It is refreshing to read the remarks of John Gricrson in the current issue of the Education Film Review on the use of film in school. He supports the contention voiced some weeks ago in these columns. He writes: " Films thought of as a series of illustrations would be cheap enough. From a central stock the teacher or the director of education would order just those illustrations he wanted and no more. Ile could glue them together to suit his own particular method. I am thinking of simple illustration of. say, climate and vegetation (jungle and palm for Congo; myrtle and olive for Pales. tine; oak, elm, beech and grassland for South England; snow and no vegetation for North Greenland, etc.)," etc. . . .
" A thousand pounds," continues Mr. Grierson, " might provide a library of a thousand illustrations. Prints might he sold for three or four shillings and less for sub-standard. Yet how many thousands have been wasted and are now being wasted in impotent discussion and sterile experiment."
Whas Teacher Needs This is just simple common sense. But John Grierson does not give us the reason why the teacher behaves with what he would consider crass stupidity. The reason is this: The initiative in snaking educational film has passed from the teacher to the technician. The teacher is not given what he needs but what he should want. He has need of filmic illustration to amplify his lectures or classes.
But he is being given instead a whole series of excellent talkie and sound films which he does not need, but which already he is beginning to want, either because he loves to experiment or because he is in favour of impersonal education. If the trade and technician press hard enough an artificial need will be created in our schools; projectors, talkie and silent, will be made compulsory Value as Illustration The position should be kept quite clear
of film has been used in the French schools for many years.
(2) The talkie has a certain value ht the school if used with restraint. Its use is rather for the school than the schoolroom. There is no reason, for instance, why the whole school should not be assembled to see a series of documentary filtns (such as the G.P.O.) on Friday afternoon; or to listen to a film lecture given by an eminent scientist, e.g., Sir Arthur Thompson on "The Home of the Wasp" (visual education). The question for the teachers themselves to settle is this: would this use of the talkie film justify the expenditure of something
like £130 in apparatus. Or if the authorities help, are they justified in spending what must ultimately amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds on talkie apparatus?
What would be very useful in our schools is a local library of illustrations up to 60 or 100 feet to be used by the teachers at will; together with a hooded screen and an easily manipulated projector. The whole outfit need not cost more than £10 to £15.