I feel like a bit of a fraud: on the one day I am telling my 2nd year students that it is very important to start their research with a literature review. On the next day I’m diving into my own field research with only having read a few articles and half a book.

What happened? I was asked to continue Corporate Bodies: the film festival where organization meets film. Do research about film & education, and I added critical thinking skills to this, as it is a must for the curriculum but hard to teach.

And in my early days as researcher I have had the opportunity to take more than 300 first year IBMS students of the course I am teaching, Business English Communication, to the cinema Filmhuis Den Haag. Two weeks ago students watched the documentary Tony’s Chocolonely, and were totally immersed in the professional dark cinema to watch how a few journalists became entrepreneurs in their attempt to make the chocolate industry slave-free.

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Applied education meets applied research. After the curtains closed the students were told that they had to write an essay with the following statement: ‘The documentary Tony’s Chocolonely has (not) changed my opinion on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.’ These essays I am going to analyse to see what their critical brains have come up with by only watching the documentary with a minimum of teacher interference

In the last scene of Tony’s Maurice Dekkers, journalist and founder of Tony’s Chocolonely, stated: ‘Don’t think, just do.’ Make your mistakes and learn from it and you might end up with a successful chocolate company.

So I have started my exploratory research – which looks at the use of film and critical thinking in education, but also involves me understanding what research is all about. Education is such a rich field to plow from and I have been able to get my hands dirty immediately.

But I also need some time for my own reading, critical thinking and reflecting, always hard to find time for in education but essential. Perhaps my statement should be: ‘do think and think do.’

To be continued…