Conclusion about the educational aspects of Disney
To conclude this research report, let me look back to the very beginning where I was struggling a lot to find my subject. Looking back at everything I think I made the correct choice by choosing something I found fun and interesting. To see if the research itself was a success, I must look back at what I wanted to know in the first place. At first I wanted to know more about the influence of animated movies or cartoons on our society. This was too broad to research, but I still answered a little bit of my previous question but I will get to that later. So after my first try at a subject and after that finally getting there, the thing I wanted to know what the educational aspects of Disney movies where. I wanted to know if there where educational aspects, what are these educational aspects and if those aspects really work on our previous, our present time and maybe our future generation. The answer to this question? Yes, yes three times yes. After reading some articles like those in TIME magazine, or the Disney gospel books. I found out there was a lot to find on the subject and most of all I found out there was a lot of appreciation for these educational aspects.
‘They (Disney) are America’s most original contribution to culture….’
– Sergei Eisenstein – Russian director
First of al I wanted to find out if there where any educational aspects in Disney movies and for that I had to watch some of them of course. Looking to these movies with a researching eye, puts the movies in another light. After a couple of minutes, certain lines can be drawn in the movies. The main protagonist has to deal with certain prejudices and cant achieve the thing he or she wants, in the course of time the protagonist gains friends how will help him/her with her quest. Children learn how to fight prejudices, to think positive, rely on friends and they will learn that it’s not wrong to ask for help when you need it. A lot of lessons can be learned and where not even halfway through the movie. Then of course there is also a bad guy in the story line, because of his looks, his characteristics and his actions children know right away that he is the bad guy. They learn that the bad guy usually steals something (treasures, secrets and of course princesses), that they don’t show respect for the people around them and most importantly they learn that in the end this bad behaviour doesn’t pay off. Al these lessons are in intertwined in a compelling story with beautiful animations that make Disney movies a feast for the eyes and a banquet for the mind. So are Disney movies educational? In a certain way they are a lot. They teach children on a early age what’s right and what’s wrong. They learn they shouldn’t steal, they have to respect the people around you, to trust friends, to respect every living being etc. The movies are entertaining and teaches us life lessons. You might think, well those lessons are kind of obvious. But as a child you are still blind from the big world, you will accept almost everything you hear. When my children grow up, I don’t want them listening to what everybody says. I’d rather let them hear the Disney gospel. And think about it, people complain more and more that children these days are getting more aggressive and less polite. The fact is also that grossing ratings for Disney movies are getting lower and lower for over the last 20 years. Coincidence, I don’t think so.
One of the reasons why I did this research is because I thought that I learned more from Disney movies how to be a good person then the church ever did for me. At the church I was bored and confused. I didn’t know what everybody was doing and why they where doing it. Disney movies al though not real, where a lot more logical for me then religion. That’s my opinion, there are also people how see the exact opposite and we can also learn from this. The writer Phillip Longfellow Anderson wrote a book named: The Gospel in Disney; The Christina values of early animated classics. In this book Phillip sees a lot of parallels between the Disney classics and his Christian beliefs. Themes like self-sacrifice, friendship and good vs. evil are also re accruing themes in the Christian believes. More specific examples is Snow White’s apple which is of course a reference to Eve and the forbidden apple. And Dombo’s ears aren’t an abomination, they make u unique and are gifts from god. In can see the parallels between Christianity and Disney, but I don’t think children will see those parallels. It does show on the other hand the moral values and lessons Disney puts in it’s movie just like Christianity does in the Bible. As my example above says, I had more fun and was more focused watching a Disney movies then I was listening to the priest. So what’s the most effective way to teach your children moral values from the start? Religion or Disney movies? I choose for the latter cause who says education and fun can’t go hand in hand?
Before I’m going to sum up the conclusion I wanted to say that I really enjoyed doing this research. I’ve always found animated movies underestimated and this research proves that. I had a lot of fun watching those movies again with a research eye. To read al those articles about early cartoon influence, to learn more about Disney itself and to read those books telling about the Disney values and parallels to religions. Disney draws a line between good and evil so that children can learn from that. They learn how to stand up for themselves, make their own decisions and to never underestimate the value of friends. Certain aspects of life I want my children to know. But if you look at recent Disney statistics and figures, you see that Disney movies are loosing their grip on the animated market. Pixar does good work taking over the wand, but the Disney movies are losing more terrain every year. I want my children to enjoy the same movies that I did when I was a kid. I want them to learn those lessons! So just out of protest and for the sake of my future children, I will sit there in the theatre, watching and supporting Disney’s latest movie and the magical company behind it.