Civic Engagement/Community Service Winners

1st place: Josie Baily-Zona, Annie Healy, Abby Balint and Haley Lapomardo: The Road to Responsibility, Middle School Presentation at the Williston-Northampton School


2nd place: Jillian Forcello: See-Hear-Feel-Film, Amherst Cinema

This project was completed in the fall of 2015 as a portion of the class Communication 335, Media and Education. I attended the Amherst Cinema program “See Hear Feel Films” which teaches third grade students from Amherst, Springfield, Holyoke, and the surrounding area about visual literacy, creativity, and collaboration. I attended this program on five different occasions throughout the semester, and attempted to make connections between what Jake, the program leader, aimed to teach the kids, and what the goals of the program were. I also tried to relate to what we were learning in class regarding different educational methods and media literacy in students.

The most significant information I have learned from my experiences at Amherst Cinema is how important it is for students to feel comfortable within educational environments in order to learn. Jake repeatedly stated each time day how important it was for all volunteers to work together to create an environment that made the students feel safe to insure they are excited and willing participants in the program. He was able to do this by putting the students in a situation where they are able to remember their experiences at Amherst Cinema. The main way that I believe Jake creates this level of comfort is through Freire’s technique of letting students know that student and teacher education is simultaneous, and that both parties learn through each other.

The See-Hear-Feel Film program touches upon the senses included in the programs name to teach about the technology that surrounds the students at the cinema. Jake repeatedly told volunteers he hopes these students will never return to a movie theater again in the same way. This understanding of the environment creates a comfort in the location, and with all of the people within it. Understanding pieces of what goes into making a film helps the students to better understand filmmaking, and overall gives them a better understanding of media. In this environment students can share their thoughts, feelings, and most creative work without fear that the answer is not right, which follows through to the small group work. The feeling of safety in the environment helps students to create sentences on their own, contribute to others ideas for the best overall group outcome, creates excitement not only to share with their stories with their other classmates, but to hear their classmate’s stories.


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