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Cinematograph classes?

02 August 2013

August 1st, 1913.

SO RAPID and so extensive has been the advance of the cinematograph that the time has come when it is necessary for the authorities in the Church and in the Educational sphere to give careful attention to the new state of things that has quickly come into existence. Both at home and abroad it appears to be the experience that the cinematograph has developed into a great power of mischief. In its worst form, it depraves young minds by the exhibition of indecent or suggestive scenes, and in its less harmful form it tends to the creation of a restless yearning for excitement. Physically it is injurious to the sight, the rapid passing of the films causing eyestrain and other ophthalmic troubles. In many places abroad the cinematograph show has been placed under municipal regulation. Among ourselves there is now talk of using the cinematograph as a means of educating children through the eye, and even of introducing it into churches for the purpose of representing vividly sacred scenes. In these proposals lurks danger. It is not to be denied that, discreetly used, the cinematograph might help a child to understand things which had escaped his unaided observation. With its help a teacher could usefully illustrate an object lesson, or, as in a dramatic representation, could show his class an historical scene in quasi-living movement. But to substitute visual teaching for oral instruction and personal effort of study would be pernicious, and the temptation to do this would be very strong if the vogue of the cinematograph were extended.

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