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Film Discussion Guide

Download the discussion guide for the documentary The Learning and use it for facilitating conversation about this film at home, in the classroom or at community screenings.

The Learning: Discussion Guide

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When the United States took possession of the Philippines in 1898, American teachers set up schools modeled on the American public school system. Now, in a striking turnabout, American schools are recruiting Filipino teachers. The Learning is the story of four Filipina women, each facing her first year in the Baltimore public schools, where learning is a two-way street marked with disappointment and inspiring breakthroughs. As an outreach tool, the film uses the touching lens of personal profiles to offer opportunities to examine educational issues facing urban schools, the ways that cultural differences affect classroom dynamics and the challenges faced by foreign workers in the United States who leave their families behind in order to improve their economic status.

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Film Information

The Learning (90 min.)

Premiere Date: September 20, 2011

Streaming Dates: Expired

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmaker: Ramona Diaz Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Critical Acclaim | Press Release | Fact Sheet


Ramona Diaz
Ramona Diaz

While I was born and raised in the Philippines, I’ve lived my entire adult life in the United States. I’m both an insider and an outsider, which allows me to have a distinct point of view.”

— Ramona Diaz, Filmmaker


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

An illuminating, absorbing documentary. . . . Diaz’s heroines become the unforgettable faces of a story all the more shocking for being so little-known.”

— Ann Hornaday,
The Washington Post

The Learning is like no other teaching film — it sensitizes you in fresh and unexpected ways to the transactions between instructors and students.”

— Michael Sragow,
The Baltimore Sun

Each of the four teachers has a unique story to tell, a reason the distance between home and work is so daunting, and watching each slowly unfold is the documentary’s greatest strength.”

— Michael Gaynor,
The Washingtonian

Few real-life narratives can be more involving or inspiring than a teacher’s impact on students. . . . The Learning offers potent uplift on several fronts — not least for reminding that few things are more valuable, yet undervalued, than a truly devoted schoolteacher.”

— Dennis Harvey,

A different take on how to solve teacher shortages in inner-city schools”

— Judy Woodruff,
PBS NewsHour

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