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June 1996, Week 1


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Jerry Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 4 Jun 1996 17:52:08 -0500
text/plain (43 lines)
>Of course, sometimes the students hate films I love and vice-versa, but I
>try (as much as I can) to tell them that they can express any point of view
>if it's well argued and substantiated.  Helping them formulate their
>opinions, develop them, back them up, and learn to trust them and defend
>them is what I like to think I'm *really* teaching--films are simply the
I am thankful for Charles Ramirez Berg's comments.  His thoughts on
teaching reflect both a respect and concern for today's students.  I'm glad
he's a prof.
What's disturbed me over the past few weeks on this discussion list are the
professors who speak of their students with an underlying venom.  The
generalizations have run rampant: no historical cognizance, no respect for
aesthetics, laziness.  Exactly which students are these profs referring to?
I am a student myself (24 yrs of age) and help run a very successful film
society.  Once or twice a week we screen a (usually highly "inaccessible")
film for an audience that averages around 300 and consists mostly of other
students in their twenties.   After each screening most of them stick
around afterward and discuss what they just saw.  These discussions are
well informed.  There are many who might try to preemptively dismiss the
film but they are quickly challenged by others, whereupon they usually
reconsider.  The same thing happens in the umpteen number of film classes
I've taken.
What I'm coming to is this: I believe the over-generalized perceptions by
many of the profs on this list concerning their students to be apocryphal.
I guarantee I know today's students (one lump sum, you see; we're all the
same regardless of race, sex, background, right?) better than any
professor.  I live, eat, drink, study, sleep and WATCH FILMS with them, and
the declarations of their laziness and ignorance are simply wrong.  Getting
a students to WANT TO LEARN  what you're teaching is impossible!  I've seen
many a prof do it.  As Charles Ramirez Berg wrote, it does take some work
and a game plan, however.  So when I hear a prof moan and groan and dismiss
today's students, I can only think of two words: dinosaur and crybaby.
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