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An english curriculum that focuses on the classics is better than one which analyses modern films

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 712 times Debate No: 59470
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Yes films are better as they are modern and children today should be learning about the modern issues in our society not reading Shakespeare. Kids wont be Engadget or listening in class therefore might not learn as well. A child's brain is electronically driven and books will not get through, that is why films are better.


I accept your challenge and will be arguing that classic literature such as Shakespeare or Lord of the Flies are better for an english curriculum as compared to modern films.

By 'english', I'm assuming literature, as strictly-english lessons are actually the study of the english language (focusing on language structure, not hidden and implied meanings) hence generally have nothing to do with films or classics.

1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.
2. the entire body of writings of a specific language, period, people, etc.: the literature of England.
3. the writings dealing with a particular subject: the literature of ornithology.
4. the profession of a writer or author.
5. literary work or production.
Debate Round No. 1


I will be arguing on the moral side and one of my arguments will revolve around the relevance to society. How are students supposed to be interested in such works such as Shakespeare? It doesn't relate to modern times nor does it focus on issues revolving round our everyday life which is what youth will grow up with and have to face. It would be morally incorrect to have the school system focusing on something that doesn't pertain to our modern society, whereas film and television are always up to date and focus on every day issues such as the news. If we don't teach the children how to deal with these problems as soon as we can we will be disadvantaging them. I mean do we still say and i quote " Romeo, Romeo where fore out thou Romeo"? I don't think so. Im our modern society we would say " Romeo where are you". The Guardian newspaper posted "A well meaning English teacher can take a student through the meaning of every word in a sentence and it soon becomes a drawn out and confusing process". So what point is there to reading 14-18th century literature when there is such more more to learn from films and television? Im not saying these works should be forgotten i am saying they should be laid aside for people interested in such works. This is why we have english literature as a subject. Studies from ABC news reported that students find it hard to understand Shakespeare's work and want to learn things that relate to more modern times. To bring this back to my point, how will 16th century literature help the children today and the modern problems facing society? Films are always being made about current events and televisions shows are as well and this is what we should be teaching in schools. It is a moral obligation to teach students and if they are sitting in class bored, reading a book that has no use in modern society we are breaking this. Is this fair to youth?


An english curriculum that focuses on the classics is far more relevant to the subject as compared to one that analyses modern films. There is a reason why classics endure and films do not.

Films, are in fact, not prose nor poem. They are not an 'entire body of writing'. Therefore apart from the 'history' part, they actually cannot truly be defined under an english curriculum. But for the purpose of this debate, I will carry on. The sole intention of english studies is to further our mastery of language. In books, we recognise language devices (such as personification, foreshadowing, hyperbole etc) and appreciate their emotional power. In films, on the other hand, teaches cinematic techniques more than literary devices.

Another important thing to note is that films in general cannot capture the experience of a scene as clearly as in writing. The sights, smells, perspectives of the narrator cannot be accurately portrayed on screen as compared to being written in a book or a script. A story example: the narrator is wandering in a dense mist that is smothering and disorienting him. He is lost and helpless and feels utterly insignificant. In text, his emotions and confusion can be very distinctly written. When adapted into film, however, how much can a person really understand or analyse the actor's emotions? Only on the surface, plus guesswork. How much of the acting is accurate? It varies. Reading and analysing text allows the reader to experience the written world, instead of watching through a screen simply for entertainment. Films are created to entertain the audience—no proper film is catered only for the purpose of analysing. 'Better' in the english curriculum means more beneficial in terms of literature learnt in the english curriculum. While modern films are more interesting than Shakespeare plays and designed to capture the audience's interest, they are not better than classics in terms of english.

Films also do not give enough time for character growth. In films, scenes cannot drag for too long as it would waste screen-time. Many crucial parts of a character will often be neglected and replaced with entertaining scenes. Likely, the audience would be too caught up in the next scene to care about what just passed. Therefore, if the curriculum was to switch entirely from classic literature to analysing modern films, it would not be a very effective learning. The whole point of the subject is not to simply teach language, but to grasp the subtle implications in the character's words—why they are the way they are and why they act like they do.

Films should only be used to engage the interest of students before introducing them to the written world. They cannot, under most circumstances, be a total replacement for the classics.
Debate Round No. 2


Raucous forfeited this round.


elixir forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Raucous forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Raucous 2 years ago
Hahah sorry it was so vague and if i started my argument wrong this is my first time on this website so I'm still new at how to set things up here. It is very different in a normal debate in real life :) Good luck (although my arguments suck so you wont need it)
Posted by elixir 2 years ago
Okay cool^^ I look forward to this debate.

Although the debate's resolution could be a lot clearer so I un-vagued it a bit in my acceptance post. Do tell me if you wish any changes and we can work something out.
Posted by Raucous 2 years ago
Yes that sounds pretty good, i am doing this debate to get different views and perspectives as i am doing this one for school :)
Posted by elixir 2 years ago
What is your preferrred format for debate? As there are four rounds, I'm assuming/suggesting:

R1: Acceptance
R2: Argument (no rebuttal)
R3: Rebuttals and arguments
R4: Rebuttals and conclusion (no new arguments)

Is that right?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.