Tips for Using Film with Young People

What is it you want the group to get out of the film?
It can be easy to get carried away with the topic or side-tracked onto other issues that may seem just as relevant, particularly when wading through so many videos around the chosen subject. Keeping to the main issues you want your young people to learn about will ensure the film stays relevant.

Is the Content Appropriate for the Age Group?
Some film resources do carry age certification (12A etc) but this is harder to ascertain if downloading from internet or accessing YouTube clips. Another issue is how powerful a message do you want to convey to the audience. Young people do respond well to hard-hitting material but there has to be a balance. Giving the group a warning before the film is shown and allowing them to opt out or remove themselves if unhappy with the content is to be recommended. It is also vital to watch the film carefully all the way through before showing it to the group, ensuring you are happy that the content will not be overly shocking or upsetting.

Allow Time for Feedback and Discussion
Showing the film is only a portion of the learning for young people, it is incredibly valuable to be able to open up discussion with them and check their understanding of the topic. Film should not be seen as a learning tool in itself but a facilitator for further discussion. This can be done by formulating some key questions to pose to the audience after the film finishes, or pausing at key moments during the film and asking them then. It is particularly helpful if a film is hard-hitting, giving space for young people to talk about their response to the material.

Sources of Support
It may also help to compile a list with the group of people or places they can go to if they need to access help such as parents/carers, friends, teaching staff/youth workers, ChildLine etc. This helps to highlight the fact that however harrowing the subject matter there are always sources of support that anyone can access.

Relevance
There are so many video resources around and accessible for teaching, but some are not so easy for young people to engage with due to being too old, patronising or missing the point in some way. Care needs to be taken with material from overseas (e.g. USA) as while the production values are well done, the issues might not be the same as those facing young people in the UK. Other important factors to bear in mind are whether the resources reflect the cultural diversity of the audience and if the material is sensitive to gender/sexuality issues.

For the videos collated in our database please click here.

Additionally you can view our list of recommended films.