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Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active

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See Through Education: Learning for Real free documentaries

see through education learning for real documentary screening real responsibility teaching free resource pedagogy

Three apparently diverse documentaries, available for free, with a strong common theme of the educational benefits of giving children of all ages REAL responsibility

A See Through Education free teaching resource – see this guide for other such free resources, all delivering proven, fun lessons for children of all ages, while supporting our Goal of measurably reducing carbon.

Learning for Real consists of three short (approx. 20min) documentaries. They were originally produced for an adult audience for Japanese public television, but these English language versions have won international awards in the categories of Best Children’s Programme, and have been licensed by universities and pedagogical institutions around the world for teacher training.

At first sight these films appear to have nothing to do with each other; three different countries, three different age groups, three different activities.

But they share a powerful common theme, the educational benefits of giving children real responsibility. More broadly, each film in its own way exemplifies the importance of teaching children to deal with the world as it is, rather than protecting them by only showing them how we’d like the world to be. The sooner they find out how they can impact the real world, the sooner they can take responsibility for improving it, and as these films show, this process can start with very young children.

These films can form individual lessons, divided between the screening and discussion time, but are most effective seen together.

The optimal audience for such a screening consists of children, teachers and parents (it makes a memorable, unusual and simulating PTA meeting).

If you’d like advice on how to screen them, or would like to invite the director or a trained See Through News facilitator to lead the screening, please email:

What do 5-year-old Norwegians, 10-year-old Hungarians and 15-year-old British have in common?

Three apparently diverse stories turn out to share a powerful educational message; kids not only know the difference between pretend and real responsibility, but the latter can work miracles.

Learning for Real an open source See Through Education project to stimulate public discussion about what education is for, how we learn, and how we should teach.

Through three short documentaries about 5-year-olds climbing mountains in Arctic Norway, 10-year-olds running a railway in Hungary, and 14-year-olds conserving critically-endangered orchids in rural England, See Through Education explores what it really means to teach and be taught.

Clips from these films have been licensed for use as teaching materials in higher education courses around the world.

The documentaries were originally made by See Through News Gift Horse Distributor Robert Stern for Litmus Films, originally in Japanese for Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

See Through News is pleased to offer these English-language versions for free, as part of our Goal of Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active. Robert and other trained See Through News volunteers, are happy to offer screenings and filmmaker Q&A events for free, for educational or fundraising purposes.

These can been done in person in the UK, or online, anywhere. Every screening leaves as much time for audience discussion as for the films. The composition of the audience means no two screenings are the same, but they’re always stimulating and fun.

Here’s how the screening is structured

Arctic Outdoor Preschool

After a brief intro, challenging the audience to find what links the three 20-minute documentaries we’re about to see, we show this first film. Here’s a taster (full film available on the See Through News YouTube channel See Through Education playlist)

The Budapest Children’s Railway

After some Q&A, any interest in the filmmaker or filmmaking usually quickly turns to discussion of the philosophy and practice exemplified by the Tussenladen Outdoor Preschool.

Inter-audience dialogue usually comes quite naturally, and it’s an early opportunity to elicit the different perspectives of teachers, parents and children.

After 5-10 minutes, move on to the next film, with a short introduction saying we’re now moving south across Europe to Hungary, and up a few years to 10-14 year olds.

Here’s the taster for The Budapest Children’s Railway, full film available on the STN YouTube channel.

Some more Q&A, and this is usually a good time for a coffee break, and more informal conversation and interaction.

Sir’s Happy Little Greenhouse World

After the break, feed back some of the ‘offline’ comments you may picked up during the break, and encourage some responses.

It’s now time for the final of the three films.

We move to rural Somerset, and up a few years to 14-15 year olds. Here’s the taster, full film on the YouTube channel Playlist.

After this film, the audience usually needs no encouragement to seek the connecting theme of real responsibility, but do elicit that if necessary.

Please feel free to share this page, and other See Through Education resources, with anyone else you know who may be interested.