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Reel Diversity

A Teacher’s Sourcebook – Revised Edition


Brian C. Johnson and Sykra C. Blanchard

The first edition of Reel Diversity: A Teacher’s Sourcebook won the 2009 Phillip C. Chinn Book Award of the National Association for Multicultural Education. This revised edition is an updated resource guide for educators in secondary and university classrooms who desire to integrate mainstream and independent films into their instructional content about diversity and social justice. The book has transformed difficult dialogues in classrooms around the country by helping educators identify full-length films and shorter film clips to enhance, energize, and motivate student learning.
Accessible and practical for both novice and advanced educators, the book provides a lexicon of twenty-five definitions that teachers and learners should understand about difference, awareness, and power. Assignments, classroom activities, and lecture notes highlight these definitions in ways that deeply impact students’ multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills. Reel Diversity invites cross-cultural dialogue about films’ mixed messages and how they enforce and reinforce cultural values. Students will emerge with a greater understanding of the educational value of this entertainment medium. The book is perfect for courses in mass media, film studies, American studies, mass communication, and media literacy.
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Brandon Nord, a secondary teacher at a charter high school near Philadelphia, PA, developed a “Reel Diversity” course for his students after reading the first edition. The perspective of how to utilize this text in a high school context is so important. There are many more obstacles and hurdles (i.e., policies and red tape) that teachers in secondary schools must contend with that are unique to that environment. Creative teachers who recognize the importance of sharing resources are sorely needed. We are all in this together. Feel free to make use of these resources and adapt for your own use.

Subject area: Social Science

Grades: 9–12

Content Standards to be taught:

Dear Parents,

If you are receiving this letter, your child has opted to enroll in a new course offered this year called Reel Diversity. I wanted to take an opportunity to make sure that you, as a parent, understood fully what this course was about before you decided to allow your child to participate. I’d also like, then, to ask for you to sign a waiver stating that you understand what is involved in this course.

First let me state that this one-semester course is largely about using contemporary film to explore various issues and lessons surrounding diversity. Many of our lessons will include a study of the problems and issues raised by the historical depiction of minorities, gender, sexuality, and class...

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