Television and learning: 4 programs for responsible teachers

Television is often condemned for its unnecessary programming and violent content. However, there are a multitude of entertainment programs on television that have an education

Often, television programs considered educational are not suitable for viewing, either due to poor production standards or lack of educational material. Programs produced for entertainment purposes sometimes contain more educational value than programs produced for educational purposes. Try to be specific when choosing a program/movie for a particular purpose. For example, becoming a professional essayist, your student may need to brush up on different news items to be able to convey their writings to the public. Use your common sense to navigate educational programs and entertainment television to help you with your teaching goals for the year.

Television use should be limited in the classroom, but if you choose to use television in your classroom, here are four award-winning programs that will enliven your classroom and motivate young learners. Use these Emmy winners as valuable tools from sixth grade through higher education to bring the world into your classroom.

American masters

It is a series on PBS that premiered in 1984. This show devotes its programming to the arts celebrating creativity and innovation in America. American masters serves as a valuable educational tool as it delves into the lives, works, and creative processes of America’s most prolific musicians, artists, and writers while documenting the influence of important movements, individuals, and groups. With over 250 hours of programming, it also serves as a library of films for educators to use to expose students to the phenomenal art that has shaped America’s cultural identity. American masters can be used as a supplement to any art, music or literature curriculum.

Passport for Europe and Passport for Latin America

Bring stories and history to life with the Passport to Europe and Passport to Latin America. The two Travel Channel shows hosted by Samantha Brown are lifestyle programs that trace the lovely woman’s travels to popular cities such as Paris, London, Rome, Berlin and Prague, in addition to less popular tourist destinations such as Bath-Avon, Sardinia, Bavaria and Edinburgh. Witty and optimistic Samantha Brown visits each city’s most popular sites and takes the unparalleled path to expose untold history and culture. As Samantha interacts with the locals, the viewer will positively experience unique restaurants, museums, and shopping spots. The program even integrates subtitles if necessary. Carefully review each half-hour episode for sensitive material before playing in class. Some episodes feature the drinking of wine and beer. Additionally, foods generally considered unorthodox by the American palate may be featured. A memorable episode featured Samantha Brown eating horse meat, a delicacy in Verona, Italy. In some circles, educators may view these small anomalies as enhancing the pedagogical validity of the program. Passport for Europe/Latin America are useful resources for any social studies, art, or literature course.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

One of the most influential television shows today is also one of the most overlooked educational tools available in the television world. The Oprah Winfrey Show also known as Oprah is an American icon. This nationally broadcast talk show, hosted and produced by Oprah Winfrey, is not only the highest-rated talk show in American history, but also the longest-running daytime television talk show in the United States. .

At first, taking a sensationalist Phil Donahue style, Oprah became more uplifting and positive with celebrity appearances and self-improvement episodes. TV Guide’s 49th greatest show of all time in 2002 offered a plethora of educational material daily. Oprah’s shows on the state of education in America can be used in college courses.

Health Summits with Dr. Oz can serve as an introductory aid to health or the start of medical classes. Self-esteem and sex programs can be used in combination with middle and high school sex education classes. The motivational content of the show is unmatched by anything on TV. Your female students can be motivated by watching the enigmatic host sit heart-to-heart with young role models such as Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Mandy Moore.

Male students can enjoy the same benefit by watching similar programs with compelling male guests. Participation in its social programs serves as an additional educational tool. Program extensions such as Oprah’s Book Club, The Angel Network and The Wildest Dream Tour have led to increased environmental awareness and unprecedented philanthropic success.


If you haven’t heard of Biography now you have to live under a rock. Unbeknownst to most people, Biography originally aired in 1962 as a CBS production hosted by Mike Wallace. The A&E Network rebroadcast the show as a documentary series and began producing its episodes when there were no more original episodes. Due to its success, a cable network of the same name was formed based on the series. This phenomenal series features detailed profiles of amazing people from all walks of life. This can be a great source of material for students who ask “write my argumentative essay” due to the lack of trustworthy story videos. Which makes Biography unique is its attention to detail and historical accuracy. The show puts you right in the action by allowing insiders to observe and comment on the lives and times of these captivating story makers.

use it

Let’s face it; today’s students are distracted by technology. Why not use technology to attract them? The next time you sit down to think about how to motivate your students, think about TV shows. You need to find something they can relate to and you want to fascinate them. Use television responsibly to achieve this. Preview it first for relevance. Don’t just sit there and have the students look at the tube. Make it interactive. Stop the video if necessary and lecture at key points. Don’t be afraid to try it. Responsibly incorporating television into your lessons can be the difference between listening to students snore for an hour and watching eyes dazzle with curiosity for a lifetime.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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