|Abstract (english)|| |
This paper aims to study the possibility of introducing film education into the secondary school education system and, accordingly, to establish a valid model of film education in secondary schools as an essential prerequisite. The starting premise is that film education for secondary school students is not only needed but also necessary, which is confirmed by the study of the main documents of European and Croatian film education policies, the study of European and Croatian examples of best practices, the prehistoric and historical review of Croatian school film education based on the available literature, past curricula and actual curricula in the second decade of the 21st century. A survey of the views of Croatian secondary school teachers has already warned about the objective difficulties of introducing film education in secondary schools (the current curricula, shift work, and the present state of school equipment), but it appears that these difficulties are not insurmountable. A survey conducted among secondary school teachers who teach the elective subject of film literacy helped to implement the proposal of the film education model outlined in this paper. This model is based upon Težak's methodology of film education (modernised and adapted for secondary school age), as the canon of interdisciplinary consideration of film knowledge in the context of the development of film literacy. This took into account Težak's four key factors of film education, namely the student, the film, the teacher, and the circumstances. The model of film education in secondary schools proposed by this paper is the first step in implementing film education in secondary schools and a potential starting point for researchers of this issue. Film education is a generic term that simultaneously encompasses film education as cognitive learning and film education (i.e., upbringing) as affective learning, and the consequence of the process of such education is film competence, which is synonymous with film literacy. Film literacy precedes the development of film culture, moreover, film literacy is its foundation. Thus, film culture can also be considered, relatively speaking, a part of lifelong learning, which is here perceived in a narrower semantic sense than the usual, i.e., a part of such lifelong learning which is not aimed at the economic positioning of an individual in society and their competitiveness in the labour market, but rather their active participation in cultural contents in the field of film, as well as their continuous and competent consumption of artistic artefacts, namely – works of cinematic art. A field broader than the narrowly understood film education, which is exclusively devoted to film, is the field of audiovisual education, which covers all audiovisual works such as film, television series, television films, and video games. However, since film education is the basis of audiovisual education, because of the kinship of all audiovisual works based on film "grammar", the term audiovisual education is only used when it is necessary to precisely specify that this is the type of education that includes all audiovisual works. In this sense, film education in its narrower sense, or audiovisual education in its broader sense, is not, as is commonly understood, part of media education. Media education deals with the content of mass media, often from the ethical value point of view, and would be controversial to argue that film is only one of many media since it would be just as controversial to reduce films to the communicative purpose of information exchange or to argue that film is only a means of communicating messages. The ethical value component is usually not discussed in serious considerations of any art, including cinema. For example, a utilitarian film can be a work of art, regardless of its more or less obvious and recognisable purpose of propaganda, or its ideological, political, economical, or any other engagement, whether subtle or directly exposed. Works of art always possess the aesthetic value component, which the media, in all interpretations of this elusive term, do not need to have. Thus, the nature of media is not primarily aesthetic, and this deficit of the aesthetic value component is one of the reasons why media education is not an umbrella term that also includes film education. Here, the word "deficit" does not conclude on the "worth" of media and media content compared to film, as the media belong to a completely different system, but rather potentiates a different ontological status of the media compared to the ontological status of (film) art. After all, all works of art are provided through a certain medium, but paintings, works of literature, or musical works are mostly, and justifiably, not considered part of media education or media literacy developed by it. Equally, given the classification of scientific fields and areas, film art simultaneously belongs to the field of both Arts and Humanities, and therefore, film education can only be part of the methodology of teaching Humanities-related school subjects (film education methodology), and not the methodology of teaching social school subjects. In short, the arts do not belong to social sciences, and therefore, film art is not, and cannot be part of media education. We should also remind ourselves that the Croatian methodology of film education has a tradition that is half a century old, and that, in this sense, it is an already well-founded, interdisciplinary, humanistic science. With a clear separation of film and media education, the artistic character of film is once more confirmed, as well as, accordingly, all its aesthetic functions, which have long been established in the works of many theorists. From the point of view of European institutions, film is understood in two ways – as part of European culture and as part of European industry, i.e., the cultural-identarian and the economical-industrial character of film are in a complementary relationship, and film education of European citizens, especially children and young adults, is of the utmost importance for both. The seriousness of European film literacy initiatives is evidenced by the Creative Europe Foundation, which supports film education programs, as well as EU-funded studies which properly recognise the marginal position of film in European education systems. Despite the fact that the European Union considers film literacy as part of media literacy at times, it still correctly and clearly distinguishes the two literacies, insisting on film education for students, stressing that film education is a priority as opposed to media literacy, and requires that film education be introduced into the primary and secondary education systems as a school subject. There are five examples of European countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom) that successfully conduct film education programs at the national level, even when film education is not part of the national school curricula. Among them, France, Slovenia, and Denmark have a complex (national) strategy for film education, and in the UK, thanks to the activities of the British Film Institute, this is a subject of serious, dedicated, and constant work, not only in the UK but throughout Europe as well. In addition, there are a large number of professional film festivals for children and young people, as well as non-professional film festivals for children and young people in both Europe and Croatia, and they complement the film education that their activities continue to develop. More precisely, film festivals aimed at children and young people are indeed one of the four main places of film education – along with cinema, cultural institutions, and schools. Among them, it is still only schools that do not provide (systematic) film education, which needs to be integrated into the Croatian school system so that it is truly organised, meaningfully structured, and equally accessible to all students at the national level. Even though film has been used for educational purposes almost since its inception (although, there were occasions of supporting its censorship, as well as actual censorship), which is evident in the prehistory of film education in Croatian schools, only with the emergence of the first trends for films to be presented in the school classroom – and as educational content, not as teaching material – begins the history of Croatian school film education, inextricably and firmly intertwined with the history of Croatian cinema. The prehistory of Croatian film education in schools lasted almost half a century (since 1910, when an anonymous pedagogical note was published, stating that film was "the corrupter of youth"), and was marked by demands for film censorship, discussions on the influence of film on youth, reflections on film as an educational and instructional resource, openings of specialised cinemas for children and young adults, the creation of secondary school cinemas, and later, primary school cinemas, the production of educational films, equipping schools with projectors, the beginnings of Kinoklub Zagreb, the opening of the Kinotehnikum trade school, etc. What the entire prehistory of Croatian film education in schools has in common is the utilitarian attitude towards film – an attitude that emphasises that film is only a more or less appropriate teaching aid. The history of Croatian film education in schools started in 1958 with Težak's Film as a Subject of Study in the Native Language Lessons, which demands that film be granted the status of educational content, and from 1960 to the second decade of the 21st century, it was marked by the undeniably important fact that film, as educational content, was part of the primary education system. In 1960, for the first time, film became one of the subject areas of the Croatian Language school subject in primary schools, which continued until the educational reform of 2020/2021, which was introduced in almost the entire system of primary and secondary education. With this act, it appears that film education is reverting to its prehistory, as film becomes just an optional educational tool in achieving the set educational outcomes, among which there are none related to film education. Although film as educational content was, at least officially and more or less successfully, systematically present in Croatian primary schools from 1960 to 2020, such a change has never occurred in Croatian secondary schools (except, perhaps, in vocational secondary schools from 1983 to 1990), although it was demanded explicitly, clearly, and accurately on multiple occasions, and although this desire was equally justified in 1958 as it was in 2020. However, in Croatian secondary schools, film education exists – although rarely (a total of nine secondary schools in the school year 2019/2020) – and is implemented within the framework of an elective subject, which confirms that such an education is not only possible but that student interest in it exists. Croatian examples of non-formal film education, statistical data on student (and teacher) participation in such education, and two conducted studies among secondary school students also demonstrate the interest of children and young adults in film literacy. Along with European film education policies insisting on film literacy, European and Croatian non-formal film education programs (which by their very existence justify the need for film literacy in schools, filling, in this sense, a void in the formal education system), the aspirations of the audiovisual community and individual educators in the 20th and the 21st century that film education is finally introduced into school classes, Croatian students who report not having film competences, almost two decades of the tradition of the elective subject of film in secondary schools (although in very few schools) – the teachers themselves confirm that in the 21st century, film education in schools is necessary. As far as 76.8% of secondary school teachers of Croatian Language consider film literacy one of the necessary literacies of the 21st century, and 73.5% of them would be happy to use film as educational content in teaching Croatian Language, provided they acquire the necessary filmological and film-methodological competences. In addition, 60% of European teachers agree with the idea of film as a separate school subject, and this idea is supported by 53.7% of Croatian secondary school teachers. Based on all of the above, it can be concluded that in the second decade of the 21st century, the question of whether film education is necessary for students has become redundant and truly outdated. Thus, there is no doubt that film education should be implemented in the education system, but it is necessary to fulfil four basic conditions: to consider the legal regulation, given that the educational reform did not lead to any possibilities of change in the subject-specific structure of the educational system, to train teachers to teach film education, to provide schools with the necessary material and technical requirements, as well as the availability of films, and to offer a model of film education. Given that secondary schools, unlike primary schools, can form their own elective subjects by their school curricula, there is no legal obstacle to the formation of such a subject in secondary schools, with the purpose of promoting film literacy among students. Also, as already mentioned, this decision is supported by 53.7% of secondary school teachers of Croatian Language. In particular, it is the Croatian Language teachers who should teach film in secondary schools. Their university education – although it is, at the moment, and without the introduction of additional film courses or the organisation of systematised and equally accessible professional training seminars, largely inadequate for conducting film education – nevertheless allows for a better understanding of the nature of film compared to those who have studied other humanities. Film as an elective subject should only be a transitional solution for the introduction of film as a compulsory subject. However, the introduction of film as a compulsory subject in the school system requires, above all, a full and serious approach to the general understanding of education, as well as its purpose in the development of children and young adults, an approach based on scientific knowledge and a strategical idea of what education itself is and what, as a society, we want it to be, independently of particular interests and economical, market, and resource forces, which only apparently hold back complete structural changes, as well as taking into account the European initiatives that insist on film literacy. In this regard, we should also underline the need for the current students of Croatian Language and Literature (and, under applicable law, Croatian Culture) to start training in developing the film competences of students, and to enable the existing teachers of Croatian Language to attend – instead of occasional and sporadic – continuous, available, and systematic professional training, so that they can conduct film education in secondary schools professionally and confidently. Schools generally have the logistical conditions to teach film, but the same conditions should be allowed for all schools, and this is expected to be implemented by 2022 when all the Croatian schools should be digitally equipped. Although playing films in classrooms (for educational and non-commercial purposes) is legally regulated with the limitation of copyright and related rights, the availability of films for teachers can be made possible through the cooperation of the relevant authorities (the Ministry of Science and Education, the Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Croatian Film Archives, the State Intellectual Property Office, legal experts specializing in copyright and related rights), as well as the owners of copyright and related rights. The model of film education in secondary schools proposed by this paper is based on the Croatian tradition of film education and teaching practice, confirmed by research among secondary school teachers of film (especially taking into account the expected outcomes of film education) and systematised according to key and carefully thought-out principles of film education methodology. Its starting point is the cinematic work itself in a networked set of other factors of film education (student, teacher, and circumstances), so it is simultaneously based in the tenets of film science and film education teaching methods. In addition, it is justified by examples of methodical processing of four Croatian short films of different film types, which can serve as a starting point or a kind of direction in programming and preparing film lessons in secondary schools. This is a model that is applicable in secondary schools and, in particular, achievable in an individual learning situation, as well as a model that (in addition to its principles of film education methodology, derived from film science and methodology, as well as teaching experience) does not determine or limit the teachers, but gives them freedom in creating a curriculum, as well as in developing methodological processings of separate teaching units based on the cinematic work itself. The proposal of the film education model for secondary schools outlined in this paper is in no way and should not be a definitive answer to the questions which both teachers and academics and educational policymakers, as well as society at large, should ask (and attempt to answer) themselves. Furthermore, these questions seem to be much broader than the question of our students' film literacy. In addition, this paper may be only one in a number of those which will be engaged in the research on the methodology of film education and the implementation of film education in the school system, audiovisual education and related potential theoretical disputes, as well as the importance of aesthetic and humanistic education of young people. Besides, this work can also be an initial incentive to continue the tradition of Croatian school film education, which – after being returned to its prehistory in the second decade of the 21st century – would again become not only part of history, but also part of the educational policies' ongoing commitment and the indisputable rights of secondary school students to film literacy, to critical, thoughtful, and complete consumption of cinematic works, as well as active, knowledgeable and fully conscious participation in the general culture of cinema.