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About This Guide

For more than thirty years, Masterpiece Theatre has been known for its high-quality interpretations of classic works by authors such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Eliot, and James, as well as more contemporary literature. You may already be using some of these films in your classroom, to introduce students to literature or to enhance their understanding of what they are reading.

Using twenty-one outstanding Masterpiece Theatre productions, this guide offers ideas and tips on how to teach film -- not just as an adjunct to literature, but as a medium that can improve students' understanding of elements such as character, theme, setting, point of view, and symbolism. For teachers of English, drama, and media studies, the films can be used to encourage students to share their reactions, questions, connections, and interpretations. The guide also provides some useful background on the "language" of film and issues surrounding adaptation. For more in-depth information on film theory, you may want to consult the Resources section.

The Theme Chart offers suggestions on companion texts or films. If you are teaching a particular title, the About the Films section will help you find where that film is discussed in the guide. A section on the Masterpiece Theatre Web site provides detailed information about online features. Two graphic organizers, a Storyboard template (pdf) and a Viewing Log (pdf), are tools you can use to further integrate film into your classroom.

Because many of the questions and activities in this guide can be used across disciplines, consider adapting them for team teaching with a history, music, or art teacher.

Please Note: Some of the Masterpiece Theatre films contain mature themes, images, and language. Be sure to preview any film before showing it in your classroom.

Film in the Classroom:
Film in the Classroom Home | About This Guide | Introduction
The Language of Film | Adaptation | Literary Elements | Wrap Up
Resources | Masterpiece Theatre Online Features | About the Films

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