For over a decade, teachers and professors have been using Tribe of Heart films in their classrooms. These educators working in a wide range of disciplines and contexts have helped us understand some of the characteristics that they believe make The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home effective teaching tools:
In today's media-saturated environment, getting and holding the attention of young people has become quite a challenge. However, educators consistently report that The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home capture the attention and the imaginations of an unusually wide range of students. This is reflected not only in their absorption in the viewing experience itself, but also in the enthusiasm of their writing afterwards, as well as the intensity of the debate and dialogue that often follows a classroom screening.
The films explore contemporary moral issues through the stories of ordinary people whose experiences and inner struggles serve as a vehicle for developing an appreciation for the many dimensions of the issue, as well as its real-world impact on day-to-day life. This humanistic approach facilities a more layered and nuanced understanding of the issues, without requiring students to master in advance a large body of abstract concepts and historical background information. The accessibility of the material gives a wide range of students confidence in their ability to understand and grapple with the complex issues being explored, leaving them with a desire to learn more.
Professors in a wide variety of disciplines are using Tribe of Heart films in their classes, at institutions such as:
- American University
- Birmingham-Southern College
- Boston University
- Burlington College
- Butler University
- Cornell University
- DePaul University
- Florida International University
- Guilford College
- Harvard University
- Haverford College
- Ithaca College
- James Madison University
- Lewis & Clark College
- Miami-Dade Community College
- Monterey Institute of International Studies
- New York University
- Niagara County Community College
- North Carolina State University
- Northern Illinois University
- Ohio State University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Queens University (Canada)
- Sierra Nevada College
- Southwestern University (Texas)
- St. Cloud State University
- Stanford UniversityTufts University
- University of CaliforniaBerkeley
- University of CaliforniaLos Angeles
- University of CaliforniaSanta Cruz
- University of Central Florida
- University College Bangor
- University of ColoradoBoulder
- University of Illinois
- University of MichiganAnn Arbor
- University of Nevada
- University of New Mexico
- University of North Carolina
- University of the Redlands
- University of Rochester
- University of TexasEl Paso
- University of Vermont
- University of WisconsinMilwaukee
- Warren Wilson College
- Wilfred Laurier University (Canada)
Teachers Guide: English - The Witness
Jigsaw reading: English - The Witness
Teachers Guide: Science - The Witness
Jigsaw reading: Science - The Witness
Day of the Screening
I show my students Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home at the very beginning of the semester. It does a beautiful job of educating them along several dimensions. First, the film introduces the viewer to the lively, playful, and gentle individual animals who have been spared their ordinary fate as food sources. To see the film is to understand that 'farm animals' are as worthy of our concern as the cats and dogs who live in our homes.
Second, it exposes the emotional and ethical toll that consumer demand for animal products can take on the farmers whose job it is to meet that demand.
Third, it highlights, in a manner that is not overwhelming or gratuitous, the inescapable link between every animal product, no matter how small the farm from which it originated, and cruelty to animals.
The film captures in an engaging and profound fashion a reality that the class can then go on to explore through more theoretical and philosophical texts. I am very grateful to Jenny Stein and James LaVeck for creating a work of art that is also a superb teaching tool.
Sherry Colb, J.D.
Professor of Law
Charles Evans Hughes Scholar
Cornell University Law School
The Witness is a first-hand account of ethical thought in progress. Viewers witness an ordinary man’s extraordinary change in moral perception and his decision to transform insight into action. The film is an invaluable resource for those who would impart to students the value of looking beyond appearances, reconsidering perceptions, questioning prevailing customs, and grappling with personal integrity.
Kathie Jenni, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Philosophy
University of the Redlands
If I could pick only one film to show to my Contemporary Moral Issues students, without a doubt that film would be The Witness.
Mylan Engel, Jr., Ph.D.
Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy
Northern Illinois University
I encourage all teachers to watch this film [The Witness] and share it with their students. Together, you have the power and the wherewithal to bring about a new vision for change that can result in a new compassion and concern for all of life.
Yale Wishnik, Ph.D.
California Teachers Association
I highly recommend the use of The Witness in secondary school classrooms. It can be used as a tool to increase knowledge and broaden understanding of the full spectrum of human attitudes and subsequent behaviors exhibited toward animals.
Sheila Schwartz, Ed.D.
United Federation of Teachers