So I'm going to show 12 Angry Men in my critical thinking class, but I'm extremely wary of the fact that simply showing a movie in class is a lot like reading the textbook out loud. To avoid this, I've decided to use a tactic called Guided Film Watching, where the students are required to fill out a question sheet while the film is going, and we stop frequently to discuss what has happened so far. Students have enough experience just sitting back and letting a movie sweep over them. I want them to practice working while watching.
The first resource I wanted was a simple character guide, so they can remember who's who and refer to them by number in discussion. A cursory Google search didn't turn one up, so I made one myself. I imagine that I'm not the only one who has looked for such a thing, so I am posting mine here, in hopes that it will show up for diligent googlers.
Second, I've decided to break up the movie into 15 minute chunks, and watch about two chunks a class for three classes, mixed in with discussions the movie, the nature of critical thinking, and Clifford's "The Ethics of Belief." Each chunk will have a question sheet. I've posted the full question sheet here. Questions for the first two chunks are below:
First segmentSome of the questions are long, but the students will have the chance to read them before the segment starts. If anyone stopping by is interested, I'd like to hear what you think of these.
Chapter 1-3 on the disc, 0-15:46.
1. In the first minute and 13 seconds, the camera enters into the courthouse and follows a few people around. What do you notice about the way the courthouse is depicted? What do you notice about the people the camera follows? Why are we shown these people?
2. Starting at 1:47, when the camera pans over the jury, and going to 10:23, when the deliberations start, we get a chance to see the different jury members in a casual situation. Do any of them stand out to you? Who do you think will be a good jury member? Who won’t?
3. What reasons does Henry Fonda originally give for voting not guilty? Are they good reasons?
4. At 14:20 Juror 10 stands up and gives a speech about "them." "I’ve lived among them all my life," he says. Who is he talking about?
Chapters 4–5, 15:46–30:10
5. Starting at 15:46, the jurors start giving their reasons for thinking the defendant is guilty, starting with juror 1. Which of the jurors seem to have good reasons for their judgment and which don’t?
6. At around 21 minutes, juror 3 gives a speech about children and his son. What is significant about this speech?
7. At 24 minutes, Fonda gives a second speech about why he votes not guilty. Are his reasons different than the first time? Are they better?
8. At 28:50 Fonda introduces his own piece of evidence. Has he been holding back on the other jurors? What has he been holding back?