Educational Film

In 1933, Paul Rotha anticipated that educational cinema would become a significant international phenomenon within ten years, as detailed in the chapter on "Cinema and Education" in his book Celluloid: The Film Today.

The language of disruption is familiar: speed, scale and overwhelming success.

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There can be little doubt that we are on the verge of an extensive revolution in methods of education which will be brought about by the cinema. The old ideas of teaching and the old systems of elementary schooling at present employed will be replaced by new methods organized on a vast scale and made possible by the sound film. It is probable that within ten years time the cinema will be the principal means of education for both adults and children, and that the comprehensive ideas which the Soviets have already put in hand for cinematic teaching will have spread to every country. Every subject taught to-day will be available in terms of film on standard-sized stock and will be in permanent use at every school and institute of any standing throughout the world. Interchange of systems between foreign countries will be easily possible, cementing friendly relations, achieving a much higher standard of cultural relationship and establish a better understanding of national outlooks. If such a thing were possible, it is by the cinema or the younger art of television, that a universal language could be effected." (64-65)

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A 1947 British study of the factual film, conducted on behalf of the Department of Political and Economic Planning considered "The Use of The Film In Education", and extended the point to claim that "teachers have found it particularly useful with dull and backward children who learn from films more quickly than from verbal or written explanation." (105)

The British study also noted the Soviet use of educational film, and went into more detail on the kinds of content and teaching strategies that would be needed to match the standards of commercial film production.

The chapter concluded with a look at Film in the Education of Colonial Peoples.