A short follow up to my earlier post about my doubts related to the showing of the Senna movie to my group of fifteen year olds. We completed the film yesterday in class. The second half of the movie builds to the weekend in early May 1994 at the Imola racetrack when in practice on the Saturday a driver suffered a fatal accident and then the following day during the race Ayrton Senna also collided with a wall and died only minutes later. Both events are documented in the film, using the original race day footage. The imagery is not grotesquely close, but none the less both incidents are shown.
This was the point that I was obviously uncertain about. The classroom of 32 pupils went absolutely still. I’m so used to wise cracks from pupils in class, even when we are being serious, but on this occasion there was simply a hugely respectful silence. The titles rolled, still a quite classroom. I turned the lights on and gently started a discussion, a discussion that we will be continuing next week. My impression of their reaction?..well, they almost seemed grateful to have seen the film. They certainly seemed to have absolutely got the measure of the seriousness of it, which as a teacher is very satisfying to see.
The real feedback will come in a couple of weeks when they hand in the reports that they will be writing. But as things stand I am very pleased to have taken the chance and feel rewarded by the response.