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Gwen Gawith: Education video releases



LATEST VIDEO RELEASE: New Zealand Authors no. 5

"If past experience of the four other videos that have been produced by the Video Unit at Christchurch College of Education are anything to go by, teachers will be delighted to hear that the fifth and perhaps final video is now available," remarked John McKenzie, Head of the Centre for Children’s Literature at the School of Professional Development, after previewing the tape. Focused on three award-winning writers and illustrators, David Elliot, Diana Noonan and Jack Lasenby, this video will appeal both to the junior school and the secondary school.

One of the strengths of a video production that examines both the person and the work is that the viewer is able to get the inside feel for the creative process, contextualised by the environment in which the creative product is developed. In contrast to the writers-in-schools programme where the writer/illustrator is in the flesh and able to respond to the wise and wacky questions of students, a video is able to go inside the powerhouse of creativity: the home. And so in the section "The Donkey Whisperer," we see Diana Noonan’s devotion to her donkeys Edith and Ambrose, we understand the needs for solitude in the writing process and above all, we can see the powerful influence of the Catlins landscape as pictures of the environment and images of book covers or parts of story read, subtly merge.

However it is the ability to return to important segments of the script that is particularly telling for the teacher. Teachers will be able to use this video to explore a range of possibilities:

- to see how Bill Cochram as script writer links image and narrative, as for example, where focused poetic language matches close up shots

- to hear the aural qualities of language as David Elliot reads aloud Pigtails the Pirate as if his ancestors were pirates and encourage children to read aloud with effect!

- to enable students to understand how a picture book is constructed from idea to finished product

- to understand some of the ideological views of writers and explore how, for example, Jack Lasenby’s belief in truthfulness and kindness is found in Because we are the travellers quartet

- to explore how the Crumpish "good keen man" and the "man alone" motif links Lasenby with the mainstream of New Zealand writing

- to pick up resonances between texts, as in for example, David Eliot’s Pigtails the Pirate and Maurice Sendak’s Outside Over There.

Such possibilities can be developed when students are able to spend time examining in detail the video. Above all, there is the general entertainment value of enjoying once more, in a different medium, something of the best in New Zealand children’s literature.

Cost: $33.75 GST incl. (couriered overnight)

The complete set of 5 (inclusive of 14 authors/illustrators) $150 GST incl. (couriered overnight). Available from: Christchurch College of Education Video Unit

Fax 03 348 4311 Ph 03 348 2059