I love a good film. Especially one that challenges worldviews and attitudes, has layers of meaning ("ogres are like onions.....") and has characters that energise and inspire. Add in some mind-blowing special effects, great music and popcorn and I'm a happy girl. Many of my favourites have moments or whole-movie themes that are inspiring , moving and uplifting.
Unfortunately, there's also a huge amount of negative, sexualised, self-esteem destroying trash saturating the viewing of children and young people that often leaves me wanting to destroy every screen I can. I believe that media can do great harm but also great good ("with great power comes great responsibility..."), and whatever your personal stance on viewing, I'm sure we all agree that children and young people are easily captivated and influenced by the media they consume.
So I love to take themes from great films, tv and well-known stories to illustrate my assemblies, to introduce themes and stimulate discussion in lessons and show how deeply embedded in culture are many Biblical themes - love, hope, good, evil, kindness and more.
Last term I used the Man of Steel trailer and the theme of gifts and talents; several short animated videos on Christmas themes and Photo-Shop exposés to address self worth and image.
Rather than telling pupils they must ignore media influences and messages and that they will find God and goodness in the Bible alone, I prefer to show them how God and His love and grace are already present and active in so many themes and life stories they are familiar with. Showing how so many of our values and attitudes are inspired by God and His great, eternal story is one way of drawing others into that story, and encouraging us all to look more closely at the One who has inspired so many and whose storyline is woven through the fabric of so much that is familiar to all.
Here's some links to media I've found really helpful in presenting themes:
"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than society intended? What if a child aspired to be something greater?" Jor-El
Here's my YouTube playlist of Christmas videos - very entertaining and really captured the attention of the pupils, as well as provoking lots of discussion and reflection. 'Retooning the Nativity' is my favourite.
Research has shown that deliberately going out of our way to be kind to others increases wellbeing and happiness - and also is an oft repeated theme in scripture. A great assembly I used from schoolswork.co.uk uses Romans 12 and this video
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