Directed by: Anne Lewis
Running Time: 28:00
Hands On goes inside an eastern Kentucky classroom to examine the potential of a studen-centered, democratically run learning environment. Teacher Linda Oxendine-Brown and her 24 second graders are the collective managers of their classroom and the focus of this program, which chronicles their activities during the 1989-90 school year in rural Knox County. Hands On follows the children as they produce a weekly radio program; write, edit and publish a collection of short stories and non-fiction, enjoy an informal performance by some mountain musicians; plant tomatoes; and visit a classmate’s farm. The program also includes Oxendin-Brown’s visits to her students’ homes and consultations with their parents.
Oxendine-Brown is shown using the Foxfire teaching method, which emphasizes democratic decission-making, hands-on experience, collaborative learning, and student involvement in the world outside the classroom. Hands On also examines her implementation of the whole language reading method, which stresses students choosing their own reading materials and learning to write by writing. Hands On is recommended viewing for anyone interested in school reform and the future of public education, teacher education, child development, and what it will take to help our children both do well and feel good about school.
“Linda’s students are excited about learning and learn much more than the second-grade curriculum calls for. Besides the obvious enthusiasm and joy in that class, the program reveals a thoughtful, skilled teacher employing a potent, demanding approach to teaching.” – Hilton Smith, Director, Foxfire Teacher Outreach
“That one wonderful teacher and the loving parents depicted said more about real Kentucky values and the inherent skills and timid aspirations of our citizens than the many volumes I have read and program learning materials I have seen…. I really cannot say enough good things about the multi-layered messages in that show.” – Virginia Fox, Executive Director, Kentucky Educational Television