Teaching with films

Below are my reviews of the final films I showed in class this semester. I really think it was a successful run of films, and I am glad I skipped the ones I did (look back at previous WT posts to see what worked and didn’t work). I would suggest many of these films for your class and/or personal knowlege.

I’m always wanting to know more as well so please send along your thoughts on films to consider for future classes. I think it really makes the classroom a way better place to not hear me go on for hours on end but instead to bring in new voices. Let’s be realistic, many of the textbooks are pretty boring, so the films help. Just don’t turn the lights out all the way or else even the best film cannot discourage the student from catching a nap.

Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America?

This was a PBS documentary on the pros/cons of Wal-Mart’s business practices. It leaned toward cons, but it really is probably the best I’ve seen at showing both sides of the story. Therefore, it provided great discussion points even though almost all of my students were anti-Wal-Mart. I split it into two sections. The first half of the hour is mostly about history, company development, profit, company relationships, marketing, etc. The second half is geared toward globalization, outsourcing, and the import/export issues. It had a nice place to split at about the 20 minute point so it was easy to show in two sessions or if you wanted just show one w/o the other. It really went fabulously with the textbook we’re using as the talking heads used many of our vocab words and concepts almost verbatim. This one is easy to watch, makes a lot of sense, and is great at textbook reinforcement. it’s neither dumb, nor over anyone’s head.

Toms Shoes-For Tomorrow

This is a promotional film sent to me by the people at Toms Shoes when I mentioned them on WT in the past. It is available through other sources through and often shows on campuses as part of their promotional campaign. It’s about 30 minutes which is perfect for watching then discussion. The students loved it and went on to apply for internships, and have ongoing conversations with me about it via email and otherwise after the fact. It really touched and moved them. If you’re unfamiliar, Toms makes simple walking shoes that are reasonably priced and donates a pair for every pair they sell. I showed it to discuss alternate business models to the strictly for-profit standard model everyone does (although Toms is a for-profit co. but then does a lot with donations). I also showed it to discuss marketing and merchandising as they don’t have many stores and function mostly online and through word of mouth. The students were a little confused about why I showed it, but once I was able to bring in class concepts it made more sense, and they didn’t care as they really enjoyed it. I could have done it back in the soc-psych/culture chapters, but to me it fit better when we were studying business models and merchandising.

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1 Comment

  • Emily May 29, 2009 01.59 pm

    I’ve been wanting to watch this for a long time. It’s online so I’ll grab it that way. Thanks for reminding me!


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