Monday, June 10, 2013

Movie Review: Inside North Korea
So I was thinking about something to review today and I wanted to share what we have been doing in class recently.  So not only is this a great movie review but it is also a great lesson plan idea for when you want an easy day.  This movie is done by National Geographic.  This follows Lisa Ling into North Korea as she films a documentary about a Nepal eye surgeon. He is going to heal 1,000 people of cataracts.  While they are there, they can film the culture around them.

So why do I like showing it in class? It is a great visual for the students of what North Korea is like.  They have trouble understanding the US tension with them and concern we have about the nuclear threats until they see this video.  They also have trouble understanding the truce between North and South and the DMZ.  If you don't show anything else from this movie except the clip of them at the DMZ then that would be worth it.  You can really understand what it is like there.

Concerns to have as a teacher: So as always, every good teacher should preview the movie/clip they are showing in their class because you know your students best! But the biggest concern that I have had every time I show this video is creating a prejudice against the people of North Korea.  I emphasize with the students that we don't know how much choice the people of North Korea have so they might not really "hate" us.  I also emphasize difference of culture and though we view them as "strange"/"odd", they might find us strange and odd too. So we talk about accepting diversity when we watch this movie.

Another thing to keep in mind too is that this movie is now dated.  It was created before the death of Kim Jong Il, and his son is now the third dictator of the country--Kim Jong Un.  (Not to be confused with Kim Il Sung the original dictator) Getting this straight in your head and student's is also really helpful for when watching.

While Watching: I usually have a set of nine questions that I wrote for my students to answer.  They get a lot out of just watching and asking questions so sometimes I have them just respond to the film at different points too with questions and statements.  It is about an hour long so great for a classroom but usually we end up watching in about an hour and a half because I pause and clarify things, answer questions, and ask questions.

Oh p.s. I first just showed this to my US History classes because of the Korean War in US History class.  However, I recently showed it in all of classes with the World History spin with communism, Government spin of foreign policy, and World Geography spin of the theme place/region.  Overall,  it is a great way to connect current events with history too.

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