Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Are Movies a Legitimate Teaching Aid?

Muncie Central High School in Indiana has played a significant role in my life. Jackie is a graduate of the school. So were my mother, three aunts, an uncle and two cousins. I attended the school for a couple of months myself just before entering the Army in 1943.
Muncie Central has won eight basketball state championships, more than any other school in Indiana. One of those cousins was named Mr. Basketball, the highest honor for any Hoosier player.
The school has had a number of distinguished graduates, but today its test scores are abysmal. Gene Williams, executive editor of the Star Press, successor to the Evening Press, my paper for 20 years, wrote a column on the subject recently. The column centered on the showing of movies in class.
Since the current semester began four months ago, one English class has been shown four movies. While the movies were good ones, exactly what does watching Forrest Gump or any similar production have to do with teaching or learning English?
This smacks of a lazy teacher. It's far easier to show a movie than it is to prepare a lesson plan and then work with the students to see that they understand and will remember what they have been taught.
It would be interesting to know if any action was taken after Williams' column ran in the paper. Were the school administrators upset? Were any parents angry? Did the general public give a damn?
Would paying teachers more money produce better results? Not unless it attracted a better class of teachers. Anyone who has a job but performs only according to how much they are paid isn't worthy of anything more than being fired.
Some people feel that new buildings are the answer. In Akron they replaced a dozen or more fine structures with brand new ones, but the results have not improved one iota.
One thing is certain: Kids in the United States are falling way behind those in many other countries. So what is the answer? I don't know, but have serious doubts that it is watching movies in class.


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