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Films in Health Sciences Education

Ros Wright

January 2016 | Video | Book Review | Films

Films in Health Sciences Education (University of Barcelona, 2012) offers trainers a selection of medical themes to develop in the classroom through the medium of film. Such themes could be of interest to various healthcare professionals, as well as to learners from other disciplines. Kieran, already known in the industry for his use of film in ELT, teams up with Icart Isern whose experience in the medical field makes for an exciting combination of expertise.

Each of the 10 films, some based on true stories (Iris) and others adapted from novels (The Constant Gardener), is treated in a similar way: a synopsis is followed by 3 Minutes to Analyse which offers a section of dialogue, highlighting either an aspect of public health or a particular disease, its diagnosis and treatment. A glossary of key vocabulary and expressions can be found next, together with extension activities to encourage learners to analyse the clinical and/or ethical issues raised in the dialogue. A bibliography subsequently provides additional web resources for trainers and learners alike seeking to delve deeper into a particular theme.

For trainers wishing to examine film features with their learners, the authors guide learners through the techniques exploited by the cameraman that help us further comprehend the characters. The fisheye lens in Requiem for a Dream, for example, is used to draw the viewer into the ‘dark world of addiction’, by recreating the hallucinary vision of the addict.

Films in Health Sciences Education is nothing if not original. However, while this title will engage your learners on several different levels as well as develop their understanding within a variety of medical contexts, trainers may feel the need for a little helping hand. I have it on good authority that teachers’ notes are in the pipeline and I strongly recommend keeping an eye out for these on the following website: as well as any future titles by this author-team!

First published in the Teaching Times, Issue N°67