Pre-Service Teachers’ Opinions Regarding Using Films in Social Studies Education

Erdoğan KAYA, Tuba Cengelci


Fundamental knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for community life are taught students through various courses in elementary school. Social studies course play an important role in teaching process of mentioned knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to students in primary education level. Various learning resources are used in social studies course for introducing students past, today and future with people, places and cultures. Films are powerful pedagogical tools for social studies teachers. Films play an important role in introducing historical, cultural, geographical, social, politic issues, perspectives and characteristics belong to people, society, or nations. This study was aimed at examining advantages and disadvantages of using film in social studies education from the perspective of social studies pre-service teachers. The purpose of the study is to examine pre-service teachers’ understandings about using films in social studies course. Within the scope of the main purpose of the present study, the following research questions were addressed: •What do pre-service teachers think about using film in social studies? •What do pre-service teachers think about contributions of films to social studies education? •What do pre-service teachers think about problems can be encountered when using film in social studies? •What are pre-service teachers’ recommendations about using film in social studies? Qualitative research methods were used in the study. Participants of the study were 3rd and 4th grade pre-service teachers enrolled in social studies teacher training program. Focus group interview was used in the study. First group consisted of 8 pre-service teachers from the 3rd grade, and second group had 6 pre-service teachers from the 4th grade. In the analysis of data, content analysis technique was used. Findings were examined under the four main themes which were classified as “using film in social studies”, “contributions of films to social studies”, “problems can be encountered when using film in social studies”, and “recommendations”. Findings of the study show that according to pre-service teachers films appeal to multiple senses of students, help retention of learning, and facilitate history and geography learning. Moreover, films make learning enjoyable. Pre-service teachers explained contribution of films to social studies education under the sub-themes of contribution regarding knowledge, skills, and values acquirement. They mentioned about historical and geographical issues in terms of knowledge contribution of films. Pre-service teachers emphasized that films help students develop creative thinking, critical thinking, and interpreting skills. Additionally, they indicated that films play a significant role to teach values such as love, friendship, independence, cultural values, national values, cooperation and solidarity, peace, democracy and freedom, and sensitivity. Problems, pre-service teachers mentioned regarding using films in social studies, were determined as “films can create bias against certain views and beliefs”, “films are usually shot based on western sources”, “films generally adopt one-sided perspective”, “films about surreal heroes have negative impact on children”, “historical films may give inaccurate information”, and “violence is emphasized in some films”. Finally, pre-service teachers suggested recommendation for teachers, schools, families, and media organizations. According to results of the study pre-service teachers have positive views about using films social studies. They thought that films help retention of learning, and provide visualization in teaching learning process. Pre-service teachers thought that films help students acquire some knowledge, skills, and values. However, films could have negative effects on students. Teachers, schools, families and media organizations should take responsibility to solve problems which are encountered regarding films. Studies can be designed to determine effect of using various types of films on teaching different subjects in social studies. Teachers’ views and competency regarding using films in social studies should be examined. Primary school students’ and parents’ opinions about using films in education should be investigated. Media literacy education and critical thinking education can be organized for teachers and parents to use films effectively in social studies course. An educational film archive can be formed for teachers by ministry of education or researchers.


social studies, film, pre-service teacher

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