Capstone/Dissertation Title

Introduction to film studies curriculum design





Degree Name



The research question addressed for this curriculum design was, how can film be used to help high school language arts students identify and reflect on social issues within a changing society? The motivating factor for this capstone centers on the desire to provide students with explicit critical media literacy instruction through film in order to help them critically navigate the ever-changing social issues of their world. The author documents related research literature that provides guidance and context for the course, discusses the impact of classroom demographics on course expectations, and details specific unit goals. The course developed is a 12-week course that pushes students to identify key film elements, to analyze and evaluate the effects of those elements and messages on viewers, and to discuss and dialogue the social implications of particular films on a culture. Students will participate in a variety of individual and group activities, produce various written assessments, and participate in numerous group presentation opportunities. Key influences for this capstone were the theories of Douglas Kellner (critical media literacy) and Paulo Freire (critical pedagogy), as well as a personal passion for film. Kellner asserts the importance of addressing subtle and overt media messages as they pertain to cultural values and beliefs while Freire promotes the need for student voice and healthy dialogue to encourage growth and learning for all individuals. This course is developed for high school language arts students.

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