Light ! Camera! Education: The Use of Cinema to Enhance Education and Learning

Alice Manuela Martins Guimaraes


In our time film making is regarded as a powerful teaching tool. Jean Mitry and Alain Bergala, amongst other filmmakers and writers associated with cinema, advocate that filmmaking is not just an art or a way to express culture, but it’s also a way of acquiring knowledge.

Bearing these thoughts in mind, we intend in this paper, to point out how learning and education come together in Willy Russell’s film, Educating Rita. This film is based on the social constructivist notion advocated by Piaget (1896-1980) and Vygotsky (1896-1934), in which the determining factors for cognitive development interact with the physical and social environment, with human symbolism and with social interactions.

Educating Rita refers to the social, historical and cultural context of the United Kingdom during the70’s, and conveys how the educational process turns out to be a social practice. In this film the student is given a primary role, namely he is responsible for his own learning and proves he can find ways to achieve his goals and being responsible for the consequences of his choices, in a process of experiencing, reflecting and transforming himself through and educational experience he undergoes in adult.

In addition to the importance of social context in education, the film focuses on the affective and educational issues and calls up a reflection on the affective dimension during the teaching-learning process. 


cinema; media; learning; education

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