Mini-Lesson for As the Crow Flies
Mini-Lesson for As the Crow Flies
Themes: Coming of Age, Perseverance
Keywords/Topics: Coming of Age, Perseverance, Air Cadets, Resilience
Guiding Question: What life lessons does this film explore in the context of learning to fly?
Summary: As the Crow Flies depicts the story of a group of 17-year-olds in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as they go through an elite program to receive their pilot’s licence. This film explores the unique aspects of learning to fly, the pressure on the cadets, and how they persevere through challenges. The filmmaker, Tess Girard, also shines a light on the unique experiences of the female participants in the program.
In this film, the participants are in an intensive course to obtain their pilot’s licence. Prior to entering the program, the participants had to possess specific prerequisites through the Air Cadets program, complete an application, and get selected for admission into the program. This course is known to be rigorous, stressful and difficult. Not all participants complete the course.
- Why do you think the participants would want to complete this program and learn to fly?
- Where do you think the stress would come from in this program? How do you think the participants may experience stress?
- Where does the pressure come from for different participants? Does gender play a role? Why or why not?
The phrase “I have control” can have a literal meaning of controlling the plane, and it can also be a metaphor for life. How do you think having control applies to your life?
Have you ever tried to do something very difficult? What made you want to rise to the challenge?How do you experience stress in your daily life? Where does pressure come from for you?
This clip discusses how gender plays a role in the participants’ experience of the program, especially for girls, as they are a minority in the program and there is an expectation that “fraternization” cannot be allowed in a mixed-gender group. The director, Tess Girard, was herself a graduate of the program and followed up with one of the female participants after the film was completed in an interview for the National Film Board. Read this interview and explore what life lessons were taught in the program that can empower young women throughout their lives.
Interview an adult who had to overcome an experience of adversity in their life. Explore the concepts of gender, feminism and perseverance with your interview subject with regards to their life’s journey.
This clip follows participants as they complete their solo flight. How does self-doubt play into their thought processes? How does losing control play into their emotions? How do you think they overcame their internal struggles? What coping thoughts do you think they used in order to persevere?
Classroom Activity: Coping Boxes
Think: Think privately about your self-doubts. Questions for reflection can include:
- What situations make you feel like you are losing control?
- When do you doubt yourself?
- How do you feel when you doubt yourself?
- What thoughts make you doubt your abilities?
- What do you do when you doubt yourself?
Pair: Pair up with another student and create a list of coping statements that would help both of you challenge your self-doubts. Think about what you would say to yourself in order to persevere. You can also share symbols, poems and pictures that help you cope.
Share: Using boxes, make coping boxes that you can decorate or personalize with symbols that inspire you. Using the coping statements that were developed earlier with your partner, write these statements, draw pictures/symbols, and write poems or anything that is creative and meaningful to you on smaller pieces of paper. You can then place the pieces of paper in their coping boxes. Feel free to share some examples from your coping box with other students in the class if you feel comfortable doing so. Coping boxes can be used privately, when you need encouragement in overcoming personal challenges.
Gaela Mintz has worked as a Social Worker in the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Office at the Toronto District School Board for the last eight years. She recently opened a full-time private practice providing individual and family psychotherapy services to children, youth, adults and families. For more information you can check out her website.
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