IF THESE HALLS COULD TALK: PARTS ONE & TWO (Teacher's Edition)
A NEW FILM SERIES BY LEE MUN WAH
IF THESE HALLS COULD TALK
Parts One & Two (Teacher's Edition) of an on-going educational film series by Director, Lee Mun Wah
(©2011 Running times - Part One/49 minutes, Part Two/51 minutes (total disc run time 100 minutes))
If our halls could talk, what would they say about the alarming rates of students of color leaving our colleges? What would they say are some of the causes for their departures? What would our students say it is like to be a minority student at a predominantly white campus? Are faculties and staff prepared for this influx of students from different backgrounds? When conflicts arise around diversity issues on the campus and in the classroom, are administrators and teachers prepared to handle them? What are some of the solutions needed to confront these problems? In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Director, Lee Mun Wah brought together eleven college students from around the country to answer some of these questions. In the process of sharing their stories and different life experiences with each other, they discover and expose the complexity and anguish that accompany those experiences, while trying to be understood and validated in a predominantly white environment. Their stories are starkly emotional and the issues they provoke are equally perplexing, begging to be heard and confronted.
Unique about this film series compared to his other films (The Color of Fear and Last Chance for Eden) is its customization for educators who have limited time in their classrooms, yet still seek stimulating and exciting classroom discussions and increased diversity awareness.
In If These Halls Could Talk, Lee Mun Wah demonstrates how to create a sense of community in the classroom, how students can get to know each other more personally, and how classroom check-ins can promote a deeper understanding and friendship with one another. He also demonstrates how to deepen a classroom discussion within minutes, as well as how to mediate conflicts between students.
The new film series is divided into themes, so that any section can be taken out and used for classroom discussions. There are time codes for each theme so that you can adapt how much time you want for viewing and how much time you want left over for classroom discussion and/or individual assignments. Below is a description of each of the themes highlighted in Parts One & Two.
Themes from Part One:
Everyone introduces themselves, their names, ethnicity and why they are here.
Students are taught to notice nuances such as voice tone, feelings such as grief, anguish, etc, as a way to get to truly see more deeply each person in the room.
Each person reflects back what they've heard so that each person feels heard and acknowledged.
By sharing how they are feeling in the moment, students are encouraged to learn to be present and that their feelings and experiences are important and relevant to the class.
By students asking each other how they are really feeling, we encourage and support the students to be more truthful and transparent.
By being given the space to truly hear how they are impacted by the outside world and what it has taken for them to get here today, students don't have to act out or withdraw to feel seen and understood.
By learning as a group how to develop a curiosity and empathy for how others are feeling and/or not feeling, they begin to become a community where everyone is important and valued.
Creating a safe container for students to share secrets about themselves- such as an illness, sexual orientation, personal trauma, etc.
Themes from Part Two:
The group explores the fears and costs of talking about diversity issues… truly being "real" and confronting our own and one another's stereotypes.
What Makes it Unsafe:
The group discusses what makes it unsafe to talk about diversity issues in their classrooms as well as their experiences with other students and instructors.
The group explores what it will take for them to truly trust one another. Lee Mun Wah models how to create a safe container to not only fully express their true feelings, but to explore the social and cultural contexts that each student brings into the classroom.
The group discusses what it is like being an outsider - as an immigrant and/or a minority. They share their personal experiences and how it affects their emotional, social, academic and physical self-esteem and sense of safety.
And: *In 2012, we will be coming out with a facilitator's curriculum guide for this film series that will be made available for purchase. The curriculum was written by trained diversity educators, facilitators and therapists.
If These Halls Could Talk: Feature Film Preview