such as Westi can be used to help a class think about a bullying situation that might have happened in the school recently.

In Scotland citizenship has become integral to our curriculum through A Curriculum for Excellence. One of the four ‘capacities’ is Responsible Citizens. Here are some suggestions for films which could support the development of Responsible Citizens.

Responsible citizen films

Respect for others

Toy Story, and Monsters Inc., To Kill a Mockingbird

Commitment to participate responsibly in political, economic, social & cultural life

The short film Tom Sweep (Michael Dudok de Wit 1992) could be used to start a discussion on how litter effects other people. available on the net and on the BFI's Starting Stories 2 DVD

Develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland's place in it

There are a number of different starting points. The films of Danny McAskill offer lots of potential. A modern version of a Scottish explorer? A Scottish missionary on a different mission. Films like Brave, Local Hero, Restless Natives and Highlander are all features that offer a perspective on Scotland, and questions can be asked about how we see ourselves, and how others see us. There are also many excellent short films available within Scotland on Screen's archive.

Understand different beliefs and cultures

The Kite RunnerBend it Like BeckhamThe Way We Played

Make informed choices & decisions. Evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues

Supersize MeAn Inconvenient TruthThe Corporation

Develop informed, ethical views of complex issues

Dead Man WalkingSecrets and LiesGhosts