Monday, September 21, 2009

Who's Telling the Story?

A new movie - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - opened Friday. Most of the reviews I read were written by adults.

What did the adults see? a "satiric picture of gluttony" a "cautionary tale about portion control", the message that "intelligence can be attractive". These quotations are from one review in Newsday, and may very well describe the intent of the authors of the book and the movie on which it is based.

What did the kids see? "It also has a message: Don't give up - always try your best and follow your heart". This by a 10-year-0ld reviewer, in Kidsday, written by and for kids, also in Newsday.

Did these reviewers see the same movie? They sure did. But they saw it with different eyes.

I read this review and realized once again that what we are 'teaching' is not necessarily the same as what they are 'learning'. If the essential question being answered was, "What did you learn from the movie? or 'What do you think the author wants you to know" then clearly the viewers, adults and children, had reached different enduring understandings.

What is the message for educators? Be sure your assessment (in this case the review can be considered a kind of assessment) is designed to illustrate the meaning our learners have uncovered from the learning activity.

As I've said before, the perspective of the reader/viewer/learner has a huge effect on the way in which anything is read/seen/learned.

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