Five pros and cons of using movies as a learning tool in a classroom environment

Showing documentaries and movies in the classroom is a common thing. This was not the case back in the day when textbook learning was mainstream. However, over time, educators realized that visual and audio formats are more effective as they help the students retain information better. Movies also create a better impact on the students, engaging them in ways that textbooks simply cannot. 

Any educator would be familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy and its usage in modern-day e-learning. Thanks to the pandemic, students are forced to learn via virtual classrooms. And this has also caused teachers to adapt to the new learning technique. 

Bloom’s taxonomy was initially designed solely for research-oriented processes. Later, this technique was applied to classroom learning, especially for primary and secondary level school learning. It is a vital method for explaining concepts to students. It is the best method to encourage metal growth and stimulate students’ thoughts. 

And one of how Bloom’s has modified is to integrate movies and videos in virtual learning. Bloom’s technique encourages teachers to use audiovisual stimulants to help students understand a concept better. 

However, this is not a foolproof method. There are some cons of showing movies to kids as well. Let us discuss the advantages and disadvantages of showing movies to children in a class. 


  1. Quicker learning 

More than words, movies can explain information very clearly and effectively. Movies go more than telling they engage students in the lesson. If lessons are in history, movies get those events back to life that books can not. 


Reading a World War in a historical book is different from watching them live. This helps students to memorize them and assume real-life meanings. 

Their capacity to engage students to tell why teachers select movies for language activities. 

American Journal says movies are shown to foreign language classes to give a cultural context. Reports show students who watch foreign films are useful in native speaking. They engaged themselves in conversation and heard how language sounded. 

  1. Inspire learning

Even attractive lesson plans can often fall flat. Instructions remain the same activities homework, on-board problem solving, working in groups so on. But when students get bored, their engagement with class reduces. 

But movies can interest students as a part of educational activity. It is the part of creative lesson planning to make students ask, who, what, when, where and why?

The research literature on educational clips incited that uniqueness of movies inspired better learning. Students engage with film emotionally. It touches all the senses. And contrary to some opinions, kids do not react to them calmly, and movies make them think and learn. 

  1. Supports Diverse Intelligence 

The theory showed that movies in the classroom are not the only trend in the digital world. But also an excellent strategy for providing content that suits visual learners. These learners can gain knowledge from traditional styles like reading text. But they can not fully understand their topics without images and pictures. 

  1. Movies provide teachable moments. 

Often movies can add moments that go above what you are teaching in a lesson and allow you to point vital topics. They help shape the world views and beliefs of young impressionable minds. Movies, especially autobiographies/biographies and documentaries, help students gain multiple perspectives and point of views on a topic they were familiar with. 

For example:

 The “Gandhi” gives information that helps students to know about peace, tolerance, the importance of non-violence in the freedom struggle of India. Auch movies also give students a different take on history, literature, philosophy and more. 

  1. Different learning styles 

Movies can be best for different learning styles. Presenting information in various ways can help students in understanding the topics. 

For example: 

Watching the movie “Separate But Equal” can help students gain knowledge on court cases Brown V. Board of Education above what they can read from a textbook. 


  1. Less use of classroom time 

Predictable criticism towards teaching with movies comes from teachers and parents. You may also have observed teachers using non-educational purposes like the Friday afternoon test.

Movies should relate to the subject you are teaching, or it may be challenging to justify showing them in class. 

  1. Hindrance for learning 

A famous Civil war movie Glory portrays the 54th Massachusetts Infantry as a group of slaves. But in reality, the corps consisted of Northern freemen. In the movie Marie Antoinette, the French mob reels when their queen arrives at the scene. The issue is there is no evidence this happened ever. Also, most French citizens disliked the royal family. 

If students need to learn from movies, ensure movies show a true story. For instance, this story was told by Andrew Butler in 2009. showed authentic versions of the event displayed. When a movie collides with a real story, the psychologists found that students ignored a general message that films can change reality. Instead, students retained the wrong version, about 50% of the time. 

  1. Objections from parents 

Using movies to help students become more aware of present issues can have a downside. In 2007 a high school teacher in Seattle Washington pinned a backlash from parents when she showed An Inconvenient Truth. They probed her for not presenting an opposite view of global warming. One student’s parents claimed the school district for $400,000 in Chicago and showed an R-rated movie. This harmed students psychologically. 

Before teachers display movies, they showed ensure to check below rules:

  • Check on their district’s policies 
  • Take written permission from parents.
  • Remember that movies themes may collide with parental values. Later find ways to present alternate perspectives. 
  1. Time-consuming 

Movies can often take a longer time. Showing movies like “Schindler’s List” to 10th-grade students takes an entire week. Even short films can consume up to two to three days of classroom time. Later it can be challenging if classes have to start and stop at a different point in a movie. 

  1. An educational section can be small in the movie. 

The educational part of the movie often is in a small portion of the overall film. Only some sections of films depict the classroom setting and genuinely provide an educational profit. In this case, it is better to display a few clips that are genuinely related to education. 

The importance of visuals in e-learning 

Movies, documentaries, visual clips or infographics are better suited to express and explain complicated concepts than plain texts. This is because humans are inherently more attracted to visual-based content. The eye is the most sensitive and strongest of sense organs and vibrant colours, shapes and patterns seem to catch our attention the most.

If you are an educator struggling with virtual classrooms, then concept maps might be just the thing you need to save the day. Concept mapping was previously used only in corporate spaces, but now has slowly been incorporated in classrooms as well. This technique basically converts complicated abstract concepts into visual blocks, thereby simplifying the theory and making it easier for students to correlate seemingly opposite ideas. 


Films can be an excellent tool for teachers to use with students. The vital factor is to select wisely and create lesson plans that affect the film learning experience. 

Author Bio: As an Assignment Expert, Bella delivers online sessions at Expert Assignment Help, helping students write essays and assignments. She is the co-founder and education consultant at Top My Grades. Beyond work, you can find her baking a fresh batch of cookies in her kitchen.

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