Film can be a powerful tool in teaching. By presenting multiple perspectives in engaging and emotive ways, films can enable students to gain a better understanding of, and empathise with, the life experiences of individuals and communities far removed from their day-to-day reality.
Across the United States, community college enrolments have been significantly depressed by the pandemic’s impact on prospective students. In fact, community college enrolment in spring 2021 fell 9.5 percent year on year. That’s a loss of about 476,000 students, contributing to the largest total enrolment decline in higher education in more than a decade.
Tara’s family never had much money, but her mother instilled in her a love of learning from a young age. Tara’s mum had grown up with dyslexia and little support. She wanted better for her bookworm daughter and stressed the importance of going to college. As a young adult, Tara worked full time in order to take affordable college courses online. But she struggled to balance work and family demands with the demands of college.
The art of writing, invented roughly 5,000 years ago, represents a blip in human history. It’s younger than agriculture, music and construction. And as recently as the US War of Independence in the late 1700s, most Americans couldn’t put pen to paper. In short: writing remains a new feat of technology. We’re still figuring it out.
The US university system offers tremendous opportunities for academic positions, short-term visits and collaborations for international educators and researchers. A grasp of unique aspects of the terminology and expectations in the US system will ensure those precious opportunities don’t get lost in translation.
This spring, President Joe Biden announced his $1.8 trillion (£1.3 trillion) American Families Plan, which includes a once-in-a-lifetime investment in community colleges to make them free for all students. If the president’s proposal becomes law, it will be a major win for college access and will ensure that no student has to drop out in their first two years of college because they cannot afford tuition.
As we continue to navigate life with Covid, it’s clear that the pandemic has revealed existing systemic inequities in HE. In light of this, let’s consider what it means conceptually to teach in more equitable and inclusive ways. In doing so, we can support the success of historically underserved and marginalised students.