the film, Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey,
in the classroom will not only stimulate student interest
in the social studies, it offers many exciting possibilities
for classroom instruction. The pre-viewing activities described
below can be used to introduce the film to your class.
will, of course, want to tailor the suggestions to the specific
needs of your students and the objectives of your instructional
program. Other sections of the teacher's guide -- the Film
Summary, Biography, Glossary of People, Terms, and Events
and Timeline provide details about Ralph Bunches
life and the film's content that can be helpful in developing
pre-viewing activities. A visit to other sections of this
website would also be helpful.
STUDENTS' PRIOR KNOWLEDGE
the film Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey with a brainstorming
session to see what the students know about the topics addressed
in the film. This will help you to ascertain how much they
know about the subject, and, more importantly, it will help
the students "tune in" to the film by giving them
the opportunity to relate their prior knowledge to the film's
the Film Summary presented elsewhere in the teacher's guide
and select topics, such as the civil rights movement, non-violent
protest in the United States, expanded rights for African
Americans, the McCarthy era, the role and purpose of the UN,
the UN and international peacekeeping, the Arab-Israeli conflict
in the Middle East, colonialism, the movement for independence
in Africa, the peaceful resolution of conflict, human rights,
and any others that might be appropriate.
the topics you have chosen on a chalk board, posting paper
student responses, being careful to accept all ideas without
evaluation to maintain the flow of ideas.
After viewing the film return to the brainstorming list, evaluate
the original brainstorming and add new information.
OF RALPH BUNCHE
the film focuses on the story of Ralph Bunche and because
most students will probably not be familiar with his life
and work, you may want to introduce the man and his idias
to the students as a way of arousing their interest before
showing the film. It might be a good idea to present him as
someone who was world-famous, who's work continues to exert
and influence on their world, but who has been almost forgotten.
and copy the Biography of Ralph
Bunche provided in the teacher's guide. Or ask students to
find the biography on the internet. It is recommended that
they also visit the companion website.
students to read the Biography and provide an opportunity
for them to talk about Bunche and what they discovered about
A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE FILM
familiarize students with the film's organization and help
them focus on the main points you might present a summary
of the film in a lecture/discussion session. Sometimes, direct
instruction focused on information-giving is the most effective
way to prepare students to engage with unfamiliar content.
showing the film to the class, prepare a presentation on the
main points in the film. Use the film
summary and the video reference
guide to prepare a general outline of the film. Read the
Film Summary, Biography, Glossary of People, Terms and Events
and Timeline and visit the other sections of the Ralph Bunche
website, selecting items and topics that will support your
the Timeline, copy it, and
distribute it to students. Or, if students have access to
the internet, direct them to the Timeline on the web page.
Either way, refer to the Timeline as you make your presentation.
your outline and the information that you have chosen with
the class and draw out the students by asking them to share
BUILDING AS AN OVERVIEW
prepare students for viewing the film, you may want to use
the Glossary of People, Terms and Events to develop a basic
vocabulary list. Such an approach would give students the
necessary background to comprehend the film and sort out the
content of the fast-paced narrative that moves back and forth
between events in the United States and the world.
a few items from the glossary that you consider the most important
to further your curriculum objectives. Develop a one or two-page
worksheet to hand out to students. Or, if time permits, distribute
the Glossary in its entirety by downloading and copying it
or directing students to the glossary on the internet.
the class into groups and have each group discuss selected
from group to group asking questions and helping students
become familiar with the terms.
film raises important issues in United States and world history.
For classes that already have some background for understanding
the film, directing the class with a few leading questions
could provide the basis for a productive screening and an
exciting follow-up discussion.
to the Film Summary and download or copy the four questions
identified as fundamental to the film's message.
How should history view Bunche as we look back on
his life and work from the 21st century?
Did Bunche's appreciation of "politics as the
art of the possible" weigh too heavily on his
approach and lead him to fail in achieving real
justice for all people? Was he an honest broker
or a tool of the industrialized West?
Did Bunche, as the most honored and widely respected
Black American of the day, fight as diligently
as he should to advance equality and justice for
How did Bunche's childhood and education shape
his philosophy and worldview?
the questions to the class and ask students to see if they
can find answers to these questions as they watch the film.
Alternatively, you may want to let groups of students choose
one question as the focus of their group's viewing.
students' findings and conclusions after the screening.
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