Reel Success

I’ve always said that I learned some of my most valuable life lessons courtesy of television and movies. When I was a kid, I would ride my bike to the movie rental store to pick out some videotapes to watch after dark. I wasn’t one of those weird pasty kids who stayed inside all day in front of the TV: I rode my bike all around town during the day–to the community pool, the ball fields, friends’ houses, the park, the public library, or just around the neighborhoods near my house. But in the evening or on rainy days, I watched movies–all kinds of movies.

For years now, I’ve been wanting to teach a class that would allow me to share with students my love of movies and the lessons they have to teach us. A most of you know, my research and study over the last 8 years has focused on student success. This summer I will finally be designing that course, a course that blends my love of movies with what has become my area of expertise, a course called “Reel Success.”

This is the description:

Do you like movies? Of course, you do! Who doesn’t? Frank Capra called film “one of the three universal languages,” and he’s right: movies speak to us. They have a lot to teach us, and in this class, we’ll analyze the valuable life lessons shared with us through films from a variety of time periods and genres. Whether you like old movies or new, action flicks or romances, you’ll love this class, where we explore how we can move those lessons from reel to real to improve success in college and life.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? I think so, and I’m definitely excited about teaching it this fall. As I start selecting which movies we’ll watch (in full and in part), feel free to share with me which movies really spoke to you. I’d love to hear!


Filed under Higher Ed, Teaching & Learning

7 responses to “Reel Success

  1. sdpridd

    Can I come take this class? It sounds awesome!

    • I know, right? This is the second time I’ve proposed it. The first time the proposal was denied because it wasn’t “broad enough.” This time, the claim was I needed “a more targeted audience.” I basically argued it can’t get more targeted than movie lovers, and they caved. Hopefully, it will fill up and prove it does have broad appeal.

  2. FUN!!!! Movies that teach you something? I always liked Finding Forrester, but I guess it mostly just talks about writing, which not everyone is interested in. October Sky about the kids who make a rocket is pretty cool too and has a good message about perseverance.

  3. sdpridd

    I love Pay It Forward. I think it’s a great reminder you don’t have to be powerful, wealthy, or a certain age to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

  4. Steve Bumgarner

    Jenn, I have a facebook friend/fellow alum of Goddard College who uses film in his classes very much like you are planning. I can introduce you two, if you like. Sounds like a course I’d like to take as well.

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