Needs in school and not home-school!

The last shoot in Montreal, at LaurenHill Academy, was fun! The anticipated 3-4 interviewees turned into 5 that needed to be filmed as a group during their lunch hour. The night before I was trying to figure out how I would incite conversation from students that may, or may not, know each other well and range from 13-16 years of age.

I decided to write the questions on tiny pieces of paper and hand them out to the students so that they could ask one another the questions without needing to address me. I hoped that it would give them a greater sense of control over the experience and it really seemed to work well. They were free to answer the questions if, and when, they chose to once they read it out loud to the others. They could also ask any other questions that came to mind. The only minor downfall of this method was impulsive ‘fiddling’ with the paper as it was a bit too noisy.

It was interesting to hear their diversified interests and opinions of their public school in a group setting and observe how the ability to articulate opinions evolves between the ages of 13 and 16. I could probably get into the distinctive interests between boys and girls here too but I don’t want to digress too much as I have only had one 13 year old boy thus far.  For now, I’ll simply state that the sole boy in this group, was adamant about wanting school to include more dances and football, teachers that don’t get angry, and a school that does not begin so early!

For the girls/young women, they had significantly more patience for the discipline that school presents and most considered it important to keep students on the ‘right’ path. One student remarked, however, that to get away from the monotony of a life of school and homework it’s important to engage in after school activity (which reminded me of Darren’s comments from ACE1 a while back). When asked the question if there was anything that they wished was offered at school that is currently not available, art classes and home-economics came up. Home-ec… really?? Ya. Why? Because, as this student states: “I find our generation is so used to technology…that sometimes we forget the simply things… like, a lot of people don’t know how to cook…” good point.

What was their advice for teachers?: keep a positive attitude, be open, don’t let little things get on your nerves, be more down to earth; if a students is misbehaving don’t embarrass ‘him’ in the class (just kick him out); don’t yell at us, don’t threaten us with suspension; if you chose to teach make sure that you like what your teaching because if we see that you enjoy teaching then we’ll enjoy being in your class; let your students express themselves; come into class with a smile.

I threw in a question at the end that got me thinking about how students (and parents) can’t always make choices about how to be educated because they simply don’t understand or know what their options are. The question I asked was: “What do you think of homeschooling?” To which I received an interesting array of answers…

Students on homeschooling

Next stop: homeschoolers!… or rather, “home based learners

About cayoup

Colleen Ayoup was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She has been engaged in media creation for nearly twenty years. After attending the Dawson Institute of Photography (Montreal), she worked as a commercial photographer for several years until the craving for different creative pursuits gave way. This desire led to two subsequent degrees in Psychology/Film Studies and Film Production (B.A., B.F.A) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her short fiction films and documentary, Kings (2001), about drag-king culture in Montreal toured festivals internationally. In 2004, she joined the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated Doc Shop, a program designed to give emerging filmmakers an opportunity to learn trade skills from industry professionals and produce a short documentary for broadcast on CBC. She also contributed to the development and creation of CitizenShift (, the NFB’s first social-media website that she subsequently coordinated for five years. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)