At Accella, we’re always looking for new ways to help our students to improve their English skills and we’ve recently begun experimenting with adding another tool to our toolbox: English-language videos and films. In one of our classes, for example, when we began reading a collection of Philip K. Dick‘s short stories, we also distributed DVDs of the film Minority Report.
Both the original story, The Minority Report and the movie are set in a future United States where a police agency headed by the protagonist, John Anderton, uses a trio of “precogs”, profoundly socially-withdrawn people gifted (or, more accurately, cursed) with visions of crimes that haven’t yet been committed, to prevent crimes from occurring. Based on the precogs’ reports, police officers swoop in and apprehend future criminals before they have offended. In the original story, Dick has the agency operating nationwide and dealing with all serious crimes whereas, in Spielberg’s film, the precogs see only homicides and the program is about to be implemented nationwide after running successfully in Washington, D.C.
In addition to answering reading comprehension questions pertaining to PKD’s short story, we asked our students to watch the film and complete a table summarizing the differences in the ways that John Anderton, his family, and the precogs are depicted in Philip K. Dick’s 1956 short story The Minority Report versus its 2002 film adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg. One of our students, SophieL, did a particularly excellent job and the image at the top of this post is a scan of her paper (higher-res image here).