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Teaching Psychology Using Movies & Film

April 15, 2012

This is one of my favorite resources. Elizabeth M. Nelson (2002) offers and extensive list of films and movies that can be used to teach various topics in psychology. When teaching psychology or counseling courses it can be very difficult for the students to engage with the theories and concepts; especially if they have no experience or prior life knowledge on the topic. This becomes even more challenging in online classrooms in which the tangible component of body language is missing.

Using media and film is one way to circumvent these challenges. Movies provide an immersive, tangible experience for students to connect to concepts and theories that they might otherwise find flat and uninteresting in written word or lecture format. Even role play is futile with out background experience. Media and stories however, can transport students and elicit feelings that would lay dormant without the spark of these sensory neurons. Moreover, assigned media viewing give students common ground for followup discussions.

I always find that students become so passionate and animated after viewing a good film. Films can help bring theories to life. Happy film fest!

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