How can arts and film be used as an educational tool? Let’s look at My Better World as an example and the response from children at our schools in Warri.
Education is often viewed as a formal affair that must take place in a classroom and in the constraints of a
curriculum. While this is the formal route of education, there are so many other ways to get an education
and be educated. In this article, we will be discussing how arts and film can be used as an educational tool.
UNICEF’S Learning with Fun plan proposes making the education of children less rigid and more exciting.
This is done in a bid to soften the often imposing figure of formal education. Using arts and film is one way
that you can make education entertaining and fun for kids. Arts and Film have often been used as tools for
societal change and for education. Why should it be used as an educational tool
Arts and Film can be used as educational tools because of the following qualities.
- Three-Dimensional – Art and Film are three-dimensional items that offer viewers and users so
much more to work with. Let’s look at art, for example; creating and viewing art is often a total
body experience. You can read about art and then view the piece. Art is an excellent tool for
education because it encourages creativity and deep understanding. The colour blue could
represent different concepts to different people. The beauty of perceiving art lies in the various
ways it can be interpreted. How people view a work of art is dependent on their perspective, which
makes the experience transformative for everyone. Making art also does the same except in a
different form. It can often be extremely hard for individuals in vulnerable communities to try out
mediums of art because the mediums are inaccessible, or perhaps these kids do not believe they are
capable of creating works of art. Enabling kids to explore and dabble in art is a great way to build
up their confidence and encourage creativity. Art and Film’s three-dimensional scope of
interpretation is a vital tool for education.
- A Wider Scope of Expression – Kids, especially, younger kids are often visual learners; therefore
incorporating visual methods of learning can be very beneficial. Art and Film are both visual forms
of art which mean they can see what they’re meant to study. Sometimes, a text can be stressful and
confusing to understand, but movies, on the other hand, tend to carry everyone along. For children
in vulnerable communities who might not have had access to consistent education, a re-
introduction to education through film is often very effective. This is because movies are simple,
lively, and often easy to follow. This will help them ease in education in a much more
accommodating manner. Art and Film come with a wider scope of expression, which is more
relatable than simply reading a text. This does not mean texts are to be discarded. We believe that
texts and other visual forms can coexist in the educational sphere.
- Creativity – Creativity is a vital part of education. Unfortunately, it seems to be disregarded in
most traditional school curricula. Children should be allowed to express creativity. For children
who are coming from vulnerable communities, an art class is often their first introduction to the
power of creativity. Creativity helps to improve the thinking skills of children and broadens their
mindset. The goal of including arts and film in education is to provide children with a form of
education that is relatable and accommodating. Education should not be rigid, stiff or a source of
terror. Education is amazing because it provides knowledge, and it is important that kids have this
perspective on education. Arts and Film encourage and spark creativity in children because they are
more likely to be interested in these mediums.
- A More Approachable Method – Art and Film provide softer ways to educate children on very
important topics. Later on, we will discuss a short-animated film, My Better Health which discusses
extremely serious topics like poverty, child marriage, and abuse but presents them through a softer
lens. It is important that children are well educated on these topics so they can stay out of harmful
situations; however, it is very difficult to sit a 5-year-old down and start discussing abuse. A simple
to understand film about these issues will help children identify these situations and understand the
gravity of such situations.
- Inclusivity – Art and Film provide more inclusive spaces for all children. Some autistic children
find it hard to understand more traditional methods of teaching, i.e. reading and writing. Providing
them with mediums like art and film helps them feel included and also helps them learn. It is
important that all children have access to education no matter what; however, it is also important
to ensure education is as inclusive as possible. Art and Film is often a great way for children with
special needs also to enjoy education.
- Building Relationships – Art and Film provide easy ways for children to make friends. A film
club or an art club provides a safe environment for children to discuss films or art projects that they
like and enjoy. It is also important to note that there doesn’t have to be an official film club. Art
and Film tend to prompt more discussions which make it easier for people to form relationships
based on interest. This works for children just as well. For example, My Better World has several
characters and children who watch the film often have a favourite character. Children with the
same favourite character can easily form a friendship that is motivated by their love for the
- Representation – A huge issue that is prevalent in vulnerable communities is a lack of hope and
representation. Through art and film, children can begin to gain confidence in their abilities, and
they can realise that there are people in the media who look just like them. It is important for
schools to adequately research films that are relatable to their student body as this can help boost
confidence and self-esteem.
My Better World is an African animated show created by Impact(ed) International that follows six teens as
they go through life. The motivation behind the series is to address serious topics and also have a good
representation of African teens in the media. Animated shows like My Better World are challenging the
status quo and producing shows about Africa that are not sensationalised or overly dramatised. It is
important that kids have shows they can relate to and characters they can relate to. Stallion Empower
Initiative had a private screening of My Better World for students in our schools in Warri.
The purpose of these screenings was to provide the children with characters